The Tories’ latest visa hike could tear my family apart

Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz with her husband Medet

When my Turkish husband, Medet, and I first met in Istanbul in 2010, it never crossed my mind that we might not have a choice about where to live (Picture: Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz)

I’d just got home from a family trip to meet Santa at our local farm park in December when a colleague messaged me to say that James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, was making an announcement in the House of Commons about measures to reduce net migration.

Needless to say, it was not the Christmas gift I was expecting that day.

As an employee at Praxis – a human rights charity working with migrants experiencing destitution and homelessness – I had been expecting some sort of update from the Government ever since record levels of net migration made headlines in November.

But this didn’t mute the shock I felt when I tuned in to hear Cleverly reveal that the amount a household needs to make if one partner is a foreigner was going up. Not by a couple of grand, nor in line with inflation, but by more than £20,000 (from £18,600 to £38,700 by 2025).

So when I read about yet another Tory visa fee hike, it felt like Groundhog Day. 

In another desperate attempt to divert attention from failing public services, falling wages and the cost of living crisis, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is promising to raise visa fees again if the Conservatives are re-elected in July – this time to pay for 8,000 more police officers.

The UK already has some of the highest visa fees in the world – largely because the Home Office currently charges as much as four times what it costs them to process. Last year, fees went up by anywhere between 7% and 66%.

Another above-inflation increase would be a disaster for the people we support at Praxis. People are already forced to choose between saving for their fees and feeding their children.

All the new UK immigration changes

Migrant care workers no longer allowed to bring relatives

Minimum income for skilled worker visa hiked from £26,200 to £38,700

Salary level for family visa raised from £18,600 to £38,700

Reform of ‘shortage occupation’ rules

Reform ‘graduate route’ immigration rules

When my Turkish husband, Medet, and I first met in Istanbul in 2010, it never crossed my mind that we might not have a choice about where to live.

Like many people with the luxury of never previously dealing with the UK’s immigration system, it simply didn’t occur to me then that – as a British citizen – I might not have the right to make a life together with my husband in the country where I was born and raised.

We settled in Istanbul after we got married in 2014 and had two children, but a few years later – for a whole range of reasons – we began to think about moving to the UK.

The application for my husband’s first spouse visa in 2021 was eye-wateringly expensive, but we were lucky. We had the money to shell …read more

Source:: Metro


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