Courtesy: Dawn News
LONDON: Just weeks after the Conservative government announced new immigration rules, including a new salary threshold of £38,700 for UK residents to sponsor a foreign spouse, the government has backtracked on its measure.
Late on Thursday evening, media reports suggested the government had watered down by cutting the newly proposed fee by almost £10,000.
The Home Office confirmed details of new migration plans which showed that while the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) on family migration will eventually increase to £38,700, as earlier announced, initially the threshold would only rise to £29,000. The current threshold is £18,600.
The government came under immense criticism when it announced the change in its immigration rules early December, and Dawn reported that South Asian families were distraught as their plans to sponsor a partner or spouse were thwarted by the £38,700 salary threshold.
A Conservative MP told Politics Home on Thursday the original policy risked making the party look opposed to “love”, and said they were “particularly concerned about the impact it could have on members of the armed forces who met their partners while serving overseas”.
The backtrack on the family visa was confirmed by Lord Sharpe of Epsom in an answer to a written parliamentary question.
Lord Sharpe highlighted how 75 per cent of the UK population currently meets the minimum income requirement level of £18,600, but that only 30pc would meet the proposed salary threshold of £38,700 based on earnings alone.
He said the minimum income requirement would be increased in “incremental stages to give predictability” and that in spring 2024, it would be raised to £29,000.
No date for when the threshold would rise beyond £29,000 was given in Lord Sharpe’s answer.