Home Secretary Theresa May has big plans to introduce new measures to crack down on tens of thousands of people who ‘abuse’ the family visa system so that their spouses, partners or children can settle in the UK. In 2010, around 50,000 visas were issued under this category, most issued to women from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
In a leaked letter from Theresa May to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Home Secretary outlines her plans to make it even more difficult for non-EU immigrants living in the UK to bring their loved ones over to live with them.
Mrs May would like to impose a new minimum annual income of £25,700, almost double that of the current £13,700 required. If children are brought into the UK from outside the European Union, the annual income needed would also increase to £37,000 for one child, £49,000 for two and £62,600 for three children.
Mrs May also wants the two-year minimum probationary period to be increased to five years before any applications can be made.
She hopes that introducing these measures will cut the number of immigrants down by around 15,000 a year, helping the government’s efforts to reduce the number of non-EU immigrants entering the UK.
Public opinion seems to be mixed, with many arguing that 15, 000 immigrants are hardly going to make a dent. Others feel that as immigrants already in the country have been granted amnesty and don’t have access to benefits, making it more difficult for them to bring their relatives in is unfair.
Some suggest that the real need is for the government to ascertain the true nature of relationships, and that those who genuinely want to bring their spouses and children over, should be allowed to, under the current rules, while others feel any measures that will curb immigration are welcome.
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