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During a recent live TV appearance, South Ribble MP Katherine Fletcher, a member of the Conservative Party, engaged in a contentious exchange with a member of the public over the government’s controversial new visa rules. The discussion revolved around the increased minimum income requirements for UK citizens to sponsor visas for their foreign partners, a move intended to curb legal migration numbers.

Fletcher faced criticism as concerns were raised about families potentially being split across two countries due to the stringent restrictions. In response to the worries expressed by UK citizen Sarah Douglas, who currently resides in Italy with her Italian husband and three children, Fletcher dismissed the concerns, suggesting that individuals facing visa challenges should consider retraining or finding new employment.

The government plans to raise the minimum income threshold for Britons sponsoring visas for their foreign partners from £18,600 to £29,000 in the coming spring, with another increase to £38,700 scheduled for January 2025. Presently, sponsors must earn an additional £3,800 annually for each child they wish to bring to the UK, reported Huffington Post UK.

Douglas, grappling with the implications of these changes, highlighted the challenges facing families like hers, emphasizing the difficulties presented by the higher income requirements. She expressed her unwillingness to subject her family to the hardship of choosing between sponsoring a spouse visa for her husband and leaving her children in Italy or moving to the UK with just her children.

Despite explaining that the income requirements exceed the average income for the area in Scotland she wishes to move to, making it an insurmountable hurdle for her family, Fletcher defended the government’s decision. She asserted the importance of ensuring that individuals coming to the country contribute rather than withdraw from the state and the system.

Fletcher suggested the situation presented an opportunity for retraining or finding alternative employment that meets the salary threshold, irrespective of the husband’s existing salary, which is not considered in the visa application.

The MP reiterated the broader objective of preventing the UK from being “put under pressure by people who are not contributing,” emphasizing the government’s stance on the matter. The exchange highlighted the ongoing debate and concerns surrounding the government’s immigration policy changes and their impact on families seeking to relocate to the UK.

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