London: Senior Labour MP Keith Vaz yesterday expressed disgust and shock over new visa restrictions — including a new income threshold — for bringing Indian and non-European Union spouses announced by Home secretary Theresa May.
In a statement in the House of Commons, May yesterday provided details of the new restrictions she announced Sunday.
The curbs are part of the government's moves to prevent bogus marriages and reduce immigration from outside the EU.
Under the new rules, only those British nationals and residents with an annual income of £18,600 (approx Rs 16 lakh) will be allowed to sponsor their non-EU spouses to come and live with them in the UK.
Vaz, who completed 25 years as an MP from Leicester East today, said: "I am shocked at the Government's new proposal. They will dramatically affect my constituents, settled British Asians, not illegal immigrants, tax payers who contribute to our country".
He added: "What she proposes flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s message at the launch of the Conservative Friends of India only six weeks ago. A British Home Secretary has no place dictating who British citizens should choose as their spouses based on an artificial financial limit. This is unfair, unjust and unnecessary."
Higher income thresholds will apply to those seeking to bring non-EU dependent children to the UK: £22,400 threshold for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child.
Immigration welfare campaigners say that the new curbs will exclude two-thirds of British people from living in the UK as a couple if they marry a non-EU national.
The impact of the income threshold and other measures is expected to reduce the number of family route visas granted by between 13,700 and 18,500 per year.
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Updated Date: Jun 12, 2012 09:31:32 IST