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Marriage visa age to rise to 21

The Government raises the marriage visa age from 18 to 21 04 November 2008. The Government have announced that they are raising the minimum age for acquiring a marriage visa to the UK from 18 to 21 from the end of this month, ostensibly in order to reduce the number of forced marriages which go on. The couple may also have to pass an English test.

From 27 November both parties in a marriage will have to be 21 before a marriage visa can be issued. Raising the age is just one part of the Government’s work to crackdown on forced marriage and on those who attempt to abuse the marriage visa route.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:
"It is important that we protect vulnerable young people and this measure will help avoid exploitation".

The changes being made to the marriage visa route are part of a package of measures being brought in today to deliver the biggest shake-up to immigration and border security in 45 years.

Also today, the Home Office helped businesses to prepare for the go-live of Tiers 2 and 5 of the points system on 27 November by publishing detailed guidance on the two tiers. Under these tiers – which cover skilled and temporary workers – employers will be held accountable for the workers they bring into the country, with a new sponsorship scheme holding businesses responsible for those they employ.

Mr Woolas said:
"The points system means only the migrants with the skills Britain needs can come – and no more. It is also flexible, allowing us to raise or lower the bar according to the needs of business and taking population trends into account.
"Had the system been in place last year there would have been 12 per cent fewer people coming in to work through the equivalent work permit route."

Tier 2 of the points system will ensure that British jobseekers get the first shot at jobs and only those foreign workers we need will be able to come to the UK. Under this tier companies must pass the Resident Labour Market test by proving they cannot fill the post with a resident worker before they can bring in someone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

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