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Minimum age for marriage visas to rise to 21

Minimum age for marriage visas to rise to 21

Only yesterday I was telling someone there is no timescale for the Home Office to introduce this controversial measure, but today it has been announced it will take effect from 27 November 2008.

The history is that a consultation was put out in 2007 about raising the minimum age of a sponsor for a marriage visa from 18 to 21 amongst other measures. The Home Office then put out their own response to the various consultation responses received, saying that they would go ahead with raising the minimum age but not giving any idea as to date. I wrote a post about it at the time.

Well, the date has been announced now, and not only that but both parties to the marriage have to be 21 before a visa will be issued.

This is purportedly to protect young people from exploitation and specifically to combat forced marriages. No explanation is given of how this measure achieves this aim, though, and in reality it looks a lot like an attempt to reduce the number of young British Asian men and women bringing in spouses from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. It is only a few years since the minimum age of the UK-based sponsor was 16, the same age as for consent to marriage. It is really hard to see the justification for raising it beyond 18. The effect may prove to be that a young person getting married to someone from the Indian sub-continent will now have to go and live there for a few years first, before their spouse is eligible for a visa.

Free Movement
The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.

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