Changes to UK Visa Requirements for Foreign Spouses
Monday, 11 June 2012
The UK Government on June 10, 2012 announced changes to the UK Immigration law, allowing only British nationals or residents with an annual income of at least Rs 16 lakhs to bring spouses from the Indian sub-continent and other countries outside the European Union.
To bring a non-EU spouse to the UK, the sponsor will have to have an annual income of at least 18,600 pounds (nearly Rs 16 lakhs) and if they have a child the threshold will rise to 22,400 pounds, rising by 2,400 pounds for each additional child.
The changes, which will take effect from July 9, 2012, are the next step in recent efforts of the UK government to cut down on the number of non-EU migrants. The new income threshold requirement is also aimed at cracking down on bogus marriages and family visas, which burden UK taxpayers.
According to Home secretary Theresa May, like the rest of the immigration system, UK family visas have not been regulated properly for years.
"There have been sham marriages, people have been allowed to come to Britain without being able to speak English and there haven't been rules in place to stop people becoming a burden on the welfare state," said May.
"We're changing all of that. Our plans mean the thousands of people who wish to bring their foreign spouses, partners and dependants to live with them here in Britain will have to have sufficient financial independence to be able to support them without becoming a burden to the taxpayer".
In addition to the changes, according to the announcement, non-EU spouses will have to wait longer, from two to five years, to be eligible for permanent settlement.
British nationals or residents will also have to sign a five-year undertaking that they can "maintain, accommodate and care" for their elderly non-EU relatives without access to public funds such as carer and disability allowances, housing and council tax benefits and winter fuel and cold weather payments.