The Government has recently held a consultation on family migration for overseas nationals in the UK. This has been a central point of interest by the UK Border Agency, who is reviewing how overseas family members integrate into UK society.
This has sparked a debate on migrant’s rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights; where removal of a person breaches these fundamental rights and freedoms.
Please note that this consultation is still open – nothing has been decided yet.
A number of proposed changes included within this consultation are as follows:
- Sham and Forced Marriages – to agree on a clear definition of what constitutes a genuine and continuing marriage. To make sham marriages a lawful impediment on the right to marry (applies to England and Wales) where deception is suspected.
- Minimum Income Threshold – For UK sponsors of partners and dependants, to ensure that family migrants are adequately supported as a basis for integration.
- Extended Qualifying Period to Settlement – Partners will only for settlement after 5 years (currently 2 years) to test whether the relationship is genuine and to encourage integration into UK society.
- English Language – Partners and adult dependants (<65) must demonstrate an understanding of everyday English (equivalent to level B1 on the Common European Framework for Languages) when applying to settle.
- Appeal Rights – To review whether family visit visa refusals should have the full right of appeal.
The number of visa applications granted in these categories (2010) were as follows:
- 48,900 family visitor visas
- 40,500 marriage or civil or other partnership
- 8,400 were granted to other dependants.