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Forced marriage research rejected


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I’ve created a new category on the visa age to keep track of the different posts I’ve written on this subject over the last couple of years.

The Home Office have provided further reasons for rejecting the research that found that increasing the spouse visa age would be harmful to victims of forced marriage. In fairness, I feel I ought to post them up. The reasons looks very weak to me, but you can judge for yourself.

The reasons certainly do not deal with the fact that all of the acknowledged experts and the actual survivors of forced marriage interviewed by the research team thought there were substantial risks in increasing the visa age. For example, it is said that:

Participants from some groups might perceive the study as instrumental in further restricting immigration and in potentially interfering with cultural practices around arranged marriages.

forced-marriageI can’t see how this applies to Bradford police, IND Croydon and Sheffield or the Forced Marriage Unit. Criticising the study for ‘only’ taking place in three study areas (Birmingham, Manchester and Tower Hamlets) is ridiculous, as is the alleged ‘sample bias’ to South Asian populations. It is widely thought that forced marriage is a particular problem in that community, but the researchers were very careful to look at the issue of forced marriage in other communities. See section 4 of the report on methodology:

In addition, so that information regarding the practice and perceptions of forced marriage from a wider range of communities might be obtained, 15 focus groups were carried out with 97 individuals (82 women and 15 men) from South Asian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, African, Irish and lesbian friendly communities, and including a range of religious communities: Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Muslim, with a minority of respondents identifying themselves as atheists or non believers. Ages ranged from 15 to 60 and participants were also from different social classes. Where respondents were not British, they had a variety of immigration statuses, including indefinite leave to remain, refugee, work permit, dependent visa and student visa.

The Home Office reasons are woefully unconvincing, as was the pathetic so-called statistical ‘research’ that was relied on to justify the measure. It genuinely disgusts me that ministers are willing to dress up deliberate immigration reduction measures as serving to protect victims of forced marriages when in fact good research and the government’s own experts show that the opposite is true.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


7 Responses

    1. DP
      Yes, saving the link to this story was a good idea.

      I laughed at the HO quote:
      “The minimum age someone can apply for a marriage visa has been raised from 18 to 21, but this has nothing to do with Mrs Wallis’ case.”

      How is it nothing to do with Mrs Wallis’ case?

      So what are the HO doing since they are not doing anything to help Mrs Wallis – oh no another consultation of UKBA fees. Yes Mr Woollas they are far too high.

  1. Is someone going to challenge this policy under the Human Rights Act or the Race Relations Act?

    It just seems a good idea as the policy discriminates against non British/EEA people wh don’t have to meet the 21yrs age requirement, it also seems that a higher court could find the policy to be contrary to the Human Rights act and use section 4 to declare it incompatible.

    1. “discriminates against non British/EEA people”

      I think you mean

      “discriminates against British/non-EEA people”

  2. OK, I’ve got an appeal before the AIT. Sponsor is 20, married to 26 year old (they went abroad and married). Been in relationship for nearly four years. He’s in UK on a visitor’s visa. They have been co-habiting since they got married a year ago. Have travelled together extensively. By all accounts a genuine love marriage. Documentary evidence of relationship very strong. No pressure from any parents, who are genuinely happy they have married.
    Any guidance from anyone?

  3. I argued a human rights appeal on this earlier this week but have to say I don’t hold out much hope of success at the initial appeal stage. The ideal challenge is a judicial review application in the Admin Court, as this is the forum for challenges to the rules themselves. However, this client couldn’t afford to pursue JR and we hope that an individual level challenge to a breach of the family’s human rights will ultimately succeed. There are all sorts of good proportionality arguments to run based on the posts and comments on this website, as well as some additional arguments on age discrimination, failure to conduct a proper race relations assessment and probably more. Baiai is also essential reading and provides some excellent ammunition, albeit in an Article 12 ECHR rather than Article 8 context.

  4. i think this law it totaly ridiculous!! I am an american citizen and my husband is british. I am 20 and will have to wait till next year to actually be with my husband. I cant beleive it honestly. How can they grant us to get married then we cant be together? i dont understand. they need to take this law away cause it only cause more heartbreak, pain and debt in many genuine relantionship that want to be together because they love each other..its like we are paying for a crime… ****can u please sign my petition to send to gordon brown*** many thanks!!!