"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Amjad_Malik
Full Name: Amjad Malik
User since: 15/Jun/2007
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Barrister Amjad Malik
I welcome that children who are born here in UK and have lived for over 7 years will be considered for settlement under children’s best interest criteria. The key test for remaining on a permanent basis is around the length of continuous residence of a child in the UK – which is set at 7 years is right as a period of 7 continuous years spent in the UK as a child will generally establish a sufficient level of integration for family and private life to exist such that removal would normally not be in the best interests of the child. A period of 7 years also echoes a previous policy (known as DP5/96) under which children who had accumulated 7 years’ continuous residence in the UK were not deported, which is still referenced by the Courts on occasion. It is welcoming that UKBA is keenly considering and following court anxiety that In a policy term, a period of less than 7 years as this would enable migrants who entered the UK on a temporary route  to qualify for settlement if they had brought children with them. These changes will surely will bring consistency and transparency to decision-making.
Another crucial change is that of 5 years ‘qualifying period’ for settlement for Brides and grooms from overseas. There is a double punishment for the Asian female victims of violence who suffers silently in UK. Firstly, they are already victims, and Home Office (UKBA) puts a further burden on them to prove their misfortune through mandatory caution, Conviction and or injunction against their British spouses if they are immigrants to stay in the country. And in pursuing that struggle for evidence, non availability of a legal aid is icing on the cake, as mindset is already against them because going to police , social services and courts for help is considered a kind of crime bringing dishonour to the family, though goal posts are changing slowly. UKBA has a vital role to play in creating an escape route for many battered women and children from bad relationships. Without free standing right to seek settlement in the event of a mishap, the woman cannot  afford to see a lawyer to seek redress, hence battered spouses will suffer in silence only to seek ‘permanency’ in their rights. Women who come in matrimony must be allowed to apply for settlement after 5 years with or without their spouses if they qualify as 5 years period is too long for dependency when domestic violence instances, and slavery like situation exists in taboo areas. Media exposed such instances recently (Nazia and Raziabanu) and representations to Home Secretary are pending on the subject.
During recession times, raising maintenance requirements for spouses for over 18,000 will create further hardships. Marriage as an institution must be respected and evil of ‘forced marriages’ must be rooted out but genuine and properly constituted marriages with fair consent must be promoted to value and strengthen social fabric of the society. Raising maintenance requirements will add further miseries and migrants living under meagre circumstances will struggle to get married at a right time in their own choice and groups here or abroad, and those with disabilities will suffer further. Money should not be the factor to drive & dictate marriage but it must be the devotion, love and affection. Every year, over  40,000 people come to the UK on marriages or spouse visas. The number of Pakistanis going to Pakistan to get married has been increasing as the community here retains strong ties back home due to ethnic, geographical, heritage and social links back home. Social net works and media has turned the world, and international community into a global village. Most of the spouses – men and women - from Pakistan come to the UK from Azad Kashmir, followed by spouses from the Punjab province and these changes will affect them the most and parliamentarians and NGO’s must keep a close watch and Lawyers at front foot to challenge where needed.
Restricting appeal rights for those cousins wishing to travel and tour England and meet their relatives will face unfair decision making process continuing to halt ,delay and ruin a fairly well thought plan to visiting relatives in UK during holidays. Even appeals take months to rectify poor decisions. Chief Inspector in the past indicated that due process sometimes lack in the decision making process and people wait for months for the decision to be overlooked or reversed by Immigration Tribunals. Without judicial scrutiny such decisions making process will never be improved or remedied if an individual decision is wrong. Appeal right provides a basic scrutiny where an executive is overwhelmed due to circumstances and influx of similar case studies to form a general view and carry on refusing at will. Thus such appeal rights is a safety valve and must remain, and people must fight for it. In this regards Keith Vaz MP from Leicester and others are doing a marvellous job to retain appeal rights as they know their constituents will suffer immensely.
I understand the logic of UKBA, that “family life must not be established here at the taxpayer’s expense” and further “To play a full part in British life, family migrants must be able to integrate – that means they must speak our language and pay their way. This is fair to applicants, but also fair to the public.” I am of the view that  ‘regularisation’ is the key to ‘justice’ and ‘fair play’, and ‘Amnesty’, not ‘enforced removal’ of those stuck in system for years is the way forward. I welcome seven years rule and Govt should have gone one step ahead by announcing a policy to bring people in the books than frightening them to remain under the carpet for as long as twenty years. To me 20 years time line akin to life sentence for migrants to seek settlement is very difficult, hard and complicated, and gives a wrong message. Those in the system for years should have been granted 5 years work visas to work, pay tax and legalise their status by proper regularisation. Changing the goal posts still will not help to address the issue of ‘backlog’.  
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