The number of people granted a UK visa to allow them to live with their relatives in Britain has dropped significantly in the past ten years, according to an analysis conducted by The Independent.
A study of UK immigration statistics has revealed that the number of children, spouses and dependent relatives granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK or allowed to remain via a “grant of settlement” has dropped by 73 per cent since 2006.
The number of family members granted entry clearance UK visas, which must be gained before they apply for British settlement, has also fallen. Figures show applications dropped from 70,000 to 38,000 in the ten years to 2016, marking a fall of 46 per cent.
Commenting on the figures, campaigners and politicians have suggested they reflect the Conservative government’s push to slow UK immigration through the implementation of stricter requirements throughout the process.
However, figures show that the percentage of applicants being granted a UK visa has not fallen as rapidly as the number of applications being submitted. While applicants had around an 83 per cent chance of succeeding in securing a visa in 2006, they had a 72 per cent chance in 2016.
According to experts, this can be explained by a number of policies introduced to discourage people from applying in the first place. One new policy includes an increase in the income threshold for the relative living in the UK, as well as increased fees.
Commenting on the figures, Nazek Ramadan, director of Migrant Voice, added: “And we have also seen the rise of a wider set of ‘hostile environment’ practices aimed at making life difficult for newcomers, which provides a context to these latest figures.”
He continued: “Family life has been the first target in this Government’s pursuit of an arbitrary, unachievable migration cap.”