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Poor and jobless? Forget about marrying the spouse of your choice from abroad

UK to introduce a new minimum income doorsill
15th July 2011: If you are a poor or jobless British citizens, the new family migration proposals — once they become law — may prevent you from tying the knot with the spouse of your choice from abroad.
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The government has made clear its intention of introducing a new minimum income doorsill for British citizens seeking to sponsor a spouse, partner or dependants to come to the UK.

The unemployed or those living on less than around £5,000 a year would be prohibited from sponsoring.

The Home Office consultation paper published also plans to make it tougher for families to bring dependant grandparents to stay with them in the UK. On the other hand, it promotes sending money to support them abroad.

The consultation has been launched `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.

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;

`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.

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