§ Mr. Thurnham
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the effect on immigration of the new rules concerning maintenance and accommodation requirements.
§ Mr. Waddington
The immigration rules which came into force on 26 August strengthened and clarified the maintenance and accommodation requirements. Before a spouse or fiance(e) is admitted to this country, the entry clearance officer must be satisfied that the parties will be able to maintain themselves and their dependants adequately without recourse to public funds and that there will be adequate accommodation for the parties and their dependants without recourse to public funds in accommodation of their own or which they occupy128W themselves. For the purposes of the immigration rules, public funds means supplementary benefit, housing benefit, family income supplement and housing under the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977.
The requirements are designed to prevent the admission of those who have no realistic prospects of supporting themselves without substantial recourse to public funds. At a time of restraint on public expenditure and strain on the country's resources, it is right to prevent the admission of those who would with their families become a serious burden on the state. The object of the tests is not, however, just to add another immigration hurdle for genuine applicants. We cannot yet say what the impact in terms of numbers of these requirements will be.