Today in Parliament I asked the UK Government about the issue of ‘Skype families’ – including 15,000 UK children reduced to communicating with a parent by Skype because draconian immigration rules leave that parent stranded abroad. I’ve had too many constituents face this horrible situation. New income requirements introduced in 2012 mean that a parent in the UK has to earn more than £18,700 before an overseas partner can be allowed to join them. This rules out just under half of people living in Scotland.
Many families have been, and remain, shocked and frustrated by these unexpected limitations. They face months or years of coping with separation as their children grow up and are effectively forced by law into raising children stranded from either a mum or dad with only the telephone and Skype as a way of keeping in touch.
Unfortunately, the Minister for Immigration, Robert Goodwill MP, chose to avoid my question. Mr Goodwill’s response, or lack of, is simply not good enough for what is a very serious and distressing issue for many families in this country.