2024 Election Manifestos On UK Family and General Migration

As the 4th of July 2024 UK General Election approaches, people are keen to know what changes to UK Immigration the parties will bring, especially to spouse/partner visa requirements, which impact families where one partner is from outside the UK. The minimum income requirement (MIR) for British citizens or residents to bring their non-British partner to the UK has recently been increased to £29,000, with the Conservative Party planning to raise it further to £38,700 by Spring 2025. This has implications for a significant number of British workers. Additionally, visa fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) have substantially increased.

Snap Shot of Party Positions on the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) for spouse/partner visas

The Conservatives: Their Manifesto plans to increase the MIR to £38,700 and then adjust it for inflation. The manifesto also mentions continuing to increase visa fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge. Additionally, there is a provision for a ‘legally binding’ immigration cap that will affect family migrants.

Labour: Their Manifesto does not mention the MIR but pledges to reduce net migration. However, Labour has expressed their intention to ask the Migration Advisory Committee to review the MIR level.

The Green Party Manifesto: commits to removing the income requirements from all applications, including spouse and partner visas.

The Liberal Democrats: Pledge to reverse the increase to the MIR.

Plaid Cymru: Oppose increases to the MIR.

The SNP: Their Manifesto does not mention the MIR but proposes devolving immigration powers to Scotland. Additionally, the 2023 Scottish Government proposals on immigration policy in an independent Scotland state that the MIR would be removed.

Reform UK: Do not refer to the MIR but advocates for freezing immigration unless deemed ‘essential’, such as for healthcare.

Both the Conservative and Reform UK manifestos express support for family, but also propose restrictions on British families’ rights to live together in the UK if one partner is subject to immigration control.

In summary, most of the 2024 manifestos contain pledges related to the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) for spouse/partner visas, with direct impacts on spouse/partner and family migration, as well as potential impacts on bi-national and migrant families.

General Immigration – Key points from Party Manifestos:

The party manifestos demonstrate distinct approaches to immigration and indicate the priorities of the main political parties. We have summarised the key points below:

Conservative Party: Focuses on tightening immigration policies, including raising the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) and other visa thresholds, increasing visa fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge, implementing a decreasing legal cap on migration, and removing the student discount for the health surcharge.

Labour Party: Aims to reduce net migration, reform the points-based system by aligning it with skills policy, and strengthen the Migration Advisory Committee, but does not mention the MIR.

Liberal Democrats: Advocates for more inclusive and streamlined immigration policies, such as reversing increased income thresholds, simplifying immigration rules, reducing child citizenship fees, granting automatic Settled Status to EU citizens, and ending child detention.

Reform UK: Proposes stringent controls, including freezing immigration except for essential sectors, barring student visa dependents, imposing residency requirements for benefits, deporting foreign criminals, and raising taxes on employers of foreign workers.

Scottish National Party (SNP): Seeks devolved powers for Scotland’s migration system to address local demographic and economic needs, with specific measures for Ukrainians.

Plaid Cymru: Opposes increases in visa thresholds and fees, advocates for abolishing restrictive conditions like ‘No Recourse to Public Funds,’ and supports family reunification initiatives.

Green Party: Proposes removing income requirements for visas, abolishing long settlement routes and immigration detention, allowing migrants to bring family members, and creating a separate Department of Migration.

Where the pendulum falls

Overall, the Conservative and Reform UK parties prioritise stricter immigration controls, Labour seeks balanced reforms with a focus on reducing net migration, and the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru, and Green Party advocate for more humane, inclusive, and fair immigration policies.

We hope the above points will be useful in assessing where the main parties stand on immigration issues.

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Cross Border Legal Solicitors Ltd is a UK law firm regulated under the Solicitor Regulations Authority. It is Headed by Mr Tito Mbariti, a UK Immigration and Human Rights Solicitor who is a practising lawyer and member of the Law Society of England and Wales.