Britain to review family immigration rules

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Britain is to review the application of EU human rights rules that allow immigrants to bring their families into the country, the Home Office said Sunday.

The review will look at how Britain deals with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees "the right to a family life".

Immigration is a sensitive topic in Britain, following a surge in the last decade, regularly featuring high in opinion polls of voter concerns.

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported the case of Peace Musabi who fled Burundi seeking asylum in Britain. She was given "indefinite leave to remain" after her files were lost and has now won permission to bring her three children into Britain under Article 8.

Her immigration status would not normally give her the right to bring dependants into Britain.

The Home Office said it did not believe her test case formed a precedent. A second similar case is currently in the courts.

"Article 8 does not give an absolute right to remain here. We will continue to remove those who break the rules and try to play the system," a Home Office spokesman said.

"We are going to consult on the family route shortly and look at what requirements we should place on foreign nationals who wish to establish a family life in the UK.

"This is part of a package of reforms we are putting in place to manage migration."

Prime Minister David Cameron's government took office in May 2010 vowing to sort out the giant backlog in asylum cases. He campaigned on returning net immigration figures to tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands.

In a keynote speech in April, Cameron said that Britain had seen its largest ever population influx under the Labour governments of premiers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Net immigration was at 2.2 million between 1997 and 2009.

He vowed to root out abuse of the system and get Britain's borders "under control" to take immigration off the agenda.

© 2011 AFP

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