Not content with upsetting those with large credit card debts, David Cameron has now moved on to migrant families, by suggesting that any relatives who wish to come to the UK must ‘not be a burden.’
The Prime Minister told delegates at the Tory Party Conference that any migrants wishing to move to the UK must pass an increased list of requirements, with one of the main stipulations the ability to speak English, as well as being ‘financially independent’.
It is believed that Mr Cameron will lead calls for all migrants to undergo rigorous testing to ensure they are fit to join the UK community and will ensure that any individual planning on staying in the UK will make a contribution to society.
Under the current system, any Brit or permanent resident of the UK can offer to sponsor a visitor from overseas, but the new changes mean that the income of the person in Britain must now be at least what they would receive if they were handed out benefits. One study showed that at least seven out of 10 sponsors earned less than £20,000 per annum, post-taxation.
And paying out benefits to those who arrive are the very thing the government are desperate to avoid, especially as it brings so much bad publicity every time it comes under the media spotlight. Mr Cameron said the government would be considering ‘further measures’ in order to see visitors either attain ‘financial independence’ or return home.
Government has already publicly announced some checks that will be introduced to visitors of any kind, such as language checks and a relationship test, designed to check couples are not engaged in a simple marriage of convenience.
Mr Cameron also told listeners that it is essential that newcomers to the country make a contribution rather than just accept state benefits without fully integrating. He also stressed that asking existing UK residents to simply shoulder the burden for foreigners to come into the country, is unfair and is a practice which must stop.
The Prime Minister also risked ire in some quarters by raising the subject of those who are co-erced into an arranged marriage and announced that it may become a criminal offence, describing the practice as ‘little more than slavery.’ Bringing spouses into the UK from overseas will also be frowned upon, with a separate law preventing the abuse of the current system,
In an unrelated issue, concerned by the number of fraudulent marriages taking place, the government is likely to up the length of time before spouses can come to the UK to live. David Cameron also vowed to end the situation that registrars can sometimes find themselves in, having to perform a wedding ceremony for two business partners, rather than a couple in love.
For those desperate to come to the UK, but cannot offer ongoing financial independence, ministers are offering candidates an alternative means – stumping up for a bond when they enter the country, as proof they have some means to support themselves.
David Cameron emphasised that he is keen to enable visitors to come from overseas and bring their talents and skills to the UK market. However, he stressed that getting the ‘right people for the economy’ was vital to avoid simply flooding the market with either those on benefits or cheap labour.
The UK has an ultimate target of reducing the number of migrants each year, reaching 100,000 within the next four years. If the government is to achieve this, tougher action will continue to be necessary, as last year around 237,890 people settled in Britain from overseas.