HC Deb 09 July 1979 vol 970 cc7-8W
Mr. Marlow

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of wives an immigrant is allowed to bring into the United Kingdom for settlement.

Mr. Raison

The immigration rules provide for the admission for settlement of the wife of a man settled in the United Kingdom. A wife's entitlement stems from a marriage which is valid under the law of this country. Ultimately only a court can decide whether a marriage which has taken place overseas is valid in United Kingdom law but I understand that a marriage will be recognised as valid, even if polygamous, provided that it was one that each of the parties had the capacity to contract under the law of his or her domicile and was valid under the law of the country where it was contracted. A man acquiring a domicile of choice in the United Kingdom loses the capacity to contract a polygamous marriage overseas which would be valid in United Kingdom law. Thus the number of wives one man may sponsor depends on the validity of the marriages in United Kingdom law in each case. Also, except in the case of Commonwealth citizens settled here on 1 January 1973, the man must be able and willing to provide support and accommodation.