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Dipankar De Sarkar, Hindustan Times
London, June 13, 2013
Indian professional are returning to India in order to look after their old parents who are not being allowed to join them in Britain by restrictive immigration laws, a group of MPs has reported. The MPs have severely criticised minimum earning requirements and other rules placed on Britons wishing to sponsor their family members currently based outside Europe, saying the rules were tearing families apart.

Under the rules, a British citizen who wants to bring in their spouse from India or any other country outside the 30-member European Economic Area (EEA) has to earn a minimum £18,600 a year. The requirement rises to £22,400 to sponsor a child, and £2,400 for every additional child.

Anyone wishing to bring an elderly parent or other relative will have to show that the person needs a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in Britain. “Some UK sponsors were now considering leaving the UK, or had already done so, in order to care for their elderly relative overseas,” said a report by the parliamentary group on migration.

A member of the medical profession in Scotland told the MPs that a number of his colleagues were re-considering their employment and were seeking to move their families (including British children) to India in order to look after elderly dependent relatives.

The number of entry clearance visas issued to those on the ‘family route’ as a whole fell from 44,585 to 37,470 in the year to March 2013, and the countries recording the largest fall were the US (-935), (-678) and India (-605). 

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our family rules have been designed to make sure that those coming to the UK to join their spouse or partner will not become a burden on the taxpayer and will be well enough supported to integrate effectively.”