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Have your say on family migration

Government launches consultation `to ensure family migrants can integrate into society’ 14th July 2011: You can have your say on the issue of family migration.
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For the government has launched a consultation `to ensure that family migrants can integrate into society, and opens up debate on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the circumstances where the public interest in removing someone from the UK should outweigh the right to respect for family life’.

Immigration minister Damian Green said: ‘This consultation is about better family migration – better for migrants, communities, and the UK as a whole.

‘We welcome those who want to make a life here with their family, but too often in the past the family route has been abused as a means to bypass our immigration laws.

‘That includes too many times when we have seen Article 8 used to place the rights of criminals and illegal migrants above the rights of the British public. That balance must be redressed where there is a clear public interest in removing someone from the UK.

‘Our message is clear – we will not tolerate abuses. And if you cannot support your foreign spouse or partner, you cannot expect the taxpayer to do it for you.’

The consultation focuses on stopping abuse, promoting integration and reducing burdens on the taxpayer.

`Its key proposals include: Defining more clearly what constitutes a genuine and continuing marriage, to help identify sham and forced marriages; and introducing a new minimum income threshold for sponsors of partners and dependants’.

The other proposals are: ‘To ensure that family migrants are adequately supported as a basis for integration – the independent Migration Advisory Committee has been asked to advise on what the threshold should be;

`Extending the probationary period before partners can apply for settlement in the UK from 2 years to 5 years, to test that relationships are genuine and to encourage integration into British life;
 
`Requiring partners and adult dependants aged under 65 to demonstrate that they can understand everyday English, B1 level on the Common European Framework for Languages when they apply for settlement;

`Exploring the case for making ‘sham’ a lawful impediment to marriage in England and Wales, and for giving the authorities the power to delay a marriage where sham is suspected;
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`Working closely with local authorities to ensure that vulnerable people are not forced into marriage; and  reviewing the full right of appeal for family visitor visas, and inviting views on whether there are circumstances, beyond race discrimination and human rights grounds, in which an appeal right should be retained.

UK to define clearly what constitutes a genuine and continuing marriage

Government reviewing right of appeal against family visitor visa refusal