UK migration rules for family reunification one of strictest in world

PM says new immigration bill is ‘tough but necessary’

The UK has ranked second in the world for having the strictest rules for “family reunification” rules under the Migrant Integration Policy Index scale. Post-Brexit rules have seen EU citizens desperate to join their loved ones in the UK struggle to get their visas approved over family reunification criteria.

The MIPEX found that Britain is only second to Denmark as the worst out of 56 countries analysed in the world.

In their 2019 data, they say: “Family reunification remains a major obstacle for non-EU newcomers to the UK, which ranks second from the bottom among MIPEX countries.

“They face unfavourable, restrictive requirements and definitions of family. Family-reunited migrants do not enjoy a fully secure future.”

Until Brexit was finalised, EU citizens enjoyed the same status as British ones when it came to live and work in the UK.

Millions of them, who could prove they were living and working in the country before 2020, were granted temporary or settled status under the Withdrawal Agreement.

But for those who did not qualify for the scheme, life has turned into a nightmare.

Writing in The Times, Annabel Fenwick Elliott shared her painful experience as she is forced to visit her German partner in Iceland, where he works, with their eight-month-old child.

Julius, a German pilot, did not qualify for either settled status nor a working visa for the UK, despite being the father of a British baby and in love with her partner Annabel.

She wrote: “Anyone who thought our nation was too welcoming to foreign settlers will be delighted (but perhaps surprised) to learn that compared with almost anywhere else on the planet, we’re pretty much Fort Knox.

“According to the latest Migrant Integration Policy Index, which rates 56 countries on how ‘favourable’ they are for family reunification, we rank second to worst, with only Denmark bringing up the rear. Brazil, Canada and Portugal, on the other end of the scale, are the best.”

She added: “When I became pregnant with Jasper we looked into settling as a family in England near my mother, whose generous approach to childcare allows me to work, but quickly hit a brick wall.

“The visa application for Julius would take about six months to process, cost more than £3,500 and only last for 2 years and 9 months, after which the applicant is required to repeat the process.

“Manageable, but that’s if we qualify to apply, which we don’t.

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“In our case, Julius isn’t eligible for a spouse visa, or even a parent one, because I didn’t earn enough money last year.

“Never mind that I have been on unpaid maternity leave, or that Julius is at present the breadwinner; the Home Office is not interested in his salary, only that I do not meet the threshold of making more than £22,400 per annum after tax as a freelancer myself.”

The MIPEX report gave the UK an overall score of 56/100 on its immigration policies.

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