Monday, 24 December 2018 07:53


The SNP’s Immigration spokesperson has repeated calls for the Tories to end their hostile immigration policy of “restrictive” family visa rules which sees many families separated.

In 2012 the UK government introduced income threshold requirements which mean that any UK national or settled citizen seeking to sponsor a spouse from outside the EU to live with them in the UK must earn a minimum of £18,600, rising to £22,400 after a first child, and an additional £2,400 for each subsequent child.
Staurt McDonald MP said the income requirements apply entirely to the UK citizen and do not take into account the potential earnings of the non-UK spouse seeking to join their loved ones in this country.
The Children’s Commissioner in England previously estimated that there were around 15,000 UK children growing up in so-called ‘Skype families’ – whose only contact with a parent abroad was via Skype due to the rules.
Last month, Stuart McDonald MP was met with a wall of silence by the Home Secretary over his calls to review the policy and to set out an estimate of the number of UK citizens and settled people who have not been joined by their partners or loved ones because of the rules.
The Migration Observatory found that the Tory government's minimum income requirement policy has had a disproportionately negative impact on people in Scotland, as 41% of UK citizens in Scotland do not earn enough to sponsor a spouse, and 53% do not earn enough to sponsor a spouse and child. This compares to 27% and 34% respectively in London.
Commenting, Stuart McDonald MP said:
“Rather than being able to spend time with their families and loved ones around the Christmas dinner table, many people with foreign spouses will be forced yet again to spend the festive period communicating with families over Skype.
“With the continued Brexit chaos there is now also the very real risk that the Tory government, obsessed with nonsensical immigration targets, could simply extend the restrictive income threshold levels to EU family members post-Brexit.
“Not only would that be a continuation of a devastating policy that has split an estimated 15,000 children from their parents, it would be a continuation of its hostile environment that is putting off people from coming to the UK and contributing economically and socially.
“I have repeatedly pressed the Home Office to ditch these cruel anti-family policies and adopt an evidence based approach that keeps families together, attracts talented workers and helps our economy and businesses grow.
“The Tories must either radically reform or scrap its disastrous family visa rules and wider immigration policy, or devolve the powers to Holyrood so we can implement a progressive policy that suits Scotland's needs."

Skype Families:
Immigration Written Question over review to income requirements in the immigration rules for family members:
Immigration Written Question over estimate over the number of UK citizens and people settled in the UK who have not been joined here by loved ones:
Migration Observatory:

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