The UK Immigration Laws: Family Visas Run Into Trouble...
Family members from out of Europe and planning to join their relatives settled in Britain might face obstacle with the immigration authorities in near future. Speculations are ripe that they will be denied access to welfare benefits for up to five years under plans to curtail annual net migration. At present, close relatives have to wait for two years before they’re allowed welfare benefits.
Steps Taken So Far: Home office Ministers consider the increased restrictions and regulations on family migration as a key to bring down the annual net migration to the UK from hundreds of thousands to one tenth of the number by the time next elections are held. Up till now, there have been efforts to curb the in flow of skilled workers from outside of Europe and the number of visas issued to overseas students has been reduced drastically. Efforts have also been made to break the link between temporary migration and the right to apply for permanent residency in the UK.
Ministers are also keen on plugging the loopholes in the article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects the right to family life which provides immunity against deportation to close family members who have been staying in Britain illegally.
The Future Of Family Visas: Damian Green, the immigration minister is expected to announce new measures the government will take to ensure that migrants coming to the UK through family migration blend in fully into the British society. The expected tweaks to the current law include a tougher English Language test as a pre requisite for applying to come to Britain on a family visa.
The Numbers That Were Crunched: With regards to all the efforts in motion to curb migration, official figures indicate that there is very little that can be done to reduce the annual net migration. Until September 2010, the number was at 242,000. It has gone down to 48,900 recently, of which 40,500 visas were granted to the spouses or fiancés. Another 8,400 visas were granted to the dependents including elderly relatives.
Estimates made by The Oxford University-based Migration Observatory indicate that even if the family migration laws were to be made more stringent, the annual net migration is unlikely to decrease by more than an 8,000.
Will It Work? Stricter laws with respect to welfare benefits are not likely to have a major impact because spouses who constitute a major part of migration traffic will be unaffected by the changed. Another obstacle in the government’s drive to reduce migration is the international human rights legislation which restricts government’s ability to prevent family unification.
There is little the government of UK can do to curb migration numbers owing to various reasons and laws that protect the right to family life.