Home Office slammed for announcing ‘cruel’ family visa policy without impact assessment
The Home Office has been criticised for announcing its new family visa policy without first carrying out an impact assessment.
Earlier this month, the Home Secretary, James Cleverly unveiled a package of measures to reduce the number of people coming to the UK.
Under current rules, to be eligible for a skilled worker visa, your job offer must meet a minimum salary requirement.
At the moment this is whichever is highest out of £26,200 per year, £10.75 per hour or the “going rate”. But from next spring, this will rise to £38,700 per year.
The UK Government says the new plans will deliver the biggest ever cut in net migration and curb abuse of the immigration system.
The decision has attracted criticism as it threatens to tear migrant families apart, with many having their future thrown into doubt as the UK Government continues to thrash out the details of the policy.
Ministers have since confirmed that no assessment was undertaken before announcing increases to family visa income thresholds.
The Home Office confirmed to Plaid Cymru MP, Hywel Williams through an answer to a Written Parliamentary Question on 14 December that “an Impact Assessment will be developed in due course”.
Mr Williams has claimed that the lack of an impact assessment showed that the announcement was a “political tool” by the UK Government, with those affected “disregarded” as “collateral damage”.
Mr Williams submitted written questions to the Home Office after addressing the issue during an oral question session on December 6th.
He highlighted the case of his constituent, Daniel Griffith, who plans to marry his Brazilian partner next year and settle in Wales.
During this session, Mr. Williams queried Fay Jones MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, about why the UK Government expects individuals with lower incomes to choose between their partner and their country while those with higher incomes remain unaffected.
Ms Jones did not answer the question, instead saying that it is policies by the Welsh Labour Government and Plaid Cymru which are “disadvantaging” Wales.
Hywel Williams MP said: “Constituents have written to me, burdened with worry that an arbitrary decision taken in Whitehall will ruin their life plans. The Home Office has now confirmed that it announced this cruel policy, which will separate families, without even bothering to assess how many people it will affect.
“This rushed announcement was a political tool by the Tories to attempt to appear tough on immigration – disregarding those affected as mere collateral damage.
“Given that thousands of people have put their lives on hold following this announcement earlier this month, I urge the Home Secretary to withdraw his announcement until an impact assessment has been completed.
“People shouldn’t be punished for loving someone with a different citizenship. Beyond its cruelty, this policy lacks economic sense. Typically, these are young individuals joining their partners, eager to contribute to society upon arrival. James Cleverly must urgently reconsider.”
Announcing the new visa measures, Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “It is clear that net migration remains far too high. By leaving the European Union we gained control over who can come to the UK, but far more must be done to bring those numbers down so British workers are not undercut and our public services put under less strain.
“My plan will deliver the biggest ever reduction in net migration and will mean around 300,000 people who came to the UK last year would not have been able to do so. I am taking decisive action to halt the drastic rise in our work visa routes and crack down on those who seek to take advantage of our hospitality.”
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