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Immigration proposals for families evokes sharp response

JCWI says these will only deepen the divide

14th July 2011: Reacting to the latest immigration proposals for families, organisations working for the rights of immigrants have asserted that these would only deepen the divide.
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The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said the proposals `threatens a further infringement of the rights of UK citizens to live with their partners. EU citizens already enjoy far more extensive rights to family reunion and residence than UK citizens do even in the UK, the latest proposals will deepen this divide.

It said: `Damian Green dresses up this curtailment in rights and entitlements as being “about better family migration – better for migrants, communities, and the UK as a whole.” Let us be clear, this is nothing of the sort.

`In more than doubling the probationary period before partners can apply for settlement from two to five years, UK citizens married to someone from outside the EU face a far more uncertain and difficult future.

`In looking to raise the minimum income threshold for sponsors of spouses or partners, the Immigration Minister, Green proclaims “if you cannot support your foreign spouse or partner, you cannot expect the taxpayer to do it for you.”

`It would appear from this statement that Green is unaware of the existing rule that any migrant spouse has no recourse to public funds already. This is a move to make an obstruction to immigration and family reunion even harder to surmount and is not a move to reducing any burden on the taxpayer – as that burden is imagined.

`The increase in the income threshold is, frankly, an immigration restriction.

Chief Executive of JCWI Habib Rahman summed up the proposals by saying: “These unfair and harsh proposals will further erode the fundamental human rights of British and settled people and those of migrants. Under the present immigration regime UK and settled people already have fewer family union rights than their European counterparts, and therefore we must strive to protect out citizen’s rights. These proposals make people exist in a harder and harsher environment. And for what? So the Home Secretary can shave off a small number from net immigration figures.”

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