Half of Brits 'banned from living with overseas spouse'

19 Jun 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Research has suggested that nearly half of British people who are currently in employment in the UK would be unable to sponsor a UK spouse visa if they wanted to live with their overseas partner in Britain.

Changes to the UK immigration regulations, brought in by home secretary Theresa May, mean that only people earning over £18,600 can sponsor a UK spouse visa. The amount rises when dependent children are factored in.

While the public has known about the cut-off for some time now, a new study from the Migrants Rights Network has uncovered just how exclusive the law is with 47 per cent of British employees potentially unable to meet the salary requirement.

Ruth Grove-White, policy director at the Migrants Rights Network, commented on the analysis: “Effectively, a price has been put on love – and those who don't earn enough are facing indefinite separation from their husband or wife.”

She added that further analysis reveals that it is hardworking families outside of London who are “bearing the brunt” of the tough immigration rules.

Indeed, in 74 constituencies around the country, less than 50 per cent of employees were shown to earn the £18,600 a year, with British people in areas across Wales, north-west and south-west England most likely to be affected due to the lower than average income levels in these regions.

There have already been emotional accounts of families kept apart by the regulations with many people kept away from time with their children as well; but a court of appeal judgement, which is still pending on the original ruling, may bring some relief if it deems the changes unlawful.

Furthermore, an immediate call for a review has been brought about by an all-party parliamentary group on migration report.