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Written Question
Visas: Families
Monday 26th February 2024

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will make an assessment of the potential implications for his policies of Reunite Families UK's report entitled UK family migration rules: spouse / partner migration rules: an initial findings report examining the mental health impact of the rules on children and families, published on 18 December 2023.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

From 11 April 2024, we will raise the minimum income threshold for family visas to £29,000, that is the 25th percentile of earnings for jobs which are eligible for Skilled Worker visas. We will incrementally increase the threshold, moving to the 40th percentile (currently £34,500), and finally to the 50th percentile (currently £38,700, and the level at which the General Skilled Worker threshold is set) by early 2025. The dates of these changes will be set out in due course.

We have reviewed the Reunite Families Report published on 18 December 2023. We will add the findings to our evidence base when formulating future reviews into family immigration policies, including the Minimum Income Requirement.


Written Question
Visas: Married People
Monday 26th February 2024

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when he plans to announce the start date of the new minimum income threshold for spouse visas of £34,500.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

From 11 April 2024, we will raise the minimum income threshold for family visas to £29,000, that is the 25th percentile of earnings for jobs which are eligible for Skilled Worker visas. We will incrementally increase the threshold, moving to the 40th percentile (currently £34,500), and finally to the 50th percentile (currently £38,700, and the level at which the General Skilled Worker threshold is set) by early 2025. The dates of these changes will be set out in due course.

We have reviewed the Reunite Families Report published on 18 December 2023. We will add the findings to our evidence base when formulating future reviews into family immigration policies, including the Minimum Income Requirement.


Written Question
Visas: Graduates
Monday 26th February 2024

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the Migration Advisory Committee will begin work on the Graduate visa review.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The Migration Advisory Committee have not yet been commissioned to review the Graduate route.


Written Question
Asylum: Employment
Tuesday 13th February 2024

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of replacing the Shortage Occupation List with the Immigration Salary List on the number of asylum seekers who are eligible to work who are in employment.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The Home Secretary has commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to carry out a rapid review of the new Immigration Salary List (ISL) in time for its implementation in the Spring Immigration Rules. The MAC is due to report on 23 February, at which point the Government will consider its recommendations carefully. We will keep the list under regular review and the MAC will carry out a fuller review later in the year.

The introduction of the ISL will not undermine our policy that asylum claims by an individual applying for permission to work must still be outstanding for 12 months or more and any resulting changes to the policy will be announced in due course.


Written Question
Asylum: Employment
Friday 9th February 2024

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing an asylum right to work pilot on asylum seekers.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

Asylum seekers cannot work unless they have had their asylum claim outstanding for 12 months or more, through no fault of their own. Those who apply and are granted permission to work after 12 months are restricted to applying for jobs on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). This is based on expert advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee.

Our current policy approach on permission to work is longstanding and there are no plans to make changes, other than aligning it with the upcoming Immigration Salary List, which replaces the SOL. It is important that we distinguish between individuals who need protection and those seeking to work here who can apply for a work visa under the Immigration Rules. The Government has always been clear that asylum seekers do not need to make perilous journeys in order to seek employment in the UK.

Unrestricted access to employment could act as an incentive for more migrants to choose to come here illegally; leading to further dangerous journeys across the Channel and supporting the business model of evil people smugglers, rather than claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.


Written Question
Asylum: Employment
Monday 22nd January 2024

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research Discussion Paper No. 549 entitled The Economic and Social Impacts of Lifting Work Restrictions on People Seeking Asylum, published on 25 June 2023, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of allowing asylum seekers to work.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

Asylum seekers who have had their claim outstanding for 12 months or more, through no fault of their own, are allowed to work. Those permitted to work are restricted to jobs on the Shortage Occupation List. This is based on expert advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee.

We are aware that the National Institute of Economic and Social Research published analysis on 25 June 2023, which set out the estimated fiscal impact to the UK should there be a relaxation of the policy. It is the Home Office assessment that any analysis in this area is dependent on making assumptions from limited evidence and will therefore produce uncertain results.

Whilst we keep all policies under review, there are no immediate plans to change the existing policy. It is important that we distinguish between individuals who need protection and those seeking to work here who can apply for a work visa under the Immigration Rules. The Government has always been clear that asylum seekers do not need to make perilous journeys in order to seek employment in the UK. Those in need of protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety.

Unrestricted access to employment could act as an incentive for more migrants to choose to come here illegally; leading to further dangerous journeys across the Channel and supporting the business model of people smugglers, rather than claim asylum in the first safe country they reach. This could also undermine the legal routes for those seeking to work in the UK under the Points Based System. These routes include Skilled Worker, Global Talent, and Health and Care routes, which are supporting UK businesses to recruit workers with the skills and talent they need from around the world.


Written Question
Visas: Ukraine
Thursday 11th January 2024

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Answer of 27 March 2023 to Question168058 on Visas: Ukraine, whether he plans to make an announcement on the extension of visas under the (a) Homes for Ukraine scheme, (b) Ukrainian Family Scheme and (c) Ukraine Extension Scheme beyond the initial three-year period.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

We are mindful that permission will start to expire, for the first arrivals under our Ukrainian schemes, from March 2025, and their need for certainty beyond that point to help them to plan ahead, for example if remaining in the UK, entering into rental agreements and living here independently. As a result, we actively keep the Ukraine schemes under consistent review.

The UK Government stands with Ukraine and firmly believes that Ukraine will be safe again. When it’s safe to do so, Ukraine will need the repatriation of its citizens to help recover and rebuild their economy and infrastructure.


Written Question
Immigration: Personal Income
Wednesday 20th December 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his Department has sought legal advice on the compatibility of the planned increase to the minimum income requirement with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

Full legal advice has been sought on the compatibility of the proposed increase to the Minimum Income Requirement element of the family immigration rules with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as enshrined in domestic legislation in the Human Rights Act 1998.


Written Question
Immigration: Personal Savings
Monday 18th December 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if his Department will issue further guidance on how what level of savings will be required to meet the Minimum Income Requirement for those below the salary threshold.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The revised minimum income requirement (MIR) will be implemented in spring 2024

The Government will set out any transitional provisions associated with the increase in the MIR, and further policy details, in due course.

Any applications already submitted will be considered in line with the existing policy.


Written Question
Visas: Gaza
Tuesday 12th December 2023

Asked by: Deidre Brock (Scottish National Party - Edinburgh North and Leith)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will take steps to help ensure that the child dependants of UK residents who are in Gaza are able to apply for the UK visas to which they are entitled in the context of the closure of visa application centres.

Answered by Tom Pursglove - Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)

The UK Government is monitoring the situation in Israel and Gaza closely to ensure that it is able to respond appropriately.

British citizens and their foreign national dependants (spouse, unmarried/civil partner, child under 18), may come to the UK provided they have valid travel documents and existing permission to enter or remain in the UK; or are non-visa nationals.

Individuals including child dependents of UK residents who do not meet these criteria will have to make a visa application, and enrol their biometrics at a visa application centre(VAC) / biometric enrolment location in a nearby country. VACs in nearby countries are operating as normal but applicants should only travel if it is safe to do so.

Specific locations and operating hours can be found at the following website for UK Visa Application Centre | TLScontact (https://pos.tlscontact.com/default/palestine)