Recently in the United Kingdom a series of immigration law has been changed. Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has treated Monday 9 July 2012 as a bad day because the family Immigration Rule changes were introduced. Another organisation named Migrants’ Rights Network observes that the new family migration rules, as we anticipated, are already causing difficulties for many people in the UK.
The new law states that British citizens who marry foreigners will have to earn at least £18,600 a year if they want to set up their family home in the UK under a new immigration clampdown. And if the foreign-born spouse had children, their British partner would have to earn £22,400 or more, depending on how many children they had.
The Daily Mail remarks, the planned changes mean lower-paid Britons would be forced to emigrate if they wanted to live with a loved one from overseas. The National Earnings Survey website narrates that nearly 40% of the working population of the UK would be prevented from sponsoring a foreign spouse or partner in the future.
An example will make a clear picture how the law affecting low paid immigrants and making a discrimination. Jay earns minimum wages to live and can not satisfy the new rules of income. Consequently he will be deprived of forming family life, as he has got married a Bangladeshi women living in Dhaka.
In the same time, Ray earns same amount of money as Jay earning, however, Ray can starts his family life instantly as his fiancé living in the United Kingdom. Prima facie it is a discriminatory rules and could be challenged before the Supreme Court of the land.
Men and women of marriageable age shall have the right to marry. Right to marriage is not an absolute rights as it is subject to national laws regulating marriage, including laws that prohibit marriage between certain types of people (for example close relatives).
Although the government is able to restrict the right to marry; it must not impose limitations which impair the very essence of the right. The new rules strikes on the very fundamental spirit of right to respect to private and family life safe guarded by the ECHR.
Why this type of legislation is required for the country? Answer is available in Home Secretary Theresa May’s statement. Speaking on “The Andrew Marr Show” Mrs. May said: `I think it is important that if people are bringing people into the UK to create a family here in the UK that we say that you should be able to support yourselves and not be reliant on the state.` If the purpose of making the rules is to avoid reliance of public fund, it is better to make a conditional visa for certain time stating no recourse of public fund. In the same show Andrew Marr said, it seems very unfair that a poor British man or woman can fall in love with someone from America or Thailand and be prevented from getting married and making a home here, while a rich person can.
Labour MP Chris Bryant said a better way to deal with the problem would be to insist that Britons who marry foreigners and settle here provide a bond worth `a substantial sum`. If the immigrant went on to claim benefits, the money would be deducted from the bond. He insists that the idea was `poorly thought out`.
Apparently this rules indirectly brought an obstacle on right to marry and violation to the respect of family and private life. If a law is incompatible with Human Rights what should be done? The remedial action could have been brought by the Immigration minister by making a declaration of incompatible.
As it has not been done, this rules is challengeable before the Supreme Court. It is to be expected that the community leaders, member of parliament, lawyers will come forward to challenge the law to maintain and uphold the right to marry and right to respect of family and private life in the UK.
JCWI is a non government organisation working and campaigning for justice in immigration & asylum law & policy since 1967 in the United Kingdom.
Article 12 of European Convention on Human Rights
Article 8 of ECHR
The Andrew Marr Show is a most popular TV show aired by BBC
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