All our families belong together. And we all deserve the chance to live and grow old with the people we love. This doesn’t change if one of us happens to be from somewhere else. Many of us travel for work, for leisure or to study. Sometimes we fall in love across borders.

Under the current rules, British nationals have to demonstrate that they meet a high minimum income requirement before they can live in the UK with a partner from outside the European Economic Area. 40% of working people with non EEA partners would have to choose between living overseas with the person they love and coming home to the rest of their family in the UK. This figure rises to 80% for women in part-time work. Our immigration system has thus separated tens of thousands of families; thousands of children have now grown up without one of their parents.

Governments should seek to make it easier, not more difficult to build a life with those we love.

“My daughter is getting to know me via Skype. She was crying yesterday, and I couldn’t pick her up, and it just broke my heart.”

Father of a 6-month-old daughter (see our report, 'Family Friendly?', pdf)

Our recommendations

  • Abolish the ‘Minimum Income Requirement’ so that no family is forced to live apart or in permanent exile
  • Allow families applying for partner visas to apply from within the UK and live here together while they wait for a decision
  • Simplify the process of obtaining a family visa so that no family needs to use a lawyer simply to submit an application        

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