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New report finds that immigration rules impact upon thousands of British children

Nearly 15,000 British children are growing up in single parent families because Immigration Rules do not allow both of their parents (if one is non-EU) to live together in the UK if the British spouse/partner does not meet the minimum income requirement of £18,600 p.a., according to a report Family Friendly?’ published today by the Children’s Commissioner for England.  The research was conducted by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and Middlesex University on behalf of the Children’s Commissioner for England.


The Immigration Rules were amended in 2012 with the stated aim of controlling net migration. Three years on the research has found that the Rules have failed to fulfil their stated aims and are impacting upon thousands of British citizen families.

The ‘Family Friendly?’ report [1] examines the impact of the financial requirements of the Immigration Rules on the wellbeing of children and their families.


Key Findings:


  • It is estimated that at least 15,000 children have been affected by changes to the financial requirements of the Immigration Rules implemented in 2012.
  • Children, most of whom are British citizens (79% in the survey carried out for this report), are suffering distress and anxiety as a result of separation from a parent. This is compounded by the overall stress, anxiety and practical difficulties faced by the family unit.
  • The financial requirements affect British citizens and long term residents who have started families with foreigners from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and who wish to live in the UK. The income level would not be met by almost half the adult population and many families with children may never be able to meet them. The threshold is too high and is discriminatory. British citizens who have lived and worked abroad and formed long-term relationships abroad are particularly penalised and find it very difficult to return to the UK.
  • The financial requirements do not meet their stated policy aims; they do not reduce reliance on the welfare state, the fiscal benefits are overstated and they do not promote integration and social participation.
  • The Immigration Rules and accompanying guidance do not comply with the duty to safeguard and protect the best interests of all children in the UK. Several categories of children in the UK are not protected and the Rules as drafted breach national and international law.
  • Decision-making routinely fails to adequately consider the best interests of children and decision letters are often legally and factually incorrect.