Posted on June 28th 2017
On 11 July, JCWI and BritCits are holding a meeting in parliament to ask 'What’s Next for Family Migration?'. The event will bring together politicians, lawyers, campaigners and affected families to discuss the rules, hear testimony from affected families, and ask whether the time has come for a wider rethink. We ask everyone who agrees with us that these rules are unfair, unjust and unnecessary to write to their MP and ask them to attend the meeting. We've put together a template letter that you can download and amend with your personal details (on the left-hand side of this page).
Almost five years ago, new family migration rules made it virtually impossible for thousands of British citizens and settled UK residents to be joined in the UK by their partner or elderly relative, if that family member holds a non-European nationality.
An income threshold of £18,600 per annum, alongside stringent physical dependency requirements for adult relatives (as well as a requirement that care is not available in their home country), have divided husbands from wives, parents from children, and children from their grandparents. Many British citizens have also left the UK in order to live together as a family, senselessly exiled from their own country.
A recent Supreme Court judgment in the case of MM & Ors v SSHD maintained the legality of the income threshold. However, the judgment recognised the unlawfulness of the treatment of children and the need for greater flexibility in how income is calculated when considering whether refusal of a spouse visa would be a breach of a couple’s human rights. Although the Rules must now be amended to better reflect the Government’s human rights obligations towards families and children, there has been no amendment to date. Meanwhile, affected cases have been put on hold, leaving children separated from parents and families in limbo.
Furthermore, this hasn’t stopped the Conservative party pledging to increase the threshold in its most recent manifesto, despite it not being met by 41% of the working age UK population. Because immigration law is enacted through “rules”, this could be achieved by way of secondary legislation, which means it does not require a vote in order to become law.
In addition, Theresa May’s recent “offer” for European citizens affirmed that once the UK leaves the European Union, the Government intends for EU citizens moving to the UK to be subject to the same stringent requirements as British citizens seeking to be joined by family members. Rather than seeing Brexit as an opportunity to create a fairer system for all, it appears to be a race to the bottom on family rights.
However, over the years, many politicians in both Houses and across the political spectrum have recognised the harm caused to their constituents by these rules, with pledges from Liberal Democrat and Labour politicians to relax the requirements. Labour’s 2017 General Election manifesto renewed this commitment.
Please consider writing to your MP to invite them to attend the meeting. You can use the template attached and amend it to reflect your own personal situation. It only takes 5 minutes:
- Amend the template with your own personal details (this is very important. If MPs are sent too many emails with the same text, they are automatically blocked in the spam filter. Adding your own personal story will also show your MP that it is a constituency issue.
- Enter your postcode into www.writetothem.com to find out the details of your Member of Parliament and click on their name.
- Copy and paste the amended text into the text box on the site and fill out the required information.
- Press send!
- Let us know your MP’s response! Email email@example.com
If you have been personally affected, you could also ask your MP to meet you on the same day so that you can voice your concerns to them in person.
We look forward to seeing you on the 11th and continuing the campaign for fairer immigration rules for all families!
Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas