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Family Migration

Volume 556: debated on Monday 7 January 2013

6. What assessment she has made of the effect on family migration of the new immigration rules which came into force in July 2012. (135584)

The new family immigration rules are expected to reduce burdens on the taxpayer, promote integration and tackle abuse. That was clearly set out in the impact assessment that we published in June 2012. We will of course keep the impact of the rules under review in terms of how we are achieving those objectives.

Children’s well-being may be at risk if the family migration rules perpetuate family separation by preventing a parent from joining his or her family here in the UK. What is the Minister doing to monitor the impact of the family migration rules on children’s well-being?

The purpose of those rules is very straightforward—it is to make sure that people who wish to bring somebody who is not a British citizen into the country are able to support them out of their own resources rather than expecting them and their family to be supported by the taxpayer. That seems perfectly reasonable to me, and it was very well supported in the consultation, but we will keep its impact under review, as I set out in my earlier answer.

I strongly welcome this change. Although this measure has been denounced by some as hard-hearted, may I suggest to my hon. Friend that, in practice, in many cases it will still let people come in who will require a very significant subsidy for their housing, so it is only a first step in the right direction?

The income limit that we set for spouses wishing to bring their family members into this country is based on evidence that the Migration Advisory Committee put forward, having looked at the level at which people were largely not able to claim income-related benefits. As I said, the premise is very simple: if someone wants to bring their family to the UK, they can, but they are expected to support them rather than expecting the taxpayer to do so. That seems perfectly reasonable.