Under the new financial rules, the sponsoring British Citizens and UK permanent residents are required to prove that they are earning at least £18,600 a year, with an extra £3,800 for one migrating child and £2,400 for every subsequent child included in a UK fiancee, partner or marriage visa application under the settlement category, unless the sponsor and/or their foreign partner, fiancee or spouse have substantial savings or other non-employment sources of income. For a family with two children, the threshold is above the average wage for the UK. Average pay varies over the country and in some areas the threshold for just sponsoring one adult for a UK settlement visa is out of the reach for most people. Bearing in mind that ‘average pay’ means that many are below that figure, it is estimated that almost half of the UK working population would fail to meet the threshold.
The self-employed are particularly disadvantaged as they sometimes find it difficult to prove income and, depending on the nature of their business, income is not regular. However, the biggest concern is the effect of these changes on children. Whilst accepting that the policy was put in place to relieve the burden on the UK taxpayer, the legislators were adamant that ‘children shouldn’t suffer as a result.’ Sadly, there are many examples in the cases being looked at by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, not to mention those emerging in the press almost daily, to show that children are suffering, being routinely parted from a parent for many months due to financial restrictions. The parent who is in the UK trying to seek work or sort out an answer to what must sometimes seem an insuperable problem suffers from missing milestones and bonding with their child or children. The other parent trapped in another country – in some cases in quite dangerous situations – suffers from the worry of how to maintain a family unit when many miles and months of time separate them.
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