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Immigration rules separate 15,000 children from parents

As many as 15,000 British children do not live with both parents because of immigration rules, the Children’s Commissioner for England has claimed.

Research from Middlesex University and the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants found that out of 38 developed countries, the UK has “the least family-friendly family reunification policies”.

In 2012, the coalition government introduced new requirements for spousal visas. One such requirement was that any Brit applying for one had to earn at least £18,600 per year. This represents 138 per cent of the national minimum wage and means that almost half of working Britons cannot afford to live with a partner from outside of the European Union.

With the number of British children born to foreign mothers increasing, these rules have had a “profound impact” on numerous families, Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield said.

She claimed that the rules “actively drive families apart, and leave British children able to communicate with one parent only via Skype”.

The newly published research found that children with parents who cannot enter the UK as a result of these strict immigration rules “suffer from stress and anxiety, affecting their well-being and development”, Ms Longfield said.

Research co-author Dr Helena Wray is an associate professor of Law at Middlesex University. She said that the financial requirements to apply for a spousal visa are “much more onerous than they need to be to protect the public purse”.

She added:

“The result has been the separation of parents and children, heartache and misery. Some families cannot see how they can ever meet the rules and separation may be permanent.”

Dr Wray called for an urgent change in the immigration rules to make them more flexible. That way, “affected children, the vast majority of whom are British citizens, can grow up in their own country with both their parents”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. The Devil's Advocate says:

    Well this is not in the best interests of children.

    It contravenes lnternational and European Legislation. The Hague Convention on marriage assumes your rights to marriage and shared responsibilities for the like. The UK Government has to realise and legislate for this reality. Like a student loan, marriages associated with this legitimacy should be associated with a loan procedure a bit like quantitative easing except this is given to real people who WILL repay the loan over a known period or get extradited to the nation of the other spouse if they have not repayed the loan after “x” number of years. If they have work which doesn’t achieve the £18,600 (greater than the minimum income currently ) then they will borrow this difference and work it off like any business loan!

    We live in a world of double standards. We want to harm children by splitting up families for what ever purpose (and for other 17th Century relate reasons as given by this author on other blogs!) And yet we don’t value the nourishment all families bring to society.

    It’s a bit like saying to S/E banker that you can earn £6 ×10 power of 7 and pay amaximum of 45% tax (which in reality is about 8% for watching a screen for an hour and pressing a few buttons whilst hoovering up the last natural wealth on our planet) which f___ks up our future even faster and provides nothing to society at all, yet we can’t have other families being together because the Government hasn’t the responsibility of introducing a 2% transaction tax on bankers income through a Financial Transaction Tax to enable a family support loan (not a gift!). (Any idea a 2% FTT would raise…you would spilt a gut if you knew..
    I will tell but next time if you ask nicely). It’s all Emperor’s Clothing! Oh and it will end so called austerity immediately, which in the totality of real economics has never existed. (Real natural wealth most of us do not understand because we could never handle the responsibilities).

    Yes l know, a bit off the mark this last paragraph. Mark my words though it is all in the ingredients of real world economics which over 90% of people could not handle the consequences of an avaricious addictively consumptive lifestyle just for its own destructive sake…and here ends the lesson children! (Want to know more on real or green economics and a living economy to benefit families…just ask!)

    The Devil’s Advocate.

  2. Luke says:

    It’s hardly ideal, but I think the government policy is right, people who have children need to have some accountability for their actions – and the bar is set very low.

    Having a child with a person who is not entitled to live in the UK and does not have the skill to secure a decent job in the UK whilst at the same time themselves not being capable of having a job that pays anywhere near the average full time salary is ridiculous.

    The concern that the government has is a legitimate one – that another person comes to an already overcrowded country (i.e. England) and is paid for indefinitely by the taxpayer.

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