Family migration policies are failing both families and society as a whole. This was one of the key conclusions (not surprising for us unfortunately) contained in the report published by the House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee.
The report represents the culmination of the “All families matter: An inquiry into family migration” which over the course of the last 6 months heard from a variety of witnesses that helped the Committee assess how family migration policies affect families and society as a whole.
Reunite Families UK was pleased and honoured of having been asked to provide in person and written evidence, through which we were able to highlight, through the lived experience of our members, the detrimental impact and negative consequences of poorly designed, poorly implemented and poorly executed migration policies.
We couldn’t agree more with the Committee’s findings that 10 years since their introduction, these policies continue to fail families and society on a daily basis.
Alongside this, we were struck to see their Lordship reach many of the conclusions which we have also observed in our day-to-day work including how:
- Some families have to rely on local authority safety net support as a result of being pushed into destitution by unforgiving and cruel policies
- Our public services, in particular the NHS have been left weaker and without the skills of people who had to choose a different country to work in order to be able to be reunited with their families.
- How the government’s view of family is outdated and still very much restricted to a nuclear family, leading to a policy blind to other cultures’ understanding of family instead of a flexible definition of family that can reflect the diversity of contemporary families
As the report also highlights, it is extremely concerning that as a result of Brexit, EU citizens have also entered into the purview of this highly imperfect system which will also increase the workload of an already stretched Home Office workforce for which families visas are sadly never their priority as also highlighted by the Committee.
It is in this context, that, as was recently briefed to the media, the government is now planning to further increase the Minimum Income Requirement, something which will make the negative impact highlighted in the report only worse and put family reunification out of reach for an increasing number of people, particularly at a time of high inflation and with the cost of living causing havoc in the finances of so many people across the country.
You can still sign our letter to the Prime Minister Please asking him not to increase the Minimum Income Requirement.
We hope instead that this report will bring Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his government to reconsider a policy that clearly is not working for families, not working for our society and worsening the mental health of so many people who come to us to receive support denied to them by a heartless government who lack the empathy to do the right thing by the families that continue to be separated.