The welfare of migrant families is an area of crucial importance to our work. It crosses over areas of concern such as the physical and mental well-being of individuals, the risk of poverty, access to public services and integration.
During the course of our 10 years of work we have registered concern about increasingly restrictive approaches to family reunification. This has taken the form of new requirements on adult family members to demonstrate English language and the introduction of minimum earnings levels for the sponsors of dependents seeking to come to the UK.
In the course of this work we established a Divided Families Campaign with partners the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, BritCits, and the Family Immigration Alliance. This aimed to bring out the evidence of the hardship being caused to families which were being prevented from settling together in the UK; working to support those mounting legal challenges to decisions refusing visas to family members; and the lobbying of Parliament to bring about changes to the rules.
A highlight of our work was the support we were able to give to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration to conduct an inquiry into the impact of the earnings threshold. MRN provided secretarial support to the inquiry and organised the evidence sessions. We were able to facilitate submissions from 28 organisations concerned with this issue, including the Coram Children Legal Centre, Bradford Metropolitan City Council, the British Medical Association, the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Hackney Migrant Centre, the Humber All Nations Alliance, the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, the International Care Network, the Royal College of Nursing South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group and the Women Working in the North Network.
We have subsequently worked with the Divided Families Campaign to organise events each July from 2013 onwards to mark the anniversaries of the rules on income thresholds being enacted.
Other work in the area of family welfare has included:
- Together with BritCits, publication of a briefing on Divided Families and the ‘MM’ Case
- Publication of a briefing on family visit visas and the emerging crisis for Brits affected by the minimum income requirement
- Various briefings related to Parliamentary debates on family immigration policy.