The government has announced new proposals which add further restrictions on people bringing spouses and other dependents from abroad, and lengthening the amount of time which they can claim benefits:
Currently, non EU Spouses of British citizens now get “indefinite leave to remain” in the United Kingdom after two years of marriage but under the new measures they would only do so after a period of five years as well. In addition, the government wants to also reform article 8 of the European Human Rights Convention, that stops the UK from deporting illegal migrants because of disruption to family life.
Recently, convicted terrorists have used that clause to prevent their deportation from the United Kingdom. The Home Secretary Theresa May earlier this month expressed her concern about convicted criminals and terror suspects abusing the European Human Rights Convention.
There are also going to be restrictions on Britons who cannot financially support themselves bringing over extra dependents:
British citizens who are poor or unemployed could be prevented from marrying the spouse of their choice if new family migration proposals become law. The government wants to introduce a new minimum income threshold for those looking to sponsor a spouse, partner or dependants to come to the UK. Under the proposals the unemployed or those living on less than around £5,000 a year would be banned from doing so, while the probation period before spouses and partners can apply for settlement in Britain would be raised from two to five years.
The Guardian headlined the piece as “Poor to be banned from bringing spouses to the UK from overseas”, and providing for foreign dependents has always been a difficult issue. Given that migrants have no access to public funds for the first few years (and this would be extended under the proposals), the question is how would the foreign spouse support themselves if their partner could not support them?
For a long time, one of the main risks of the ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule has been that vulnerable migrants (such as women feeling domestic violence) couldn’t get the help they need. The coalition government established a pilot last year to provide these women with help, such as emergency housing and possible residence. Hopefully this will be extended and expanded as a way to combat this major problem with the ‘no recourse’ rule (which is a good one generally).
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Filed in: 'Honour'-based violence,Current affairs