THE FATHER of a boy estranged from his American mother has slammed new immigration laws.

Guy Bailey, whose five-year-old son Vince has not seen his mother Stacey since April, said new policies on non-EU immigrants are tearing families apart.

Rules that came into force in July 2012 state anyone hoping to bring their non-EU spouse to the country must prove they earn at least £18,600 a year or £22,400 if they also wish to sponsor a child – with a further £2,400 being required for each additional child.

Mr and Mrs Bailey, who married in Saltburn in 2006, lived in the USA for four years before deciding they wanted to raise their son in the UK.

Mr Bailey, from Stockton, said: “We love the North-East and want him to have the same experience growing up as I had, with the coast and hills around him.”

Mr Bailey, who returned to England with his son in March, must now prove he can meet the financial target and complete a lengthy application process before his family can be reunited.

He said: “The figure is fixed, there is no discretion that can be applied.

“Where you live and the resulting disparity in incomes is not taken into account.

“The government cannot reduce immigrants from the EU so they are controlling non-EU this way.

“It will work, there will be less immigration in hard figures but the impact on families will be massive.

“It may be legal but it is not just.

“Stacey is missing out on a lot, Vince is growing bigger by the day and she is missing memories that cannot be replaced.”

As part of the application, Mrs Bailey – currently in Atlanta – must hand over her passport, meaning she cannot visit her family until the process, estimated to take at least three months, is complete.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Our family rules have been designed to make sure that those coming to the UK to join their spouse or partner will not become a burden on the taxpayer and will be well enough supported to integrate effectively.”

An inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration estimated 47 per cent of the UK working population would fail to meet the income level now required to sponsor a non-EU partner.