Dr Alexandra Innes, Researcher in International Politics at the Violence and Society Centre at City, University of London – Written evidence (FAM0084) 

             

My name is Dr Alexandria Innes. I am a researcher in International Politics and the Violence and Society Centre at City, University of London. I have been researching international migration for fourteen years and have published two books and several peer reviewed academic articles in this area.

My current research project deals with issues regarding family migration in particular reference to family violence, domestic violence and intimate partner violence.

This response addresses questions 3 and 9.

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?

The financial requirement reinforces existing inequalities in society. The gender pay gap means it is less likely that a woman will be able to sponsor a spouse (See Sumption and Vargas-Silva 2019). It is worth considering how this affects other and intersecting characteristics associated with income and wealth inequality, such as race and ethnicity, age, and profession (see Kofman 2019).

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?

Dependent statuses such as a spousal visa always include a power imbalance and it is common for immigration status to be used as a threat in abusive relationships. The no recourse to public funds stipulation extends dependency for the duration of status (normally five years).

The fear of immigration removal is often greater than the fear of abuse. This was initially evidenced in Kimberle Crenshaw’s seminal work (1991) and has been variously developed in academic research (Anitha 2010, 2011; Mirza 2016; Femi-Ajao 2018). People in insecure status are incentivised to avoid reporting abuse (Gail 2017; Bejinariu and Troshynski 2020). This actively makes people in insecure status more vulnerable to family violence and intimate partner violence. There is a lot of qualitative evidence produced by the specialised services sector in this area.

I am currently conducting a large qualitative survey of evidence gathered by migrant-serving organisations around these areas. I am happy to present the results of this in due course if this could be helpful.

September 2022

 

References

Anitha, S. (2010). "No recourse, no support: state policy and practice towards South Asian women facing domestic violence in the UK." British Journal Of Social Work 40: 462-479.

Anitha, S. (2011). "Legislating gender inequalities: The nature and patterns of domestic violence experienced by South Asian women with insecure immigration status in the United Kingdom." Violence Against Women 17(10): 1260-1285.

Bejinariu, A. and E. I. Troshynski (2020). ""They Threatened to Call Immigration": Challenges Faced by Civil Protection Order Applicants and Respondents." Race And Justice.

Crenshaw, Kimberle. 1991. ‘Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color’. Stanford Law Review 43 (6): 1241–99. https://doi.org/10.2307/1229039.

Femi-Ajao, O. (2018). "Intimate partner violence and abuse against Nigerian women resident in England, UK: A cross- sectional qualitative study." BMC Women's Health 18(1): 123.

Gail, D. R. (2017). "Domestic abuse and women with 'no recourse to public funds': the state's role in shaping and reinforcing coercive control." Families, Relationships and Societies: 201-217.

Kofman, E. (2018), Family Migration as a Class Matter. Int Migr, 56: 33-46. https://doi.org/10.1111/imig.12433

Mirza, N. (2016). "The UK government’s conflicting agendas and ‘harmful’ immigration policies: Shaping South Asian women’s experiences of abuse and ‘exit’." Critical Social Policy 36(4): 592-609.

Sumption, M., Vargas-Silva, C. Love Is Not all you Need: Income Requirement for Visa Sponsorship of Foreign Family Members. J Econ Race Policy 2, 62–76 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41996-018-0022-8