Migrants’ Rights Scotland responds to UKBA Family Migration Consultation

We have submitted our response to the UKBA Family Migration Consultation which closed on 6th Oct 2011.

The government proposes to reform rules relating to family migration with the aims of driving down net migration to “sustainable levels”, “preventing and tackling abuse, promoting integration and reducing burdens on the taxpayer”.

In our submission, we have reiterated our objection to using the level of net migration as the basis for or target of immigration policies, as the government has yet to establish how net migration constitutes an adequate indicator for what might be “sustainable immigration”. We also reaffirmed our position that the current immigration system, the recently introduced changes to immigration rules and those proposed here fail to consider the various contexts and needs of different parts of the UK to the detriment, for example, of Scotland. Scotland does not only need to attract migrants and their families but also to ensure that they settle here, thereby contributing to the effective management of Scotland’s decreasing and ageing population, keeping services and communities alive and promoting sustainable economic growth. In this regard, we consider the motivation behind this consultation as flawed.

Moreover, we have made clear that we object to the vast majority of the changes proposed here as the government seeks to use the prevention of ‘sham’ and ‘forced marriages’ to justify drastic measures that would cause significant hardship on a wide range of persons, British citizens, settled migrants and non-EU nationals alike, who wish to live in the UK together with their partners, children, or parents. We are highly alarmed by the way in which the government incriminates and stirs up suspicion of people who have established perfectly genuine relationships; and the way in which the consultation seeks to win the public’s approval for interfering with what is a universal human right, the right to a private and family life. At the same time, the government completely fails to evidence how the proposed changes would be conducive to integration or would reduce “burdens on the taxpayer”.

The consultation document indicates that the governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be asked to adopt some or all of the proposals relating to England and Wales. We have made clear that – should these proposed changes be adopted in England and Wales – we intend to advise the Scottish Government not to follow suit.

As many questions in the consultation are misleading and give an inaccurate impression of existing rules, human rights, UK and EU law, we feel very strongly that it is disingenuous of the government to collude with certain sections of the media in misinforming the public about the rights of individuals and, more specifically the rights of migrants in British society.


Read our full submission to the UKBA on our Resources page.