Good evening

It's with a heavy heart that I feel compelled to say the future looks bleak.  Why am I feeling so down?  Multiple reasons.  There's Brexit of course.  Then ADR.  And lastly, the Tory manifesto.  Give them an inch and they will chew up and spit out the world.

As you know the ADR hearing was a two day event earlier this month at the Court of Appeal.  The irrationality behind the rules seems so obvious, but it didn't appear so to the judges, in my view.  Our evidence and arguments were scrutinised, while the Home Office evidence, was taken as gospel - even when we went on record to say we thought their figures were wrong; that despite months and months of asking for clarification, our requests were met with, in effect, stony silence.  One of the judges appeared only concerned about the situation where the ADR had two children - one in the UK and one in the home country.  The child in the home country may well pretend, he said, to be estranged from the ADR, just so the UK child can sponsor the ADR.  I nearly screamed out but what if they're not pretending? What if the child in the UK is the only child?

I will write more about ADR soon.  The reason I am not going into detail now is because we have found out this this week that the judgment will be handed down on 24th May - next week.  That's painfully too soon for the judges to say anything radical.  My impression very much is the judges were thinking what is this case doing in our courtroom.

However.  And there are two howevers.  The MM case in Court of Appeal took over four months to hand down a judgment which was all three judges essentially saying that everything the Home Office was doing was fine and dandy.  So longer doesn't mean better, but too short I don't think can be too good either.

The second however is, if you read the MM case overview, I came out of the hearing feeling very optimistic - the judges totally seemed to 'get' that the rules were doing damage to families.  So I was wrong then.  Maybe, fingers toes everything crossed, I am wrong this time. All will be revealed next week.

What may save international families though, is how the general election goes.  Below we look at what the two major parties are saying on immigration, with extracts from their 2017 election manifestos.  I will cover the other parties in the next newsletter.


"Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union.  Britain's immigration system will change, but Labour will not scapegoat migrants nor blame them for economic failures." 

"We will end indefinite detentions and distinguish between migrant labour and family attachment and will continue to support the work of the Forced Marriage Unit.  We will replace income thresholds with a prohibition on recourse to public funds."

"A Labour government will immediately guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals living in Britain and secure reciprocal rights for UK citizens who have chosen to make their lives in  EU countries." 

So, the ending of free movement is terrible, but it's likely Labour trying to appeal to the Brexiters many of whom have in the past been loyal Labour voters, but may now be thinking only Tories will give them the UKIP-Brexit which will supposedly cure Britain of all its problems.  That they will immediately guarantee the rights of EU nationals is a good sign, and will send the right message to other EU nations too.

Abolishing of income thresholds is super (and yes about time from Labour - how very different to that mug from 2015!).  The prohibition on recourse to public funds is a bit whatever - spouses had, and still do have, no recourse to public funds.  Unless they mean for the prohibition to apply to the British citizen?!  At least Labour is committing to abolish these divisive rules.  Note there is no timeline given, nor an 'immediate'.  But Corbyn has been so against these rules I can't imagine Labour under him won't deliver on fairer family immigration rules.


"We will, therefore, continue to bear down on immigration from outside the European Union.  We will increase the earnings thresholds for people wishing to sponsor migrants for family visas.  We will toughen the visa requirements for students, to make sure that we maintain high standards.  We will expect students to leave the country at the end of their course unless they meet new, higher requirements that allow them to work in Britain after their studies have concluded."

Tories are thus proposing to INCREASE the earnings threshold for those who wish to sponsor their own spouse. $18,600 income and £62,500 cash is apparently not keeping out enough of those dreaded migrants; not forcing enough British citizens into exile; not dividing enough families; not subjecting enough children to a single-parent upbringing.

There is no figure given for what they will increase this to, nor yet any detail on changes they will make on the back of the Supreme Court judgment.  Again, we must wait - I hope we don't get the opportunity to see though.

I couldn't help but baulk at Tories claiming they 'want to help those who have been caring for a child or children for a number of years or supporting an elderly relative.' 

What Conservative policies are doing to kids and adult dependant relatives, and their family members, is so vile no words can communicate the depth to which this party has sunk.  But nothing is low enough for them apparently, as this manifesto shows.


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