Women, young people and non-Londoners are most affected by changes to family migration policy

12th June 2012

New policies to restrict family immigration from outside the EU will affect people in their 20s, women, and those outside London more than other groups, Oxford University’s Migration Observatory said today.

The government announced today that those people who hope to bring a spouse or other family member from outside the EU to the UK will need to be able to demonstrate that they are have an annual income of at least £18,600, and more if they hope to bring more than one family member.

These changes will mean that, of British citizens in employment:

  • 47% will not qualify to bring in a family member.
  • 58% of people aged between 20 and 30 will not qualify to bring in a family member compared to 35-45% of people aged between 30 and 60.
  • 61% of women and 32% of men will not qualify to bring in a family member.
  • 48% of people in Scotland will not qualify to bring in a family member.
  • 51% of people in Wales will not qualify to bring in a family member.
  • 46% of English residents will not qualify to bring in a family member.
  • 29% of Londoners will not qualify to bring in a family member.
  • The areas of England with the lowest eligibility are Mersyside, where 56% of people will not be eligible, North West England (53%) and Yorkshire and Humberside (52%).

Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, Senior Researcher at the Migration Observatory at Oxford University said: “Essentially what this shows us is that groups who tend to earn less will be affected more by this policy change. Specifically this will include women, those outside of London and people under 30 years old.”

Overall net migration to the UK currently stands at around 252,000. The Government has committed to reducing this to the “tens of thousands” by 2015.

Dr Scott Blinder, Senior researcher at the Migration Observatory added: “The announced income threshold might make for a fairly sharp reduction to family migration, but this is still only a small fraction of the cuts needed to approach the government’s target.”

Related Material

Migration Observatory briefing: Non-European Migration to the UK: Family Unification & Dependents

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