Up to 18,000 British families are now being affected every year by the Government’s efforts to reduce UK immigration through the financial means test.
Rules introduced three years ago mean that British-born people who want to bring a non-EU spouse to live with them in the UK must earn at least £18,600 annually or have at least £62,500 in savings. Prior to the changes, the salary figures stood at just £5,500 after tax but the UK now has one of the highest financial demands in the world; the US, for example, demands that a US citizen who wants to bring a foreign-born spouse to live with them must have annual earnings of £12,654.
Immigration lawyers say the financial target is affecting far more people than the Government had originally anticipated and is hitting people with jobs and families. It is believed that more than four in 10 UK employees would not be able to meet the required earnings amount.
Ron Choularton, who edits the British ex-pat newspaper Union Jack in California, said: “I’m sure Brits who have chosen to emigrate over the last two or three decades are beginning to feel as though they are being punished by their mother country.
“I suspect many British readers of Union Jack newspaper, here in the US, if not already beginning to feel alienated, have no knowledge of the income or bank monies required for them to relocate back to their country of birth.”
Demonstrations are being planned to highlight the issue and the Migrants’ Rights Network is calling for the Government to look again at the financial requirements.
A spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: “These rules are keeping ordinary British families apart and are a shocking infringement of what everyone agrees is a basic right to live with your family in the country you were born in.”