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Sharp drop in foreigners granted right to live in UK

By May Bulman

The number of foreigners granted the right to live with their relatives in the UK has plummeted in the past decade, it can be revealed.

Analysis of immigration statistics shows the number of children, partners and dependant relatives able to remain permanently in the UK through a 'grant of settlement' has declined by 73% since 2006.

Family members being granted entry clearance visas, which they must obtain in order to move to Britain to apply for settlement, have also dropped - falling from 70,119 in 2006 to just 38,119 last year, marking a decrease of 46%.

A fall in applications and a policy change in 2012, which saw the period one had to live in the UK before applying for a permanent residency increase from two years to five years, have contributed to the steep decline in grants of settlement, which has plummeted by 77% since the change took place.

Visas granted for the partners of UK nationals have fallen by 45% since 2006, with the success rate down from 86% to 76%.

A significant reason for the sharp decline is believed to be the decision by the previous coalition government to introduce a minimum income requirement in 2012. This meant a UK citizen must earn more than £18,600 before they can sponsor a non-European spouse or partner to join them.

Chai Patel of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said: "For integration and communities to succeed, parents should not be separated from children, nor should partners who are in love be forced to live in different countries. We need an immigration system that respects family life."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The British public have been clear that they want to see a reduction in net migration and that is what this Government is delivering.

"We continue to welcome the foreign partners and children of those settled in the UK but it's important that they can stand on their own feet financially."

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