Islamabad: The UK Immigration Minister, Damien Green announced new proposals to crack down on sham and forced marriages today as part of a new consultation on better family migration.
The consultation, which also seeks to ensure family migrants can integrate into society, forms part of the government’s major overhaul of the immigration system – following the changes that have already been made to the work and study routes and the ongoing consultation on settlement rights.
Immigration minister Damian Green said:
“This consultation is about better family migration – better for migrants, communities, and the UK as a whole.
“We welcome those who want to contribute and make a life here with their family, but too often in the past the family route has been abused as a means to bypass our immigration laws.
“Our message is clear – we will not tolerate abuses and if you cannot support your foreign spouse or partner, you cannot expect the UK taxpayer to do it for you.”
The consultation focuses on stopping abuse and promoting integration by all nationalities. Key proposals include:
• Defining more clearly what constitutes a genuine and continuing marriage to help identify sham and forced marriages;
• Working closely with local authorities to ensure vulnerable people are not forced into marriage;
• Introducing a new minimum income threshold for sponsors of spouses, partners and dependants, to ensure 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 spouses and partners can apply for settlement in the UK from 2 years to 5 years to test the genuineness of relationships and to encourage integration into British life;
• Requiring spouses, partners and adult dependants aged under 65 applying for settlement to be able to demonstrate that they can understand everyday English (B1 level);
• 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 from taking place where sham is suspected; and
• Reviewing the full right of appeal for family visit visas and inviting views on whether there are circumstances in which an appeal right should be retained beyond race discrimination and human rights grounds.
For more information, contact:
British High Commission
Tel: +9251 201 2000
Cell: +92300 500 5306