Forced Marriage Amendment to Immigration Rules

On the 9th February 2019, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration welcomed the publication of the government’s Integrated Communities Action Plan (ICPA); the forced marriage amendment.

The Action Plan, published by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), follows the launch of the Integrated Communities Strategy in March 2018, and outlines the work done by the government to bolster integration since then, and a timeline for actions to build on this progress.

The Action Plan is committed to carry out the following commitments.

  • “Consulting on including an explicit reference to forced marriage in the immigration rules to demonstrate that forced marriage is unacceptable in the UK”
  • The Home Secretary’s party conference announcement that the Life in the UK citizenship and settlement test will be revised “to give greater prominence to British values”
  • The toughening of the English language requirements for citizenship is “ongoing”. The Home Office is also “keeping under review the impact of English language requirements on visas”.
  • The government will be looking in to providing visa applicants with more information about life in the UK in advance, “so that those applying for a visa to come to the UK are aware of our values before they arrive”.
  • There were also talks discussed about giving migrants and refugees more information to help them integrate
  • It also aims to “improve co-ordination of existing services for refugees recognised after arrival in the UK so that initial support can be accessed more quickly”
  • There were also talks in general about ways in which to combat helping refugees find jobs. “Outcomes fund for refugee integration” will finish feasibility testing by May 2019

Regarding the forced marriage issue, the paper stipulates that the consultation on changing the Immigration Rules will be launched in early 2019. The Home Office is also to talk to judges to “examine whether anonymous evidence of forced marriage can be admissible as closed evidence in the appeals process”.