I saw my hon. Friend’s question to the Prime Minister and it gave yet another horrendous example of the types of family these immigration rules are splitting apart.
Some 40% of the total population is not able to meet the financial threshold set out in the immigration rules, but that proportion is significantly higher for women, ethnic minorities and certain communities across the country. Every week we hear stories such as the one referred to by my hon. Friend. These rules are wicked, but this Bill will result in their application to hundreds of thousands more families in future. Some 500,000 UK citizens currently live here with an EU partner or spouse. That gives an idea of how many future relationships will be impacted in the years ahead. Rules for other families are just as outrageous. This Bill does not end these anti-family policies; it will destroy more families.
We put families with children on “no recourse to public funds” visas, increasing the risk of exploitation and cost-shunting on to overstretched local authorities. Again there is nothing in the Bill to fix that, but more people will end up with “no recourse to public funds” visas. The UK immigration system has become ludicrously complicated and is characterised by poor decision-making and massive expense and bureaucracy. Those who seek to challenge decisions so that they can access their rights struggle because appeal rights have been swept away, while legal aid has become a rarity in England and Wales. The Bill will leave even more people subject to poor Home Office decision-making but without the means or procedures to challenge that effectively.