Britain to raise marriage-visa age from Nov 27

November 5th, 2008 - 3:24 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 5 (IANS) The age at which someone can apply for a marriage visa to join their spouse in Britain will increase from 18 to 21 from the end of November, the government announced.From Nov 27 both parties in a marriage will have to be 21 before a marriage visa can be issued, the home ministry said Tuesday in what it described as part of efforts to crack down on forced marriage and on “those who attempt to abuse the marriage visa route”.

“It is important that we protect vulnerable young people and this measure will help avoid exploitation,” Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said.

The changes being made to the marriage visa route are part of a package of measures being brought in to deliver the biggest shake-up to Britain’s immigration and border security in 45 years.

The government also published Tuesday the details for Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points Based System beginning Nov 27.

Under these tiers - which cover skilled and temporary workers - employers will be held accountable for the migrant workers they bring into the country, with a new sponsorship scheme holding businesses responsible for those they employ.

“The points system means only the migrants with the skills Britain needs can come - and no more. It is also flexible, allowing us to raise or lower the bar according to the needs of business and taking population trends into account.

“Had the system been in place last year there would have been 12 percent fewer people coming in to work through the equivalent work permit route,” Woolas said.

Tier 2 will ensure that British jobseekers get the first shot at jobs and only those foreign workers will be allowed in to fill sectors where the government decides there is a shortage of labour.

Under tier 2 companies must pass a Resident Labour Market test by proving they cannot fill the post with a resident worker before they can bring in someone from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) region.

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