The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win

What is certain is the fight for family rights will continue and it has the scope to build political support, writes Ruth Grove-White, Migrants’ Rights Network.

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By Ruth Grove-White, Policy Director, Migrants’ Rights Network

Every now and again there are changes to the immigration rules which even writers for the Daily Mail voice their objections to.

A-coupleThe new rules on family migration to the UK, which came into force yesterday, represent a major assault on family life for Brits and migrants alike. Campaigners now need to work on bringing political opposition to the rules out from behind closed doors.

Yesterday’s changes to the family migration rules are significant: the UK now ranks among the toughest of Western democracies on family reunification policies.

Among other changes, the government has introduced a new income requirement of £18,600 per year for people who wish to bring a foreign partner to live with them in the UK.

This means an estimated 47% of the UK working population would not qualify to bring their overseas spouse or partner here in the future.

The Home Office estimates up to 18,500 people every year will be prevented from coming to join family members here as a result. This may be helpful in inching the government towards lower net migration levels, but will be devastating for the families who are kept apart as a result.

 


See also:

Young and in love – but unable to settle due to draconian immigration clampdown 5 Jul 2012

The home secretary is oversimplifying article 8 of the Human Rights Act 18 Jun 2012

Media reporting is the real foreign national prisoner ‘problem’ 17 May 2012


 

Although the family migration changes have been politically controversial, much opposition has been confined to back rooms in Whitehall rather than aired in public. Press reports earlier this year hinted at internal battles between Lib Dems and Conservatives on family migration, with children and families minister Sarah Teather rumoured to be particularly resistant to tough rule changes.

Although these issues were officially resolved, behind closed doors there is reportedly still opposition among some Lib Dem MPs to the new rules.

Labour has also found itself in a tangled position over the family migration changes. Despite vocal opposition to the family rules among key players such as front bencher Kate Green MP and home affairs committee chair Keith Vaz MP, the Labour front bench has not yet expressed a clear position against these rules.

Still in the midst of a policy review, there has seemingly been reluctance to wade into a debate that could result in Labour once again being painted as soft on immigration. But never say never. What is certain is that the fight for family rights will continue and it has the scope to build political support.

Now that the family migration rules have come into force there will be growing evidence about their negative impacts, with particular problems anticipated for young couples, Asian families, and in parts of the UK with low average incomes.

Families who are affected can help to overturn these rules in the future by writing to their MPs, joining campaigns and building solidarity with others who are affected.

If the evidence can be amassed, yesterday’s changes potentially offer up a future political opportunity: to speak out on an immigration issue that will affect thousands of Brits as well as migrants in the UK. And as the next general election draws nearer we hope to see quiet support develop into concerted political leadership, that points the UK in a different direction on family migration.

 


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22 Responses to “The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win”

  1. Shamik Das

    The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win, writes @migrants_rights’ @ruthgwhite: http://t.co/d2gRsyX9

  2. NewsatLeft

    The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we… http://t.co/a77TNv7a #GoodSociety #FamilyMigration #HomeOffice #Immigration

  3. NewsatLeft

    The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we… http://t.co/ym428kJD #GoodSociety #FamilyMigration #HomeOffice #Immigration

  4. Clive Burgess

    The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win, writes @migrants_rights’ @ruthgwhite: http://t.co/d2gRsyX9

  5. Pulp Ark

    The battle on family migration will be a long one, but… http://t.co/4UMvNuI0 #GoodSociety #FamilyMigration #HomeOffice #muslim #tcot #sioa

  6. Political Planet

    The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win: What is certain is the fight for family right… http://t.co/9yfVNfpc

  7. Anupama Ranawana

    RT @leftfootfwd: The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win http://t.co/FvCfyEm7 #immigration

  8. Migrants Rights Net

    The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win, writes @migrants_rights’ @ruthgwhite: http://t.co/d2gRsyX9

  9. CEMyRI

    The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win, writes @migrants_rights’ @ruthgwhite: http://t.co/d2gRsyX9

  10. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win http://t.co/DTY2XOaU

  11. Heather Jones

    The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win, writes @migrants_rights’ @ruthgwhite: http://t.co/d2gRsyX9

  12. Philip Gamble & Co.

    RT @leftfootfwd: The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win http://t.co/7Xy2W8Qo

  13. Lord Blagger

    Among other changes, the government has introduced a new income requirement of £18,600 per year for people who wish to bring a foreign partner to live with them in the UK.

    =============

    Government spends 11K a year on average per person.

    Why should other people have to pay lots of money for migrants to come here?

  14. Anonymous

    Ah yes, of course in your world people come here and immediately use benefits. Shame about the reality.

    And it spends a LOT more than 11k on your shares, leech.

  15. steven green

    The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win, writes @migrants_rights’ @ruthgwhite: http://t.co/d2gRsyX9

  16. steven green

    RT @leftfootfwd: #stopimmigrationrules The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win http://t.co/iXDKvEjJ

  17. Dave Hellowell

    RT @leftfootfwd: The battle on family migration will be a long one, but we can win http://t.co/SQCSgEl8

  18. unhappy child

    No one should be able to claim benefits from day one – and I believe they can’t. If they can, the solution is to tightened up the benefit system – whether it is abused by those with British ancestry or British immigrants. The solution is NOT to tear apart families.

    Another point you have missed is that a British citizen cannot have their Aussie, Kiwi, Candian or American parent join them here, regardless of how much money they earn. I for example am a higher rate tax payer and have never claimed any benefits. However, my parent cannot come here now, ever! If you moved to Australia, NZ, Canada or America, your parents would have the right to move there to be with you – with no conditions on their health or age, just requiring you to be earning a minimum income level. In the UK the route for parents to join their child has been COMPLETELY removed. So I am paying taxes which go towards paying benefits for others while my parent is alone on the other side of the world. Why?

  19. Johnny Tomcat

    What a stupid, ignorant remark from Lord Blagger…..perfectly demonstrating the attitudes the conservatives are playing to on this issue. Non Eu CANT claim benefits, housing OR nhs treatment and neither can their partners on their behalf or have their own increased by the presence of a non eu…FACT. So instead of regurgitating the ultra right wing, daily mail…..SEND THEM BACK WITH NO SHOES claptrap, next time research the issue and get your facts straight.

    If you want to get angry then how about this….anyone British now finds it nigh impossible to bring a non eu spouse here if they are low paid, it is a LOT easier, A LOT, for anyone else from the EU to do so, basically the British have less rights on who they marry/live in the UK with then someone from the eu (all those Polish folk for example that Im sure you dislike also).

    These changes may not affect you Blagger but somewhere down the line a sibling, child, friend will be affected….they will come to you, explain it all and Im sure that then, with all the facts you will be appalled at how the Brits rights have been stolen away.

  20. Steve

    Lord Blagger clearly doesn’t even understand how his own country works. Immigrant with NO RECOURSE TO BENEFITS stamped in their passport in fact do pay tax – every time they pay VAT! Just be thankful that those with NO RECOURSE TO BENEFITS are subsidising YOU!

  21. Anonymous

    Because you’re unwelcome here under the Tories. You’re making this country cash, after all.

  22. Anonymous

    He’s the sort who would refuse to talk to the person who married a dirty furriner ever again.

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