Immigration Reform

Mr David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford) (Con): If she will bring forward proposals to amend the immigration rules to prevent misuse of article 8 of the European convention on human rights. [108046]

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): By this summer, we will have in place new immigration rules, which will help to end abuse of article 8. The Government are considering responses to the public consultation on changes to the family migration rules carried out last year, and expect to announce the results shortly. This will include changes relating to article 8.

Mr Evennett: There is real concern in my constituency about appeals being lodged under article 8 allowing people to remain in the UK longer without leave to remain. Does my right hon. Friend agree that changes in article 8 will complement the Government’s changes to the family route of settlement policy, and will prevent further abuse of the system?

Mrs May: Yes. That is why the Government will be making changes in the family migration route along with their changes to article 8. Given that article 8 is about the right to a private and family life, the two are relevant to each other. What is crucial, however, is that article 8 is not an absolute right. It is qualified, and it allows the Government to operate a system under which people do not have an automatic right to stay here for the purposes of a family life. We want our courts to operate article 8 in the way in which it is written in the convention.

Home Office Questions, Monday 21 May.

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