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Immigration: Marriage

Volume 700: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration and Minister for the West Midlands (Liam Byrne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

As part of our programme of reform in 2008 to tighten Britain’s border security I am today revoking two pieces of guidance that could have helped a handful of overstayers—people here illegally in the United Kingdom (UK)—to obtain limited leave to stay in the UK as the spouse or partner of a British citizen rather than going home and applying for a marriage visa.

These policies applied only to people facing enforced removal but gave an unfair advantage to those unlawfully in the UK compared to those who complied with the Immigration Rules in seeking a marriage visa before arrival. Withdrawing the policies will simplify the handling of marriage cases.

The fact that an individual is married to or is the civil partner of a British citizen or someone settled in the UK will continue to be a relevant factor to be taken into account when considering removal. Each case will be considered on its individual merits in line with the Human Rights Act and the Immigration Rules.