Justin Welby wades into migrant row AGAIN as he blasts Rishi Sunak's plans


Justin Welby wades into migrant row AGAIN as he blasts Rishi Sunak's plans

Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 08/12/2023

- 18:41

Updated: 08/12/2023

- 19:00

He warned that there would be a 'cost to be paid' due to the new visa rules

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that new visa rules for migrants could negatively impact family relationships.

Justin Welby conceded that the Government should be “rightly concerned” about legal migration, however he cautioned that there would be a “cost to be paid” as a result.

He warned that tougher entrance requirements would mean many families would be unable to live together.

Under new plans which were unveiled earlier this week, Brits who want to bring a foreign family member to live in the UK, must earn at least £38,700.

WATCH NOW: Rishi Sunak unveils his immigration plans

The Government said that the new figure, which was previously at £18,600, “reinforces that all those who want to work and live here must be able to support themselves”.

Overseas health and care workers will also be prevented from bringing their dependants to the UK.

The top Anglican cleric stressed the importance of families to society, stating that the Government “must not set a series of hurdles for them to jump over”.

Net migration hit a record 745,000 in 2022, although it is estimated to have fallen to 672,000 in the year to June 2023.


Rishi SunakRishi Sunak at an immigration raid in HarrowPA

Welby informed the House of Lords on how the Government can promote the “flourishing” of families in light of the new legislation.

He said: “The first is ensuring that whenever a policy is created, in any Government department, its impact on families and households is considered and acted upon.

“Does it enable the bonds of love within the family and the household to flourish? Does it support and strengthen relationships?

“This week we hear that many people in this country will be prevented from living together with their spouse, child or children … as a result of a big increase in the minimum income requirement for family visas.

“The Government is rightly concerned with bringing down the legal migration figures and I’m not, you’ll be relieved to know, going into the politics of that.

Rishi Sunak

The migrant visa plans have received criticism from both Labour and Conservative MPs


“But there is a cost to be paid in terms of the negative impact this will have on married and family relationships for those who live and work and contribute to our life together, particularly in social care.”

His comments came during the annual debate he leads in the House of Lords, with this year's topic being Love Matters, The Report Of The Archbishops' Commission On Families and Households.

The migrant visa plans have received criticism from both Labour and Conservative MPs.

Former Tory minister Gavin Barwell said: “It is both morally wrong and unconservative to say that only the wealthiest can fall in love, marry someone and then bring them to the UK.”

Tory MP Alicia Kearns said: “It risks being very unconservative," she said, adding that the Conservatives were "the party of family".

A spokesman for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “It looks like it would punish those who fall in love with someone from another country if they don't earn almost £40,000 a year.”

No 10 later clarified that the £38,700 was for a “household as a whole”.

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