From J Jones : Thank you for your e-mail of 18 August to the Home Secretary and Immigration Minister about

changes to the Immigration Rules. As I am sure you will appreciate, Ministers receive a great deal of correspondence and are unable to reply to each e-mail individually. Your e-mail has been passed to the Direct Communications Unit and I have been asked to reply on their behalf.

I note your belief that the changes to the Immigration Rules were made without following proper Parliamentary procedure. This is not the case. On 11 June 2012 the Home Secretary announced to Parliament the changes that would be made to the Immigration Rules for non-European Economic Area nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK on the family migration route. The changes were laid before Parliament on 13 June 2013, using the correct Parliamentary procedure, and the changes came into effect on 9 July 2013. The changes to the Immigration Rules were debated in the House of Commons on 19 June 2012, on 14 March 2013 and on 19 June 2013. Debates on the family Immigration Rules were also held in the House of Lords on 23 October 2012 and 4 July 2013.

A further debate is scheduled in the House of Commons on 9 September 2013.

Yours sincerely,

J Jones


REF: T10689/13 Dear J Jones, Thank you for your reply to my email of 18th August and the information provided. I welcome the forthcoming debate to be held 9th September. I shall take a keen interest in the debate and its outcome. Please confirm that the dates in your email, 22nd August, are correct. I have every reason to believe that these rules were laid before Parliament on 13th June 2012 and came into effect 9th July 2012. Numerous families have been affected by these rules previous to your stated dates in 2013.

If I am right in my belief that the rules came into effect 9th July 2012, why were two debates, 14th March 2013 and 19th June 2013, subsequent to the rules being introduced? Why were they not held before the rules came into effect? Given these discrepancies in your response, and others to which I shall refer to shortly, you will forgive my copying into this email Mr Mark Harper, Mr Chris Bryant, Mrs Teresa May and Yvette Cooper in the hope that a more senior member of Parliament can provide a more satisfactory response. With regards your claim that the rules were bought in following the proper Parliamentary procedure I wish to raise a few concerns. In my initial email I referred to the findings of the APPG on migration’s findings that these rules affected British families disproportionately. In case you are not familiar with the report, it goes into some detail as to why these rules are, in many aspects, not socially equal. Rather than occupy your time further in repeating the report’s findings, I shall make the assumption that you have read the report and are aware of the various discriminatory aspects of the new rules.

I must draw your attention to my original email, that these rules did not follow the Democratic process, not the Parliamentary procedure as you wrote in your response. The difference is significant for the following, as defined by the Oxford dictionary of English; Democratic: “The practice or principals of social equality” Parliamentary: Adjective “enacted by, or suitable for a Parliament.” One is concerned with social equality; the other makes no reference to such values. The relevance of arguing this is important with regards the debate of 19th of June 2012. The motion, as announced by the Home Secretary, Teresa May, was: That this House supports the Government in recognising that the right to respect for family or private life in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights is a qualified right and agrees that the conditions for migrants to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their family or private life should be those contained in the Immigration Rules.

The motion clearly refers to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which is as follows:

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. 2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Please take particularly note of the second point in the Article in which it is stated that the Article applies to “democratic society”. As I have previously demonstrated in the definition of “democratic” it is concerned with social equality. It is on this point that I penned my original email that expressed my apprehension at the new immigration rules following the APPG on migration’s report that found discrimination against a variety of British people. If a recognized group has found the rules, after lengthy investigation, to not be socially equal then it stands to reason that they are not democratic.

I anticipate that you will now iterate the part of the article 8 that says:

“except… in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”.

I wish to know how you assert that non-EU family members jeopardise the “economic well-being of the country” when on receiving a Visa of entrance it is specifically stated on the visa stamped into the immigrant’s passport “No recourse to public funds”. Further to this, all sponsors of non-EU family are required to sign a “sponsorship undertaking” form (Form SU07/12) in which they agree to be financially responsible for their sponsored applicant. Given these measures the economic well being of the public is protected making the financial requirement of these rules arbitrary.

I am grateful to you in raising the issue of Parliamentary procedure as it lends to yet more reservations as to how the rules were introduced. As outlined on the Parliament webpage in the section for Legislative Reform Orders, which I believe applies to these rules, the following procedures are required:

Before a Minister may make a legislative reform order, he or she must take the following three steps: •consult widely with those affected by the proposals •lay before Parliament a draft order and explanatory document, and allow time for Parliamentary consideration •obtain Parliament’s sanction for making the order. Only once all these steps have been successfully completed may the order become law.

I argue that the first and second steps required to make an order become law, were not satisfactorily fulfilled. With regards the first step; after reading the scripts of the debate held 19th June 2012 it is apparent that prominent groups were not “consulted widely”. Dr Francis, Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, voiced his fears that Select Committees of the House had no been allowed to scrutinize the proposal; “Given the complexity of the changes and their number.” (Column 769 of Hansard). One would assume the Joint Committee on Human Rights would have been a pertinent group to consult given that the proposal directly sites the ECHR Article 8 and that they had voiced concerns.

As to the second step; I have previously written of my belief that the dates provided in your correspondents are not correct so I will assume my revised dates to be more accurate. The proposal was laid before Parliament 13th June 2012. Members of Parliament were allowed only three days to consider the proposed changes and their effects. The proposal was more than 40 pages of changes to immigration law and affected both criminals and law abiding British families. To consider the effects of such extensive changes over such a broad spectrum of immigrants would take some time and effort, even for an expert on immigration. I argue that members of Parliament were not allowed adequate time for consideration and contest your assertion that “the changes to the Immigration Rules were made following proper Parliamentary procedure.” As a British citizen I am appalled that a British government is responsible for undemocratic rules of immigration, particularly when those rules were proposed and introduced by a largely Conservative government that claims to champion the family. I fear that an error like this could become a highly undesirable legacy. However, errors occur; it is how they are rectified that is important and for this reason I request, once again, that these rules are reviewed and their serious defects amended so that ALL British citizens have social equality and can enjoy their right to a family life as intended by the Article 8 of the ECHR.

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