Our families are the bedrock of our communities and our society. They love us unconditionally, they support us, and they are there when everyone else has deserted us. The right to family life is enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, it is embedded in our nation's culture and political rhetoric, and it beats in the hearts of all those who are separated from the ones that they love.
We, the leaders of CITIZENS UK's Diaspora Caucus, call on all people who support the right to family life to oppose the UK government's latest changes to the immigration rules, that are due to take effect on 9th July 2012, and which will keep families apart.
In their last manifesto, the Conservative Party argued passionately that "strong families are the bedrock of a strong society... We will support families to stay together." Yet Conservative Home Secretary, Theresa May, is introducing these new immigration rules in great haste, to come into force by 9th July 2012. That will make it very much harder for families to be united in the UK.
The new rules mean:
- A person who would like to bring his wife and child to join him in the UK will need an income of at least £22,400;
- 67% of people who currently apply for their close family to join them in the UK do not earn enough to make this happen;
- There is one rule for the rich, another for hard-working people in diaspora communities who often work long hours in vital but low-paid jobs, and who need their family with them.
These new rules are being introduced by statutory instrument - this means they don't get properly debated in detail in Parliament and can be introduced without many people noticing until it is too late. We can only draw attention to it by telling people and by passing petitions like this to our communities.
CITIZENS UK will be seeking meetings with senior Conservative Ministers to explain how this new rule is consistent with their pledge to support families as 'the bedrock of a strong society'. When we go we would like to show them how many people support our call to protect our right to family life, so please sign this petition and send it on to as many people as possible.