21 November 2012

Parliamentary inquiry launched into UK immigration changes

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The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration (APPG) has launched an inquiry into the impact the Government's recent changes to UK immigration policy have had on prospective migrants.

UK immigration

The bipartisan group will accept evidence of the impact the UK immigration changes have had for the next 11 weeks.

The Government's efforts to reduce net migration to the 'tens of thousands' before the next election have seen many changes to UK visa and immigration policy come into effect in recent months.

The changes include salary thresholds for UK residents wanting to bring partners or spouses to the UK, the removal of post study work rights for graduating international students and application limits on certain visa streams.

Many of the changes have been hard fought by immigration and education advocates who claim they are harmful to the economy and multiculturalism in Britain.

Theresa May's Home Office along with Immigration Minister Mark Harper and his predecessor Damian Green have remained defiant in the face of criticism however, insisting that the changes are fair and are beginning to take effect despite net migration levels barely dropping.

Yet critics argue that the categories of migrants affected - international students, spouses and other relatives - have been unfairly targeted by the Government due to its inability to curb UK immigration from the EU due to the Freedom of Movement Directive.

In order to investigate the extent that legitimate applicants have been affected, the APPG on Migration has launched an inquiry to hear the public's concerns.

The APPG inquiry, which will be chaired by Kate Green, the shadow equalities minister, and include MPs from all parties, will reportedly pay particular attention to the introduction of the threshold for UK residents wanting to bring partners or spouses to the UK.

Under the new legislation, the UK-based partner has to prove they are earning at least £18,600 a year - more if there are children involved. Oxford University's Migration Observatory think-tank however predicts that migrant groups, women and younger applicants are disproportionately affected by this rule with as many as 47% of the population earning less than the required threshold.

The APPG on Migration inquiry is collecting evidence over the next 11 weeks and is expected to publish its report in April, 2013.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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