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Call for Evidence

Family migration

The Justice and Home Affairs Committee is conducting an inquiry into family migration. Family migration is to be understood in the widest possible sense. It encompasses the processes of obtaining or renewing a visa as a relative of a UK citizen, of someone settled in the UK, or of someone on a possible route to settlement, regardless of the immigration pathway. It also extends to the impact migration policies have on familial and other care relationships within the UK and across borders, as well as the wider economic and societal impacts of family migration policies.

The Committee intends to consider migration policies in whole and, rather than focussing on specific immigration pathways in isolation, intends to investigate the differences between different pathways. It is interested to know about the wider trends in the design of family immigration pathways, how migration policies affect families, and how family migration policies affect society. The Committee will be interested to identify any emerging best practices or lessons learnt in how recent immigration pathways were designed, and how this affects families.

The Committee is also interested to hear about the emotional and educational impacts of family migration policies, including the experiences of unaccompanied children and of children interacting with a parent overseas via modern means of communication. The Committee also welcomes evidence about the economic and fiscal impacts of family migration policies, as well as their impact on charities and public services (e.g., schools, tribunals, social services) and on local authorities.

The Committee welcomes views on any of the following questions relating to the subject of the inquiry. There is no obligation to answer every question and the Committee recognises that respondents will not necessarily be interested in all the areas covered by the inquiry. Respondents are equally welcome to flag the importance of other issues related to the inquiry that are not covered in the questions below but which they think the Committee should consider in its work.

These questions predominantly relate to the UK context. The Committee, however, is interested in international comparisons and welcomes evidence on foreign family migration policies that could inform the Committee’s consideration of UK policies.

Written submissions are requested by 22 September 2022.

Design of family migration law

1. How does immigration law define a “family” and a “relative”? How have these definitions evolved over time? Are they consistent across immigration pathways? Do they reflect contemporary societal understandings of “family” and “relative”, in the UK and overseas?

2. Does immigration law apply to every family the same? Do different rules apply to different circumstances? Are rules applied consistently in similar circumstances? What are the justifications for discrepancies? How do “mainstream” immigration pathways compare with “bespoke” ones introduced in response to geopolitical and refugee crises and how do the bespoke pathways compare with each other?

3. Does the financial requirement for spouses and partners (also known as “minimum income requirement”) achieve its objectives? How could the requirement, and the process of demonstrating it is met, achieve them better? How could it be adapted to reflect changes in the economy and the labour market? Are there any unintended consequences for individuals and families?

How family migration policies affect society

4. What are the fiscal and economic impacts of family migration policies, for instance in respect of the labour market, recruitment, productivity, and innovation?

5. What is the impact of family migration policies on public services?

6. What is the impact of family migration policies on local authorities?

How migration policies affect families

7. In what circumstances may family immigration law and practice result in an extended (or indefinite) period of family separation or place families under stress in other ways? How could they be adapted to prevent or shorten periods of family separation or be more accommodating of the wellbeing of families?

8. How do family migration policies affect children separated from one or both of their parents (or other relative)? How do families separated by immigration law use modern means of communication, and what is the impact of this use?

9. How should family migration policies interact with the right to respect for family and private life and the best interests of the child? What can the immigration process learn from the family justice system and how could they best interact with one another?

10. How do family migration policies and their implementation affect the integration and participation in British society of (would-be) sponsors and their sponsored family members?

You should be careful not to comment on individual cases currently before a court of law or matters in respect of which court proceedings are imminent. If you anticipate such issues arising, you should discuss with the Clerk of the Committee how this might affect your submission.



ANNEX: Guidance for Submissions

Who can submit evidence?

This is a public call for evidence. Everyone is welcome to submit evidence. Please bring it to the attention of other groups and individuals who may have an interest in the Committee’s inquiry.

Diversity comes in many forms and hearing a range of different perspectives means that committees are better informed and can more effectively scrutinise public policy and legislation. Committees can undertake their role most effectively when they hear from a wide range of individuals, sectors or groups in society affected by a particular policy or piece of legislation. We encourage anyone with experience or expertise of an issue under investigation by a select committee to share their views with the Committee, with the full knowledge that their views have value and are welcome.

How can evidence be submitted?

Written evidence should be submitted online using the submission form. All submissions made through the online submission form will be acknowledged automatically by email. If you do not have access to a computer, you may submit a paper copy to:

Clerk to the Justice and Home Affairs CommitteeCommittee Office, House of Lords,London SW1A 0PW

Learn more

To find out more about how to submit written evidence and how the Committee will use your submission, please consult our list of How to guides. More specifically, you may want to consult our Guidance on giving evidence to a Select Committee of the House of Lords, which notably includes a privacy notice. You can also follow the progress of our inquiry on our website or by following us on Twitter (@LordsJHACom).

Substantive communications to the Committee about the inquiry should be addressed through the Clerk, whether or not they are intended to constitute formal evidence to the Committee. You can contact the Clerk at or at 020 7219 6099.

This call for written evidence has now closed.

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