John Harris

Journalist & Author

Britain’s latest immigration policy is a cruel veto on love | John Harris

Restricting UK entry by income splits families with non-EU members. After Brexit, Europeans will be caught in the net too

Picture the scene: a bar or restaurant in Paris, Madrid, Warsaw or Prague. At one of the tables is a couple – one person is British, one is not. They are newly married, and full of plans, but there is one snag. Up until now, they would have been able to settle together in the UK with minimum official fuss. But thanks to the government’s plans for Brexit, all that is about to change.

For the following part of the story, turn to page 66 of the Home Office’s immigration white paper, and its supremely unromantic description of what might happen next. “As a couple, they decide that they want to continue their family life in the UK,” it reads. “The EU citizen considers various work and study options to enter and remain in the UK in their own right, but chooses to enter as a dependent spouse/partner. The EU citizen makes an application with their British citizen partner acting as sponsor, subject to meeting the necessary criteria, including financial independence.”

Related: I’m an EU academic with the right to stay after Brexit. Why do I feel bereft?

As stories of delays and lost paperwork prove, the system is already dysfunctional, unreliable and full of unforeseen trapdoors

Related: Immigration is a force for good – and Labour must say so | Owen Jones

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