Warnings that UK Government’s new immigration rules could break Welsh families apart
Plaid Cymru has warned that many Welsh families could be broken up by the UK Government’s controversial new immigration rules announced this week.
On Monday (December 4) Home Secretary James Cleverly outlined a plan to tackle rising net migration, which would increase the skilled worker earnings threshold – and the minimum income for family visas – to £38,700.
The minimum income requirement is currently £18,600.
During Wales Questions in the House of Commons, Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon, Hywel Williams MP raised the case of his constituent, Daniel Griffith, who is due to marry his Brazilian partner next year and make their home in Wales.
Mr Williams said that it was “far from clear at present will they be able to do this under the new income rules”.
Mr Williams pointed out that, unlike MPs who earn enough to meet the threshold, many people in Wales will be deprived of the same freedom.
From next spring, the UK Government will also increase the earning threshold for overseas workers by nearly 50% from its current position of £26,200 to £38,700.
The median annual earnings for Gwynedd, which includes Mr Williams’ constituency of Arfon, is £30,524.
The Plaid Cymru MP said: “Wales’s public services are failed by inflation and austerity, and now face the further difficulty in recruiting the skilled migrants who have become so vital to caring for our aging population, as the family threshold is due to rise to 38,700.
“This is eight thousand pounds higher than the average wage in Gwynedd, with many of my constituents earning significantly less.
“Can the Minister tell me what representations she, or rather the Secretary of State, made to the Home Secretary on effects of the new threshold on Welsh public services?”
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Wales, Fay Jones MP, responded that the Secretary of State has “regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on this issue” but defended the measures introduced this week.
In his second question, Mr Williams raised the case of his constituent.
He said: “This change in the salary threshold will affect real people, real families, real people receiving care.
“In particular, my constituent Daniel Griffith, who is due to marry his Brazilian partner next year. They intend to make their home in Wales. It is far from clear at present will they be able to do this under the new income rules.
“Unlike the Secretary of State and the Minister, and may I say everyone else in this Chamber, why should Daniel have to choose between his wife and his country?”
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.
In the Net Migration Press Notice outlining the Home Secretary’s proposals, James Cleverly said: “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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