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One week to go on family consultation

Date of Publication: 
29 September 2011
Home Office public consultation on reforms to family migration to close October 6th

29 September 2011

The 12 week public consultation on reforms to family migration closes on Thursday 6 October 2011.

The consultation, which has so far received over 4,000 responses, focuses on tackling abuse, promoting integration and reducing burdens on the taxpayer.

Key proposals include:

  • defining more clearly what constitutes a genuine and continuing marriage, to help identify sham marriages and forced marriages;
  • introducing a new minimum income threshold for sponsors of spouses, partners and dependants, to ensure that family migrants are adequately supported as a basis for integration - the independent Migration Advisory Committee has been asked to advise on what the threshold should be;
  • extending the probationary period before spouses and partners can apply for settlement in the UK from 2 years to 5 years, to test that relationships are genuine and to encourage integration into British life;
  • requiring spouses, partners and adult dependants aged under 65 to demonstrate that they can understand everyday English (B1 level on the Common European Framework for Languages) when they apply for settlement;
  • exploring the case for making 'sham' a lawful impediment to marriage in England and Wales, and for giving the authorities the power to delay a marriage where sham is suspected;
  • working closely with local authorities to ensure that vulnerable people are not forced into marriage;
  • reviewing the full right of appeal for family visitor visas, and inviting views on whether there are circumstances (beyond race discrimination and human rights grounds) in which a right of challenge should be retained; and
  • looking at the operation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to respect for private and family life) and immigration.

If you would like to take part in the consultation, please make sure you return your response by midnight on Thursday 6 October.