Families of Migrants

The government are looking at making changes to the rules that allow family members to reunite and live with migrants who have already achieved full settlement (permanent residence) status. The proposed changes, which unsurprisingly make the system tougher, include:

  • Five-year probation period before family members are allowed to apply for settlement.
  • The migrant will be required to demonstrate a higher level of income.
  • The family member, on applying for settlement, will need to demonstrate they have qualified an English language course equivalent to level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference (Cefr).

Under the proposals the unemployed or those living on less than around £5,000 a year would be banned from applying to come to the UK. The family member, once in the UK, will be denied access to welfare benefits during the 5 year probation period.

The government are also looking to change the human rights protection to allow deportation of family members who have been living illegally in the UK.

If implemented, the proposals would be far stricter than those in force in most EU countries, the US and Canada, says Thomas Huddleston, a researcher for the Brussels-based Migration Policy Group.