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Enfield #law firm with #lawyers & solicitors for finding legal advices on #immigration law, #family problems, #property issues etc. Consult our #legal experts for finding solutions for your legal matters  http://www.ktslegal.co.uk/
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Family #Immigration

Before taking office, David Cameron declared that his aim was to make “the UK the most family-friendly country in the world”. He has sought – largely successfully – to make modern conservatism about sound finances andstrong families. Alongside deficit reduction, therefore, the PM has prioritised the expansion of free childcare, the rolling out of the Troubled Families Programmeand the introduction of a tax break for married couples.

But he has a blind spot: he is presiding over the “least family-friendly immigration policies in the developed world”, according to the international Migrant Integration Policy Index. Specifically, in 2012 the Coalition Government introduced a new, higher minimum income threshold for British citizens who want their foreign spouses and children resident outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to live with them in the UK.

To sponsor the visa of their spouse, Britons have to now earn at least £18,600 per annum. This rises to £22,400 per annum if a non-British child is to be admitted too, with an additional £2,400 required for each child thereafter. This income threshold was recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee to reduce the burden on public finances by £660 million over 10 years, despite the fact that such spouses do not have access to many benefits, tax credits and housing assistance until they apply for permanent settlement after 5 years.

The result is that between 2011 and 2014, there has been a 21 per cent reduction in the number of non-EEA family visas granted each year. Up to 15,000 children are forecast to be living apart from one of their parents as a result of the changes introduced in 2012.

This ruling and its consequences are directly a result of the government’s preoccupation with trying to achieve the net migration target of tens of thousands each year – a target that is arbitrary, indiscriminate and proving unachievable. But we have learnt, thankfully, in recent weeks that principles can trump this target: the Prime Minister, in response to a profoundly moving image of a drowned child on the shores of Europe, committed to a substantial and welcome increase in the number of Syrian refugees the UK accepts through the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

The stories collated by the Children’s Commissioner in her recent report – of despondence and depression shown by children as a result of being separated from one of their parents – should appeal to the Prime Minister’s heart. But I want to appeal to his head too and give four compelling reasons why conservatives in particular should support revising the rules around family visas.

First, the current rules are likely to be leading to higher government expenditure. The future income of the spouse, if they worked in the UK, is not taken into account when deciding if a visa is granted or not, despite the fact they could be paying taxes and improving household incomes. The policy effectively enforces single parenthood; such families are more likely to be net consumers of public welfare. Recent research by Middlesex University shows that, contrary to forecasts from the Home Office of significant savings, the minimum income threshold is likely to be leading to losses in government revenue of nearly £850 million over 10 years, thanks to an estimated 17,800 spouses being denied entry to the UK each year and thus not working and paying taxes here.

Second, it undermines the predominant view of fairness held by Conservatives: namely, that reward should be linked to effort. This conception of fairness explains growing enthusiasm for a higher minimum wage among Conservatives; those who work day in and day out but are still living in poverty deserve a pay rise. Well, these very same people – and many more on modest incomes – are badly affected by this minimum income rule; in fact, Oxford University's Migration Observatory has calculated that 43 per cent of the UK population do not qualify to meet the minimum income to sponsor your spouse, and an even higher proportion of women and twentysomethings. Thousands of hard-working people do not deserve to prevented from living in the same country as the rest of their family.

Third, it encourages single-parent families, rather than two-parent families. Conservatives have long complained about the so-called couple penalty in the welfare system, which incentives people to live apart rather than together. And, for a long time, the Conservatives have sought to amend the 1989 Children’s Act so there is a presumption of "shared parenting" as being in the best interests of the child. The notion that two parents are usually better than one should apply to all families, including migrant families. In a globalised world, family formation is inevitably going to become increasingly internationalised. Conservatives should be horrified that the state is splitting up these families.

Finally, it is thwarting the highest of human emotions: love. Conservatives distinguish themselves from liberals by emphasising and encouraging the interdependency – not just the independence – of people. As Roger Scruton notes in his recent book: “Self-consciousness and freedom emerge through the venture out from the self towards the other”. Responsibility and duty to others – key ingredients for a functioning and caring society – are realised through the most important institution: the family, which people take years to build with love, sweat and tears. This policy punctures this process, with great pain caused.

Of course the government needs to ensure that we don’t have open borders and public spending is controlled. These are important considerations alongside recognising contribution, supporting families and prizing love. But the balance is not quite right between all these important principles at the moment. Instead, the government should allow people to sponsor the spouse of their loved ones if they meet the minimum income rule, or have been paying income tax for the past 30 months, as recently recommended by Bright Blue. Then the Conservatives can confirm they are indeed a party of the centre-ground - competent and compassionate.

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Looking for property solicitors Looking for property solicitors? KTS Legal deal with all aspects of residential and commercial freehold & leasehold conveyancing, including re-mortgaging, transfers of equity and equity release schemes, transfer of ownership, assents etc.
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Family Lawyers & Solicitors in North London - KTS Legal www.ktslegal.co.uk
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