Theresa May, Home Secretary, Britain
Theresa May plans to implement a number of new criteria to reduce the number of immigrants to Britain, claimed a leaked cabinet letter published by the Sunday Telegraph. Reuters

Home secretary Theresa May is proposing a major change in immigration rules by raising the income ceiling for those who plans to bring their spouses and children to the UK, according to a leaked cabinet letter published by the Sunday Telegraph.

The letter dated 14 March was sent to Nick Clegg who is the chairman of the Cabinet's home affairs subcommittee.

According to the leaked information, May is planning to raise the minimum income to £25,700 a year to anyone who seeks to bring in their spouse, partner or dependent from the non EU countries to Britain.

At present, the minimum income requirement is £13,700 and the home secretary is planning to seek the implementation of the proposal from June.

"The package which I propose to implement from June 2012 will reduce the burdens on the taxpayer, promote integration and tackle abuse," the Sunday Telegraph reported quoting May as explaining in the letter.

"In particular I propose a minimum income threshold of £25,700 for a British citizen or person settled in the UK to sponsor the settlement of a spouse or partner of non-EEA (European Economic Area) nationality," she continued in the letter.

Other proposals outlined in the communication from May to Nick Clegg also include five year probationary period for applying to permanent residency, minimum income up to £62,600 to bring children and high level of English proficiency.

The proposals are meant to cut the net immigration to 100,000 a year. In the past year, till June 2011, the net arrivals in Britain were 250,000.

In the letter, the home secretary pointed out that nearly 48,900 visas were issued under the family route and majority of the immigrants were from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

However, it is yet to see how the Liberal Democrats, who have a softer line on immigration, take up the issue.