Ny britisk innvandringspolitikk

Den britiske regjeringen forventes å stramme inn innvandringen gjennom ekteskap ved å innføre forsørgelseskrav og språk- og tilknytningstester, samt at tiden før permanent opphold kan gis den ikke-europeiske ektefellen eller partneren skal økes fra to til fem år. Samlet mener man at dette vil redusere innvandringen med 25 000 personer i året.

Hege Storhaug, HRS

Forsørgerkravet vil antakelig ligge på 20 000 £ i året, hvis regjeringen får viljen sin. Dersom den utenlandske parten har barn, øker forsørgerkravet til 30 000 £ eller mer, alt etter hvor mange barn det er snakk om. De nye reglene som man forventer blir vedtatt skal ikke minst beskytte en allerede hardt presset velferdsstat.

Regjeringen planlegger også å gjøre det enklere å utvise illegale innvandrere og straffedømte utlendinger, melder Daily Mail.

British citizens who marry foreigners will have to earn at least £20,000 a year if they want to set up their family home in the UK under a new immigration clampdown.

The planned changes mean lower-paid Britons would be forced to emigrate if they wanted to live with a loved one from overseas. And if the foreign-born spouse had children, their British partner would have to earn £30,000 or more, depending on how many children they had.

They will also have to pass a strict new ‘combined attachment test’ to prove they share a genuine loyalty to Britain, not another country, and they will remain on probation for five years instead of the current two.

The proposals, to be announced by Home Secretary Theresa May, are expected to cut immigration, currently standing at 250,000 a year, by 25,000. They are designed primarily to combat claims that some foreigners are marrying Britons to take advantage of the UK’s generous welfare system.

Tory MPs last night welcomed the move, but Labour spokesman Chris Bryant said: ‘These new measures have more to do with Theresa May’s abject failure to live up to her promise to cut immigration than fairness.’

He claimed the idea was ‘poorly thought out’, adding: ‘It seems very unfair that a poor British man or woman can fall in love with someone from America or Thailand and be prevented from getting married and making a home here, while a rich person can.’

He said a better way to deal with the problem would be to insist that Britons who marry foreigners and settle here provide a bond worth ‘a substantial sum’. If the immigrant went on to claim benefits, the money would be deducted from the bond.

And immigration campaigners are expected to denounce the measures, claiming the new curbs would effectively give low-earning Britons who fall in love with foreigners the choice of indefinite ‘exile’ – or breaking up their family if they want to stay in the UK.

Ms May is also expected to confirm stringent English-speaking test for husbands, wives or partners of UK citizens applying to come to live in Britain on a family visa.

The new clampdown will not apply to partners from within the European Union, as they will continue to have the right to settle here.

A senior Government source said last night: ‘The welfare system has abused for years under Labour by people who marry Britons and within a short period are living off benefits.

‘In today’s climate, someone on £20,000 today could all too easily be earning nothing tomorrow. So simply relying on income as a measure may lead to the taxpayer still being exposed.’

‘There is little we can do to stop them claiming benefits but we can implement better controls on people who come here to marry in the first place. We are confident these moves will command widespread support from the public. Labour’s lamentable record on immigration is one of the main reasons they lost the election. We are going to put the system right.’

Ms May said earlier this year that it was obvious that British citizens and those settled here should be able to marry or enter into a civil partnership with whomever they choose.

But she added: ‘If they want to establish their family life in the UK, rather than overseas, then their spouse or partner must have a genuine attachment to the UK, be able to speak English, and integrate into our society, and they must not be a burden on the taxpayer. Families should be able to manage their own lives. If a British citizen or a person settled here cannot support their foreign spouse or partner they cannot expect the taxpayer to do it for them.’

She also plans to make it easier to deport illegal migrants or convicted foreign nationals.

At present they can use the European Convention on Human Rights to avoid being thrown out, claiming they have a ‘right to a family life’ here.

But in future, if they want to continue their family life they will have to take their British-based partner overseas.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants says an extension of the probationary period for foreign spouses could trap more women in violent marriages because of the fear of being deported if they complain.

Mr Bryant added: ‘At a time when our national finances are hard-stretched it is only fair that anyone wanting to bring someone new to this country should be able to prove that they will not be a burden on the State. But I worry that the Government will not achieve what it hopes with this measure, and that they have rejected options that could provide better protection for the taxpayer and be fairer too.