Immigrants from outside the European Union wishing to bring their spouses or relatives to Britain may have to sign a financial bond as a guarantee that they would be able to support themselves and would not be a “burden” on the state.
The amount of the financial guarantee could run into “thousands” of pounds.
The move is part of a proposed tougher immigration system signalled by Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday as part of the Conservative Party's election promise to reduce immigration from “hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands” by using every rule in the book.
Promising a system that “doesn't just sound tough, but is tough”, Mr. Cameron said the government wanted to prevent immigrants from claiming welfare benefits becoming a burden on the taxpayer.
“We need to make sure — for their sake as well as ours — that those who come through this route are genuinely coming for family reasons, that they can speak English, and that they have the resources they need to live here and make a contribution here — not just to scrape by, or worse, to subsist on benefit,” he said.
In what was billed as a “landmark” speech on immigration, Mr. Cameron indicated that the existing cap on economic migrants from outside Europe could be further lowered to make sure that only those who contributed to British economy could come in.
“If we take the steps set out today and deal with all the different avenues of migration, legal and illegal, then levels of immigration can return to where they were in the 1980s and 90s... a time when immigration was not a front rank political issue,” he said.
‘Reclaim our borders’
In remarks that prompted fears of “vigilantism'', he urged people to look out for suspected illegal immigrants and report them to police saying he wanted “everyone in the country'' to “reclaim our borders''.
“Together we will reclaim our borders and send illegal immigrants home,” he said pledging to crack down on “sham” marriages that allowed illegal immigrants to settle down in Britain.
Mr. Cameron also outlined plans to stop forced marriages describing them as “little more than slavery”.
The government would launch a consultation on declaring forced marriages a criminal offence.