• Saturday, May 25, 2024
businessday logo


For lovers it’s Valentine but UK immigrant couples including Nigerians worry about plans

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s “heartless” decision to break up couples by making it harder for them to get a visa is facing a stern rebuke on the day couples around the world celebrate love.

It has also emerged that the cruel plan which targets immigrants from places like Nigeria, will face a fresh challenge in the UK parliament as well.

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, the Lib Dems UK’s third largest party have said they will introduce a “Cupid clause” bill designed to block plans to increase the income requirements.

Currently couples have to have a combined income of at least £18,600 a year to get a family visa. But the government has announced this will rise to £29,000 in the spring — with a view to ultimately increase the threshold even further to £38,700.

Read also: Japa: Nigerians in the UK trapped in cost of living crisis

Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael told HuffPost UK the party’s bill would block the change.

“On Valentine’s Day, couples should be enjoying their time together – not worrying about whether this heartless Conservative government will tear them apart,” he said.

“There is no evidence that these new rules will grow our economy, or help British businesses and the NHS recruit the workers they need.

“However, we do know that they will cause untold anxiety and heartbreak for countless couples.

Read also: UK new visa rules coming in weeks as Nigerian immigrants fret

Carmichael added: “If the Conservatives were serious about supporting families, they would back my bill and scrap these callous changes to the visa rules.”

The prime minister has said the move is designed to reduce immigration as it is “far too high”.

But it triggered an immediate backlash from opposition parties who warned it would mean many families where one partner was born abroad would no longer be able to live together in the UK.

The bill is set to receive its first reading in the Commons on February 19.

The £38,700 threshold is higher than the median average income for a full-time employee in the UK, which was £34,963 in April 2023.