Pakistan Wedding Rush to Beat New UK Visa Laws

Rob Crilly, Telegraph (London), July 15, 2012

In the first week of July, wedding halls, English classes and immigration consultants said they had all seen a surge in people preparing for new lives in the UK.

They were trying to beat rules which came into force on July 9 setting a minimum income of £18,600 a year for anyone hoping to bring a foreign spouse into the country from outside Europe – an increase of about £5000 for most applicants.

The spike in applications has seen visa processing times double in some cases – from 12 to 24 weeks – as the UK Border Agency struggles to cope with the numbers, according to its website.

Nowhere has seen more intense activity than Mirpur, a Kashmiri town which supplied hundreds of thousands of migrants to work in the UK during the 1960s.

Zahra, who asked that her name be changed for fear it might prejudice her visa application, said her family had no choice but to bring wedding plans forward from the autumn.

“My parents wanted me to marry a good man in Manchester with a good job but even he doesn’t earn enough,” she said.

“We knew these rules were coming so we had to get organised. It meant getting married in the heat of summer but it will be worth it if it means I can move to England.”

Arshad Hussein Shah said his eight wedding halls had seen a 75 per cent increase in activity in the month leading up to July 9.

“These were mostly couples who said they wanted to get married in time to be able to go to UK,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

The Office of National Statistics says net migration to the UK is at a record high of 250,000 people each year, a figure ministers have promised to cut to below 100,00 by the next election.

From October next year, applicants from outside the European Economic Area will also have to pass a “life in the UK” test and present an English language qualification.

Prominent British Pakistanis have spoken out about the new rules, complaining they will disrupt life for families split between the two countries.

More than a million people of Pakistani origin already live in the UK.

Sohail Sajid, a lawyer and immigration consultant in Islamabad, said many Britons with roots in Pakistan were finding their intended husbands and wives would struggle with the new language and salary requirements.

“They felt it has become next to impossible,” he said. “People are very concerned about this.”

The squeeze will be felt in many towns in the region and in Kashmir, where entire generations upped and left for a better life in the UK. Many family homes in towns such as Mirpur are built with wage packets sent from the UK and shops even display prices in Sterling.

Ali Raza, managing director of the UK College of English Language, said 35 students had enrolled for courses in June – 50 per cent more than usual.

“Everybody wanted to complete a quick English course and obtain certificates to file immigration papers,” he said.

Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • loyalwhitebriton

    “They felt it has become next to impossible”
    Not good enough. It should be actually impossible!
    “People are very concerned about this”
    Good. Let them be so concerned that they stay home!

    I can’t help thinking, though, that they will find some way around this.
    Afterall, that’s what “Human Rights” legislation was designed for.  

  • Non Whites cannot escape their non white brothers fast enough to go live in the RACIST white land of milk and honey!

  • This is a good thing. This will prevent new immigrants from becoming a public charge upon moving to the UK.

  • “Arshad Hussein Shah said his eight wedding halls had seen a 75 per cent increase in activity in the month leading up to July 9.”

    Arshad Hussein Shah does not belong in the UK period! In any event I wonder if welfare counts towards the new minimum of £18,600?

  • KenelmDigby

    One of the first things the Labour Party did on assuming office in 1997 was to relax immigration restrictions against Pakistanis importing spouses.

  • JackKrak

    How can Britain de facto allow arranged marriages for Pakistanis and, presumably, Indians?

    Something tells me two native white British families that worked out an arrangement for their children would be in some sort of trouble.

  • It’s funny how it works out. When it is in their or the establishments interests, they are Pakistanis or Asians – or, in different situations when they are being challenged or pointed out as being a negative element, they magically become English, British, and just the same as everybody else! We indigenous have only one card to play though.

    A “British Pakistani” is a kind of contradiction in terms, but it suits me. They are indeed Pakistani, not English, Welsh or Scottish. That cannot change.  They know who they are, we know who they are, and long may it continue that way so that in the future there is less of a quibble when they are all being deported back to Mirpur.

    (Well, we can dream, can’t we?!)

  • David Ashton

    The Trojan Horse had nothing on this.  Not the first time “beating the ban” has gone along with “dodging the ban” in the one-way traffic from South Asia into North Europe.
    For full facts, figures and comments, see the MigrationWatchUK website, though it is very tactful and its “solutions” could be strengthened.  

  • The reverse also happens. Men from Pakistan go home marry a woman, take the dowry and return to their new country and never apply for a spouse visa.

  • Hirene

    What a blunder on the part of the U.K.  They thought they could win friends and influence people in the Muslim world if they let masses of them come into their country.  It won’t work because there are 100,000,000 that will be disgruntled because they didn’t get in.