UK visa consultation nears closure

29 Sep 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The consultation regarding UK visas for family migration is approaching its closing date.

So far over 4,000 responses have been sent in to the immigration authorities regarding family migration issues, such as how to reduce the abuse of the system and possible ways of promoting integration within the community.

UK spouse visas are among the main areas of focus due to the high number of false marriages conducted for immigration purposes. The immigration authorities are seeking to provide a clearer definition of what constitutes a "genuine and continuing marriage" in a bid to help identify sham and forced marriages.

According to the latest official figures, registrars saw a rise in suspected sham marriages during 2010. A total of 934 incidents were reported, in comparison to 561 in the previous year.

The rising number of people attempting to abuse the UK spouse visa system and family migration route is one reason why the government is keen to develop new ways of vetting immigrants coming to the country through this path.

In addition to the clearer guidelines, plans are being drawn up on the basis of the review responses to introduce a new minimum income threshold for sponsors of spouses, partners and dependants to ensure that family migrants have adequate support upon arrival.

Furthermore, the probationary period before spouses and partners can apply for settlement looks set to be raised from two years to five years to test that "relationships and genuine and to encourage integration into British life".

The 12-week public consultation on the reforms will close on Thursday, October 6th 2011.