The ‘Skype kids’: the effect of stringent UK immigration laws on Spouses

dreamstime_xl_20570591-300x138For British Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis  families are the closest relationships to their country of origin. It is therefore not surprising that second generation British Asian often marry and start their families with partners from these countries.

However, the increasingly stringent UK spouse visa requirements that the unless the household income of a British national is over £18,600 and £22,400 respectively, has led to arbitrary separation on married couples and their families.
Research by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) which was reported in the Guardian highlights how strict regulations are tearing families apart, and causing distress among children who are forced to skype their parents from overseas . The report cites the detrimental effect on children hindering their development. Tendencies are also being noted where the children are socially withdrawn, disobedient and are also having a hard time adjusting to school without their mothers.

Under the Rules, the incoming partner’s future cannot count towards meeting the threshold . Furthermore, wider family support cannot be taken into account.. The Government’s main failing is there inability to acknowledge the structure of Indian families. Spousal support for wives comes not only from the income that their husbands generate, but also from what the in laws provide additionally.

In those circumstances, the JCWI argues that a provision should be made allowing foreign spouses to settle in the UK. The present rules do not bode well for protecting a British national’s right to a private and family life under Article 8. For now, mothers can depend on technology to bridge the gap but the policy to exclude spouses seems untenable and extremely unfair.

What does the JCWI recommend?

In the Report, the JCWI highlights three pertinent recommendations:

(i) Firstly, they are insistent on calculating a partner’s earnings when taking into account the means for them to support their wives.

(ii) The JCWI also suggest third parties support to be taken into consideration. As mentioned earlier, this is reasonable since it takes into account the families’ financial standing to support their children, and ought to be brought into effect.

(iii) Reducing the threshold for income from savings to count without being liquidated.

Lex Meridian’s view

As a law firm which specializes in UK immigration from India, we have already seen how difficult it is for the spouses of UK citizens to conduct their normal family life because of arbitrary distances imposed by increasingly stricter and tighter regulation.
In our experience, the overwhelming majority of applicants of spouses from India are genuine families who are seeking to establish themselves in the UK and contribute to the UK economy.
The JCWI is commended for its report and its findings should be carefully considered by the UK Government and policy makers.