UK immigration policy ripping

UK immigration policy ripping South African and his partner apart

The minimum income threshold is having a devastating effect on families.

UK immigration policy ripping

The United Kingdom has an extremely strict immigration policy, especially for spouses. Under the current rules, bringing your foreign spouse (currently only applied to non-EU spouses) to the UK is only possible if you earn £18,600 or more a year.

The threshold rises to £22 400 if there is one or more non-European-born child in the family. The income of the non-European partner does not count towards the threshold.

The Conservative government wants that threshold increased even further and it risks tearing families apart.

An article in the New Statesman tells the story of a South African man – George – and his partner Carolyn who met sixteen years ago right here in Mzansi.

The two settled down had kids. But last year they made the decision to move back to Carolyn’s hometown in Scotland so that she could be closer to her elderly parents after 30 years away.

As things stand, George can only visit Carolyn on a tourist visa, because the jobs available to Carolyn simply do not pay enough to meet the threshold.

Worse still is that George is a qualified engineer and could probably contribute to the UK’s economy. Carolyn told the New Statesman that if both could work “life would be easy”.

There are countless stories of partners – and worse still, entire families – being torn apart by these measures.

And it could get even worse. If the Conservatives win in the upcoming general election, the current amount will increase.

The Tory manifesto stated:  “We will increase the earnings thresholds for people wishing to sponsor migrants for family visas.”

Stuart McDonald, the SNP MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East, said the rules were “just about the most draconian family visa rules in the world”. He also believes that the conservative government is considering putting the income treshold at £25,700 or more.

The result of these rules might mean that Britain might suffer a slow “brain drain” of its own as citizens with foreign spouses increasingly opt to leave the country and settle in their partner’s homeland where policies might not be quite as draconian.

And since there is no clarity on how Brexit might affect EU citizens, the impact could be even further reaching than it currently is. If the UK ends its freedom of movement agreement with EU countries, British citizens with EU spouses will have to meet the same criteria.