British families are being split up due to UK immigration rules that were introduced in July last year, a new report shows.
The report, carried out by a cross-party group of MPs, shows that thousands of British citizens have become estranged from their non-EU spouses or long-term partners as a result of new earnings criteria which were introduced last year.
The criteria requires that a British citizen who sponsors their partners to live in the country must have an annual income of at least £18,600 per year – the amount is increased to £22,400 when a non-British citizen child from the relationship isincluded on an application, and by £2,400 for each additional child.
The report urges the British Government to consider changing the rule, which it estimates could affect up to 17,800 UK citizens each year.
“We were struck by the evidence showing just how many British people have been kept apart from partners, children and elderly relatives,” said Baroness Sally Hamwee, chair of the inquiry, and a Liberal Democrats spokeswoman for Home Affairs. “These rules are causing anguish for families and, counter to their original objectives, may actually be costing the public purse.”
“We urge the Government to look again at the rules and consider whether they represent the right balance between concerns about immigration management and public expenditure, and the rights of British citizens to live with their families in the UK,” she added.
Recent immigration statistics show that in the year to March 2013, the number of partner entry clearance visa grants had already dropped by nearly 6,000, with further decreases expected over the coming period.
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