26 March 2012

Home Secretary's latest UK visa clampdown revealed

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The Home Secretary Theresa May is continuing her fight to cut UK immigration by introducing further restrictions on UK visa applications which would see the income threshold practically doubled.

UK visa

Home Secretary Theresa May's letter is unlikely to have been received well by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

In a leaked letter to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Mrs May outlined plans to increase restrictions on UK visa applicants wishing to bring a spouse, partner or dependant to the UK from outside the EU.

The current minimum income stands at £13,700, Mrs May proposed raising this by almost double to £25,700. If the application includes more than two children, the threshold would rise to £62,600.

Mrs May's letter also included plans to extend the probationary period from two to five years before partners and spouses can apply for permanent residency as well as introduce more stringent English language requirements.

In her letter, Mrs May claimed the proposed steps would reduce the number of immigrants arriving in the UK by 15,000 a year and limit the exploitation of current policies.

"The package which I propose to implement from June 2012 will reduce the burdens on the taxpayer, promote integration and tackle abuse," said Mrs May's letter.

The Home Secretary's proposals form part of the coalition Government's efforts to reduce net immigration from its current levels of 250,000 to the 'tens of thousands' levels promised in the Conservative Party's election manifesto.

However, it is unlikely that her plans will be appreciated by the Conservatives' coalition partners. The Liberal Democrats have traditionally taken a much more lenient stance on UK immigration policies and promised in their election manifesto to provide amnesty for all illegal immigrants already in Britain.

It is likely Mr Clegg will push for a lower minimum income threshold but with tensions within the coalition reportedly on the rise after last week's Budget, Mr Clegg may not be so keen to rock the boat. Liberal Democrats publicly call for their own policies during the run up to the Budget and the Conservatives blamed the Liberal Democrats for Whitehall's leaks which left few surprises in the Budget.


The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consulting company specialising in helping people with their Life in the UK test preparations and British citizenship applications.

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