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Posted on Mon 27 February 2017

Response to the Supreme Court backing income rules on foreign spouses of British

Dear Sir,

I am not a supporter of unlimited immigration and am aware that Britain cannot take everyone who wishes to live here.I am appalled, however, that the Supreme Court has upheld the Home Office’s decision to impose a means test on British citizens wishing to live with a non-EEA spouse in this country(Supreme Court backs income rules on foreign spouses,News,23 February).

Many fair-minded people will this as going against natural justice, freedom of choice and the right to family life.This is especially so as EEA citizens, under EU rules, can bring such spouses to live here without restriction.Surely, this must count as discrimination against British citizens in their own country!

The previous rule that foreign spouses should not have recourse to public funds for a period of time was fair both for the families concerned and for the taxpayer.Why is such a draconian rule now necessary? The answer seems to lie in the Home Office’s belief that the well-off are more likely to integrate.Apart from being a slur on poorer people, a walk down Oxford St will show, even the most casual observer, how far off the mark is such a claim.

Integration is not related to wealth but to education, employment, housing and citizenship policies.The poor have greater incentives to integrate unless they are prevented from doing so by extremist segregation feeding on misconceived policies of multiculturalism.It is these which need to be addressed rather than, yet again, targeting the poor British.

There is evidence that the Home Office is also operating a wealth check on those applying for visitors' or student visas.Social workers, teachers and clergy are routinely being refused visas for professional visits or research because they cannot demonstrate sufficient wealth to qualify.

Is Britain only to welcome the wealthy?Have the poor nothing to gain from and contribute to this country?I hope that the British people will show their legendary fair-mindedness by declaring a resounding ‘no’ to the Home Office’s meanness. In the meantime, I do hope that the petitioners will now take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Yours faithfully,

+Michael Nazir-Ali

This is the full text of the letter published in the Telegraph (22/02/2017).   

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