UK Government goes after family migration route abuse
23 September 2011
UK talks tough on family migration
The UK Government has presented research to back up its proposals to thwart abuse of the family migration system.
The UK Immigration Minister Damian Green has, in a speech to the Centre for Policy Studies on 15 September, reiterated the need for reform of the family migration process.
He presented research that suggested that "two thirds of a sample of those granted a marriage visa in 2009 had never visited the UK before deciding to move here permanently".
Futhermore, the Minister cited evidence that "the proportion of people who settle here permanently varies hugely by nationality". For example, it has been found that 8 out of 10 recipients of a family migrant UK visa from Bangladesh and Pakistan had settled permanently in the UK within 5 years, compared with just 10 per cent of Australians.
According to Mr Green, the research confirms that the Government is right in seeking to reform the current family migration situation.
"We want a system that lets everyone know where they stand and what their responsibilities are. If your marriage is not genuine, if you have no interest in this country and its way of life, if you are coming here to live off benefits, don't come in the first place," he said.
The measures proposed by the UK Government in achieving this goal include extending the probation period before spouses can apply for settlement in the UK from 2 to 5 years, introducing a minimum income threshold for those sponsoring family migrants and making basic English language skills a requirement for family settlement.
In 2010, family migration accounted for around 18 per cent of all non-EU immigration to the UK.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Life in the UK test preparations.