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Thousands of Londoners will be affected by far-reaching changes to the UK visa system. Check you’re not one of them

The UK Home Office is making it more difficult for non-EU citizens to settle in the UK with a raft of changes designed to curb immigration.

For some, adjustments to the Family Migration Route will put the mockers on love relations, and your bank balance will have to be plumper than before.

Besides being slightly more out of pocket, the changes will have a limited effect on the many Aussies and Kiwis who are working in the capital via the Youth Mobility Scheme, or with a British passport, but it’s still a good idea to swot up.

These updates come on the back of reforms introduced in April 2011.

To refresh, the key ones included: Tier 2 Skilled migrants losing the right to work in Britain if they are earning less than £35,000 a year (unless they have a PhD or work in a shortage occupation); releasing only 1000 high-value Tier 1 Visas for entrepreneurs, investors, sports stars and scientists and the like; the abolition of the Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa that allowed graduates to work in the UK for two years following graduation; the cost of applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain by post raised to £972; and the cost of applying for British citizenship raised to £836.

The latest changes are as follows:

Heart on hold

If you are a non-Brit or not from the European Economic Area (EEA) getting it on long-term with a Brit who earns less than £18,600, you might have to rethink your relationship. The threshold has increased from £5795. If you’ve got a child, your British partner needs to earn £22,400, increasing by £2400 with every other sprog.

Guy Taylor, of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, believes the change is highly discriminatory. The council is currently lobbying parliament to have the laws relaxed.

“Young people, women, disabled and older people are going to be disproportionately affected by this rule,” Taylor says. “UK citizens’ rights to love who they choose to love is being undermined.”

According to The Migration Observatory, 29 per cent of Londoners will not qualify to bring a loved one to the UK due to the rule, and 61 per cent of women will not qualify.


Get the all-clear: how will changes to the UK visa system affect you?
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