Bishop Patrick Lynch, Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Office for Migration Policy, has added his signature to a letter to The Guardian branding new rules on family migration “unfair and damaging” and calling for the government to reconsider them.
Bishop Lynch is one of ten signatories alongside MPs, medical professionals and human rights representatives.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Migration has released a report claiming that changes to the migration rules that came into force on 9 July 2012 are “causing anguish for families”.
In particular, the body’s Family Migration inquiry, launched in November 2012, looked at the new minimum income requirement of £18,600 for British nationals and permanent residents (‘UK sponsors’) seeking to bring a spouse, partner or child to the UK from outside the EU.
The human right to a family life is recognised in domestic and international law. Strong and stable families are central to our society.
The cross-party report into the impacts of recent family migration rules, however, shows that hundreds of British citizens and permanent residents have been kept apart from their family members since July 2012. The rules now require that people wishing to bring a spouse, partner or child to the UK from outside the EU earn at least £18,600 a year – higher than the income of almost half the UK working population.
Many children, including British children, have been indefinitely separated from a parent, with implications for their wellbeing and development. In addition, skilled professionals, including NHS consultants, wishing to care for an elderly relative at their own expense in the UK are now unable to do so. These rules are unfair and damaging, and we urge the government to reconsider them.
Bishop Patrick Lynch, Archdiocese of Southwark
Paul Blomfield MP
David Ward MP
Pete Wishart MP
Dr Maggie Atkinson Children’s Commissioner for England
Professor Vivienne Nathanson British Medical Association
Peter Carter Royal College of Nursing
Don Flynn Migrants Rights Network
Shami Chakrabarti Liberty
Jasvir Singh City Sikhs Network
Over 280 submissions were received by the APPG on Migration inquiry Committee, including over 170 submissions from families who had been affected by the rules. Written evidence was also received from charities, lawyers, local authorities, businesses and MPs from across the UK.
Official website of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Migration Family Migration inquiry