Reforming family migration
The Immigration Minister Damian Green has reaffirmed the importance of tackling abuse of the family migration route, and promoting better community integration for those who come to live permanently in the UK.
In 2010, family migration accounted for around 18% of all non-EU immigration to the UK, according to the UK Border Agency. In 2010, 48,900 visas were granted to spouses, partners and dependants of British citizens and those with permanent residence in the UK.
Plans to reform family migration are outlined in an ongoing consultation which includes proposals to:
- Define more clearly what constitutes a genuine marriage for the purposes of the immigration rules to help identify sham and forced marriages.
- Introduce a minimum income threshold for those sponsoring family migrants to ensure they are supported at a level that helps integration.
- Extend the probationary period before spouses and partners can apply for settlement in the UK from two years to five years to test the genuineness of relationships and to encourage integration into British life before settlement is granted.
- Require spouses, partners and adult dependants aged under 65 applying for settlement to be able to demonstrate that they can understand everyday English.