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Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols attacks immigration targets

Archbishop Vincent urges a rethink on spousal visas and warns many families are split by new income rules. Click here to view the article that appeared in the Guardian on Monday 16 December.

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  • Amber Newman-Tidula
    Posted 16th December 2013 at 11:13pm

    Arch Bishop Nichols is the only UK Church Leader to stand up for the Human rights of Married British Citizens. With this Brave action of speaking out about an issue that has received little if no press coverage. He has given hope and a voice to the thousands of Lawfully Married British people whose lives have been devastated by the new Spouse Visa Rules.

    For this amazing and kind action those of us who's lives are affected by this new rule we are eternally thankful. Arch Bishop Nichols truly is a Good man, he is a true man of God.

    Our humble thanks to you Arch Bishop Nichols,+ for being the only British Church leader, who cares enough to speak out strongly against the new Spousal/Family Visa Sponsorship requirement for non EU spouses or family members of British Citizens.

    Under the new spousal visa requirement rule, brought in by the Coalition Government last year. Which replaced a system that was working perfectly well and offered as it does now a Visa STAMPED NO RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS as they historically have done since the 1970's. Normal Hard working British people have been forcibly separated or live in constant fear of losing their jobs and having their husbands, wives and children deported due lack of evidence of salaried earnings alone (assets are not taken into consideration) only cash savings of over £65k count. In the case of many hard working British expats wanting to return to the UK with their non EU families due to currency fluctuations they simply cannot earn enough to return to the UK if they wanted to come home to care for their elderly parents or give their parents time with their grandchildren.

    The Coalition Governments new arbitury financial earnings figure for Spousal and family Sponsorship which far exceeds the current minimum wage and does not take into consideration the rights of women who statistically earn less and has been proven not to give exception to expectant or new mothers who may be the sponsors of their non EU Spouses and cannot earn a salary as high as this during their pregnancy. Under the inflexible new rules everyone is a target, there are no exemptions and thus no respect for the Human Rights of born and bred British people who happen to meet their wives or husbands in a non-European Union Country such as USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina...the list goes on.

    It has been acknowledged that the Home Office has introduced Immigration rules so tight that they practically ban over 47% of born and bred UK citizens from marrying and living in Great Britain and Northern Ireland with a partner of their choice. Undermining the whole concept of the sancitiy of Marriage, the vow for richer for poorer and potentially denying the British public basic human rights if they dare to marry a partner and to have children outside the EU.

    The harsh reality under the new Spousal Visa rules are if you not earning the arbitury £18,600 minimum salary you cannot bring a non EU Spouse into the UK even if you own your own house and have assets here in the UK. Assets are not taken into consideration. The harsh new criteria including the requirement to sit two tough English tests (one at HNC level) was introduced and heart welcomed by Theresa May, Home Secretary and Mark Harper, Immigration Minister and sanctioned by Prime Minister David Cameron.

    Until July 2012 the previous spousal visa requirement gave Husbands, Wives and Families of British Citizens the Human Right of the Right to a family life and a marriage to a person of their choice in the country of their origin, i.e. the UK. For those who could prove that their marriage was genuine and sustaining. The Visa was issued for two and a half years, cost a couple of hundred pounds and after this the family member or spouse could then apply for settlement. The new requirements virtually insist that the British Sponsor must earn a figure way above the minimum wage for a temporary probationary period of 5 years....doubling the amount of time it takes to be allowed the security and peace of mind of settlement and citizenship. Putting immense strain and worry on relationships and families.

    The travesty of the new immigration situation in the UK is exposed if you look at the rights offered the super-rich with assets of £10 million pounds to invest in property or business in the UK for the right to obtain British Citizenship/Passport is automatically offered after only 2 years of living in the UK.

    Whilst the innocent victims of the high profile media campaign against all immigration and the government tabloid pleasing rules are the normal hard working British Men, women and their families who now no longer have the automatic right to live in the country of origin and birth with their families.

    If the figure of £18,600 is shocking enough to most people living in rural parts of the UK. Then situation is much worse if a British Sponsor who has two children and a wife and has lived in a country such as Japan where dual citizenship is not available for babies born to UK and Japanese native parent. The figure for sponsorship is an arbitury figure of £27,000 which has to be earned as a salary for over 6 months before the British Citizen can apply for a Spouse and Family Visa. Which can then take up to 6 months to be processed. Fluctuation of currency markets can destroy peoples hopes of reuinting their families when an inflexible figure is introduced to family re-unification visa policy.

    Anyone who has recently had a baby in their family will know how fast they grow up ....Imagine being a father, who never got the chance to support your pregnant wife, was banned from being in the country to see the birth of your baby and never saw him/her develop for the first years of their lives. Therefore consider the following scenario and ask yourself this question.....Is this the kind of thing you thought would ever happen to British Born and bred Men and Women? Imagine if this was your daughter or son? If you had a well-educated son travelled on a gap year in Australia and meets his future wife out this the way you want the foundation of your Son's future marriage to end up? With his wife trapped in Australia giving birth alone without her husband because he is a recent graduate on an unpaid internship, who is yet to find a job that pays a figure set by our unrealistic, over paid, over expensed politicians? The potential scenarios of how these cruel rules are affecting British people of all ages are too numerous to mention. But there is now a new charity working to repeal the inhumane new rules the campaign website is: On the site you can read hundreds of the real and distressing stories that illustrate the urgent need for the government to scrap the Spousal Visa rules it brought in last year.

    Arch Bishop Nichols is sincere and highly enlightened man of the people as well as of the Church and the Catholic Faith. He is a fine example of a leader who cares about his role in the community of England and Wales as well as the UK as a whole. I very much hope that other men of the Church will follow his lead and stand up to protect the sanctity of marriage and to fight for the the Human Rights of Married British people and their non EU families.

    Thankyou/Salamat and God Bless you Arch Bishop Vincent Nichols.

    From my husband and I

  • Dr. Tony McCaffry
    Posted 16th December 2013 at 5:29pm

    Thank you for championing this most important matter at this very family-focussed season. It is refreshing to see the RC Church looking beyond its 'own' to the poor who need support, whoever and wherever they are. It is encouraging to have this caring critique of a political issue in our own country - and as headline news. Thank you for helping people see the 'good news' as very much incarnate! Happy Christmas!

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