The government have launched a new consultation to try and reduce net migration through family routes to the UK. These proposals will affect any UK settled person who wants their spouse or partner to join them in the UK.
In short, the government’s proposals include:
- defining more clearly what constitutes a genuine and continuing marriage, to help identify sham and forced marriages;
- introducing a new minimum income threshold for sponsors of partners and dependents, to ensure that family migrants are adequately supported as a basis for integration;
- extending the probationary period before partners can apply for settlement in the UK from 2 years to 5 years, to test that relationships are genuine and to encourage integration into British life;
- requiring partners and adult dependents aged under 65 to demonstrate that they can understand everyday English (B1 level on the Common European Framework for Languages) when they apply for settlement;
- exploring the case for making 'sham' a lawful impediment to marriage in England and Wales, and for giving the authorities the power to delay a marriage where sham is suspected;
- working closely with local authorities to ensure that vulnerable people are not forced into marriage;
- reviewing the full right of appeal for family visitor visas, and inviting views on whether there are circumstances (beyond race discrimination and human rights grounds) in which an appeal right should be retained.
According to the government, 'Our message is clear - we will not tolerate abuses. And if you cannot support your foreign spouse or partner, you cannot expect the taxpayer to do it for you.'
To find out more about the consultation process and how you can have your say, please contact us.