Please sign the Epetion to allow everybody the right to family life in the UK,(not just the rich)
Do you want to be remembered as a perpetrator of ethnic cleansing, or as someone who put a stop to
We are writing to you today concerning the Motion to Regret namely :’Baroness Smith of Basildon to
move that this House regrets that notwithstanding welcome but limited measures to ensure the deportation
of foreign criminals and tackle sham marriages, and notwithstanding the importance of greater protection
for the taxpayer, the Government have not demonstrated that the specific minimum annual income
requirement which has been introduced through the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 194)
is the most effective way to protect taxpayers and deliver fairness for UK citizens who wish their spouse or
partner to settle in the United Kingdom. ‘
We appreciate your support on this issue on behalf of a group affected by politicians with tunnel vision on
the immigration agenda, coming at the expense of British lives, the British economy and common sense,
not to mention the values we are passing on to the next generation.
Included with this letter is a sample of cases showing the heartbreaking stories of innocent, hardworking,
tax-paying British citizens affected by these inhumane rules that have clearly not been thought through and
are literally ruining people’s lives and are more likely to hinder rather than help the British economy.
- British women who cannot move overseas to be with their foreign partner because UK family law
prevents them from taking their family overseas; yet these new immigration laws prevent their partner
from joining them in the UK. These women face a choice of being with their children, or being with their
- British citizens working overseas earning far higher than the equivalent of £18,600 are now faced with a
choice of never returning to the UK or a minimum of 6-12 month family breakup.
- British citizens who fall in love with people from countries with similarly regressive laws, and who are
therefore prevented because of an arbitrary income requirement, from living in either of
their home countries!
- British citizens whose partner or parents live in a country where homosexuality is punishable by death
and therefore are faced with a life apart from their partner or the death penalty!! Why is it that while we are
progressing to make gay marriage legal, we are finding other ways to penalise someone because of their
- British citizens who are higher rate tax payers and would qualify under these rules to bring in a non EU
spouse and 20 of their non EU children, are prevented from bringing in an elderly parent living
alone on the other side of the world! If the rules show that a certain amount of money is enough for over
20 people, why isn’t this amount enough for ONE parent?
- British parents, whose children are forced out of the UK, are left with no one to look after them. We
know of an elderly British couple whose adult children (both British, both affected by these rules) who are
now facing a life without having their children to help them in their old age. Is the state committed to
caring for this couple to the same level as their children would? How dare the state break this family up
and condemn this couple to a life reliant on social workers rather than having their children around?
- British citizens in love with people from countries which the Foreign Office advises against travel to
e.g.Iraq. If it’s not safe for a Brit to travel to, is it really safe for them to move their entire families to? Is
this government prepared to be liable for the subsequent repercussions?
- British citizens, living outside London – who while not meeting this random income criterion, earn a
sufficient amount to have an above average quality of life, do not qualify for benefits, yet are not allowed
by this government to live with their loved ones. This highlights that a single income criterion overlooks
different income and expenditure levels across the country.
- Some British soldiers earn as little as £14k. These young Brits are given the responsibility to defend our
shores and our people, yet are not given basic rights. Their right to a family life is being threatened when
every day they are defending
our way of life.
- British students and ex-students who have fallen in love and wish to marry their non EU former
classmates. In a world where we are increasingly seeing the benefits of multiculturalism, how can we let
this government dictate who we can and cannot fall in love with?
- International students who do their British education proud by being employed in top UK firms and
government departments as higher rate tax payers – who have contributed heavily to make this country
better and now after nearly 20 years of being British and having made their life here, are being pushed out
of the country by virtue of being told that they cannot maintain their life in the UK and yet fulfil their duty
to their parents.
So what does this mean? Families are being broken up, couples are being torn apart, a generation
of children are being brought up by single parents – all reminiscent of
According to Oxford University’s Migration Observatory (
), these changes will mean that, of British taxpayers (and voters) in employment :
- 47% will not qualify to bring in a family member.
- 61% of women will not qualify to bring in a family member (showing the sexist nature of these rules).
- 51% of people in Wales will not qualify to bring in a family member.
- 48% of people in Scotland will not qualify to bring in a family member.
- 46% of English residents will not qualify to bring in a family member.
- 29% of Londoners will not qualify to bring in a family member.
So our request to you is this.
We need you to stand up for what is right. We need you to take action. We need you to speak up, and
focus on throw out these rules at every opportunity.
When you are sitting at home having dinner with your family, think of hard working law-abiding British
citizens, denied the same basic right – those of us who because of this government are unable to tuck our
children into bed and unable to spend valuable time with our parents which is crucial as they age.
We need you to stand up against these ill-thought-out rules, to stand up for what is right – we need you to
take action, speak up, and force these rules out.
Please. All we want is to be able to be with our families.
On behalf of BritCits
Enclosures: Case studies
“Aaron, a hard-working British citizen, is being pushed out of his
own country by his own government because he dared to fall in love,
have a baby with and marry a Japanese woman.”
British citizen, Aaron, met his Japanese partner, Kano in Bristol when she was here on a two-year working
holiday visa. They fell in love, she fell pregnant and they decided to get married. Aaron invested all his
time and energy in Bristol and is keen to make a life with his wife and child there. Bristol is where all his
friends live where his family lives. He wants a stable place, marking the height of his child as time passes.
Aaron and his wife don’t want to live in Britain for any sort of welfare benefits.
However, with these new rules he is unable to give his child the upbringing he so desires in his own
country, something which we all has British citizens have and should continue to have the right to.
Aaron’s child is also considered British. Therefore, in fact two Brits have had their basic rights eroded by
The right to be able to live with your partner without interference from the State for Aaron
The right to have both your parents looking after you, for his child.
Aaron earns just under the £18,600 mark. Combining his income with that which Kano would earn, they
more than satisfy £18,600. But Kano’s income is not allowed to be included highlighting a huge oversight
of the rules.
Not only is the £18,600 too high, not allowing for geographical differences and much higher than the
income criteria required to be excluded from qualifying for welfare benefits. It also shows the complete
ignorance on the value of the spouse’s income.
Even though in practice, both Aaron and Kano would work, earn a salary that would be taxed and relied
upon for their living expenses. Why then is the criterion just on Aaron’s income?
Aaron is being pushed out of his own country by his own government for no other reason than their
mission to achieve a poorly selected 100,000 immigration target.
“What if my 92 year old grandfather dies, not only without ever
having met my wife, but if she can’t even pay her last respects to
attend his funeral?!”
Andrew, a British national resident, has been living in Spain with his South African wife for the last four
years. They had a great ceremony on the beach and some members of his family from England who were
able to attend did, and all was good.
Despite being British and South African respectively, they did not encounter any problems with the
Spanish authorities issuing a family member spouse visa, and his wife is now a Spanish resident. She has a
residence card for 5 years which clearly states at the back “Family Member of EEA National”.
With this card they are free to travel around the whole of Europe. They can even enter the UK overseas
territory of Gibraltar. They just can’t enter the UK (the country of which Andrew is a national!) – and
where the rest of his family is.
EU law states under 2004/38/EC that any family member with an EU Issued residence card of more than 3
months does not require a visa to enter any other EU Member state. But the UK does not recognise the EU
issued residence card, and only recognises its own residence card. As such, in order for his wife to come
to the UK with Andrew, (even for a two week visit!) they have to apply for an EEA Family permit. And
thus the red tape and farce, begins.
In order to be able to have this family permit, Andrew has to prove that he is working in another EU
Member state. So if he was unemployed in Spain then it would be impossible for his wife to visit the UK
without attempting to obtain a regular visa at a cost of £250 for South African nationals. Fortunately he
does work, and as such able to provide such documentation.
The EU rules require that there is no prohibitive cost or process for the issuing of the EEA Family Permit
(indeed, it is essentially therefore required to be free) and the UK tries to circumvent this legal requirement
by referring to it as a visa.
They have had to fill out a 12 page form requesting financial details, relationship history, 10 year address
history etc. Then book an appointment at the British Consulate in Madrid – 500 miles away therefore
necessitating a 7 hour drive, hotel stay and therefore further expense. Given that the next available
appointment was 2 months’ time from filling in the visa application online – undue delay on top of the
expense as well!
Also they charge 15 euros to send the passport and documents back via DHL and it can take 3 weeks to
process an EEA Family permit, which is referred to as a “decision”.
This wouldn’t seem too bad if that was it, she was cleared to enter the UK now as much as required. But
no! With all this, Andrew’s wife can only enter the UK as long as Andrew is with travelling with her, and
the permit only lasts for 6 months. After this time, they have to go through the entire laborious process
They wanted to visit the UK in August. It is now nearing middle of October and they still haven’t received
the ‘decision’. They are determined to be able to go for Christmas especially as a lot of Andrew’s family
has not yet met his wife, including his grandfather, a 92 year old war veteran who is quite poorly and may
not be around for much longer.
There are nieces and nephews who want to meet their new auntie.
Andrew is keen to show his wife where he grew up, his home town, his school, and his friends. Perfectly
reasonable expectations and something that he never thought would prove to be so difficult in his own
home country when they were welcomed with open arms and administration in Spain.
The UKs policy and forcing them to apply for the EEA Family permit falls well outside of Free Movement
directives by the EU. So much so that the EU even challenged the UK to change these laws back in April
or face court. This UK government however seems to remain defiant and is willing to pay £millions in
fines using taxpayers money, rather than being a law-abiding government that has respect for its citizens
“My poor boys. First their mummy leaves them and now their
daddy. They don’t deserve this.”
Situation: Married for 6 years with 2 kids, to Molly. Doesn’t meet the income criteria, so having to
be a single parent. New job which would satisfy the income criteria means he is travelling a lot and
therefore unable to live with his kids. What does this mean? British husband apart from his wife and
children. British children being forced to live apart from their mummy and daddy.
Andy has been married for 6 years, and his wife (Chinese) and he have been patiently waiting for him to
find the golden £18,600 job so he can once again be reunited with his wife.
Bizarrely, this has proven to be extremely difficult, despite the fact that they have two (British) children
together, thus leaving Andy to – despite being in a happy marriage – acting as a single parent to their two
infant children in Somerset.
There are no words to convey the stress he has been under in trying to find a well-paid job to get reunite
During Molly’s last visit he wrote to his MP David Laws, asking if there was any way he could help
extend Molly’s stay, because Andy stood more chance of finding a high paying job if she was here looking
after the children. David did not contact Andy and so Molly returned to China, rather than overstaying her
2 weeks later he received a letter from Mark Harper, Minister for Immigration, in which he categorically
claims Molly attempted to deceive UKBA by visiting and that she should have been refused entry at the
border. This is because apparently she should have applied for a spouse visa rather than a visit visa,
however at that time Molly was genuinely only intending to visit and Andy innocently believed that they
This alleged “deception” means that Molly cannot apply to even
visit the UK again for 10 years even
though she has proven that she is not an overstayer. David Laws confirmed that Harper’s stamp of
deception would remain in Andy’s wife’s file even though this was only her second visit and her first one
was over 4 years ago!
Yesterday Andy finally received a formal job offer paying £22k rising to £24k after 3 months, which while
should qualify him to sponsor Molly, brings up location and the kids as a major issue.
Andy starts his job in late October and therefore, 6 months later on his eldest child’s 6
th birthday, the
intention is to apply for a spouse visa. By this time the family will have Christmas apart, be unable to
together celebrate their youngest son’s 4th birthday and Andy’s 40th.
The children have already stopped attempting to speak Chinese and it breaks Andy’s heart that his kids are
losing their heritage and memories are being created without their mother a part of them.
They all miss each other so much, but while there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel, the family
faces further heartbreak over the next six months.
Andy’s new job is based in Cornwall, 3 hours away from where he lives now, where the kids are settled in
school and playgroup. As his job requires a lot of travel, he would need to bring in a live-in child
carer. But he can’t cope with the thought of another woman (or man!) living with them in place of his
sweetheart and the children’s mummy – another woman the kids would be looking up to as a mum.
Taking everything into account they have decided that the boys should stay with their grandparents
temporarily, until a better solution can be found. While Andy will see them as many weekends as possible,
he won’t be able to spend the school holidays with them, read them a bedtime story, tuck them into bed, be
there to sooth away any nightmares.
If Molly was here, they’d all be moving to Cornwall together and would be a strong happy family, but
instead they’re being completely split up in situations reminiscent of Australia’s
He is tired and desperately sad, yet somehow finding the energy to stay strong.
“I miss my wife so so much!”
Below is a picture of Andy and his lovely family. What human being in their right mind would take break
up this family??
Andy’s family: wife, Molly, and their kids, Dylan and Devon.
“Are these the family values the government wants to promote?
Keeping parents and children/grandchildren apart..breaking up
husbands and wives?“
“It’s ridiculous that British people now have fewer rights than people
from other EU countries, in Britain!!!!”
Anne is the British mother of a British son who, by this government’s account, should not have fallen in
love, married and had a child with a lovely woman, because she happens to be American. Anne is also the
British wife and main carer of a British man who is disabled.
Anne recognises that as she gets older, she will need assistance from her son, for herself and her husband.
The new rules in place mean that her son is forced to live apart from his wife and daughter. They also
mean that she is not permitted to be with her son and daughter in law, and that she is kept apart from
spending time with her granddaughter. There is NOTHING right about this situation.
They are a proud, if not rich family.
They missed the wedding of their son to a woman who is now a much loved member of the family. While
it was painful missing her son’s wedding, financial and practical constraints due to Anne’s husband’s
disability meant they couldn’t travel. They do however expect that their son can live in his home country,
with his new family.
£18,600 is a lot of money for him and Anne, on top of daily expenses of living and the visa application
fees (we do not all have parliamentary salaries, plush expense policies and cushy pensions – Anne pays for
and travels in standard class).
Anne’s son has been saving money for a spouse visa, paying rent in the UK, while also maintaining and
paying for accommodation for his wife and child. Babies are expensive as anyone with a child will tell
you. Yet he managed for a long time. Until these rules came in.
The stress of being apart from his wife and child in itself is difficult, but the impact of rules which indicate
to him that he may never be with them were he to also be here for his parents, caused a meltdown, leading
to loss of job. So overall, a worse situation for everyone, her son, his wife, their granddaughter, Anne’s
husband, Anne and the entire extended family and community.
They now can’t even afford to fly to America to see the child unless friends and family help.
THESE ARE THE FAMILY VALUES YOU WANT US TO HAVE?
Meanwhile this whole situation is taking a very bad toll on everyone’s health. Anne is now on antidepressants
and blood pressure tablets. Their fifteen year old daughter is feeling the stress of the situation
- she can’t understand why she can’t see her little niece and sister in law. Their other daughter has their son
living with her as he has also lost his home so has no choice but to move in with family.
The government needs to realise there are real people affected by these changes not just government
statistics. The rules were already hard to meet in the first place, the fees of hundreds of £’s were already a
lot for the majority of people.
Anyone from the EU could move to UK with their spouse & kids without having to meet an income
criterion. Not only that, but they’d be able to bring in their parents, grandparents, in-laws, brothers, sisters
Yet British people, IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY are being torn apart from their families!!! What has this
government done to our country and why? Who will look after us as we get old? Who will look after us
when we have breakdowns? And who will answer the questions the next generation asks, as to why
discriminatory and racist policies were allowed to be in place, preventing them from getting to know their
father and grandparents?
“UK puts a price tag on love”
“I’m an American and my same-sex fiancée is British, living in the north east of England. We’ve been
together for nearly three years, and planned to marry this year, until we learned of the new rules.
My fiancée does not meet the threshold, nor is she likely to in the foreseeable future because the average
wages in northern England are lower than the rest of the country. Our only recourse, aside from winning
the lottery, is to try and save over £20,000 in cash that we can prove we won’t need to access – a figure
that Theresa May has come up with to make up for a £2,000 income deficit from the £18,600 per annum
My British partner cannot come to the US with me because the American government, which handles
immigration matters, does not recognise same sex unions, even if the partners were married in a state
where same sex marriage is legal and performed.
So, our lives are on hold, and we’re held in check by two countries with equally discriminatory laws. UK
puts a price tag on love, and America has a gender requirement. Since we have no idea when
we’ll finally be able to be together, the separation is slowing chipping away at our sanity and we struggle to
stay on track and not take out our combined frustrations on each other.”
“Damar served in the British army, defending British lives and the
British way of life, is now being kept apart from having a life with his
own wife and child.”
Damar is a Hong Kong-born British national, former Gurkha Soldier and now IT professional, and yet
another victim of this government’s new immigration rules impacting families.
Damar lives in Hampshire and his initial plan was to move to the UK with his wife and 10-year-old
daughter, both Filipino nationals, earlier this summer. The said law, however, prevented him from doing so,
forcing him to be apart from his family. A man who served in the British army, defending British lives and
the British way of life is now being kept apart from having a life with his own wife and child.
Damar and his family decided to build a future in Britain in response to the IT skills shortage and to
provide his daughter with a better education. Damar has a Bachelor of Science in Computing and
Networking (BScCN) and Master of Science in Information Technology (MScIT). With over 12 years of
IT work experience, and 9 years of exemplary military service before that in Brigade of Gurkhas, British
Army, he is confident that he will be a net contributor to the British economy and community.
Damar is, and has always been, an asset, not a burden, to the British government. It is clear that this
unacceptably harsh law will prevent many British citizens and those who have served in the British army,
from settling in the UK.
The pain of this separation from his wife and daughter is indescribable, and brings to fore the ignorance of
the Home Secretary – someone who doesn’t understand the impact of the rules she has brought in and the
devastation being wreaked.
This is not, despite the manifesto, a family friendly government, nor one with any morals or common sense.
The separation has taken its toll on the physical and psychological health of all of Damar’s family, with
insomnia and depression taking its toll on their health.
Damar is aware of British public’s frustration with immigration abuse and sham marriages, but the
Government has chosen to punish poorer and rural British citizens instead of genuinely targeting the
All are shocked that a British government has placed financial conditions on love, family, and human
Damar is being forced to maintain living expenses in UK and Hong Kong, two equally expensive places in
To sponsor his wife and daughter in UK, he has to find a job with the salary of £22,400 per annum.
The Government is claiming that the law is fair, pro-family, beneficial to the British economy (less burden
to the tax payers), reduces immigrant numbers by hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands, and it
upholds the principles of human rights. Complete farce.
If the Government considers that preventing one group of EU citizens –British citizens with non-EU
spouses – from coming to the UK will reduce immigrant numbers to its claimed level, the Government is
not only wrong in principle, but also in its estimated number claim.
Damar’s desire to live in the UK is not to sponge of welfare benefits, but to work and provide his family
with a better quality of life in the country he risked his life to defend.
This law is an attack on human rights (human right to family life), and the UK’s reputation as an advocate
of human rights and open and fair democracy is fast being eroded. It has closed its door to its own citizens;
it, however, has provided enough ground to be challenged in court, which it will, and more tax payers’
money will be drained away.
How do such rules safeguard taxpayers and the British economy as the Government has claimed?
“..We’re not asking for hand-outs, just the chance to live as a family
Gemma is a British Citizen living here in the UK, in Norfolk. She is 34 years of age, with an 8 year old
daughter from her first marriage. In May 2010 she met a lovely man who happened to be Tunisian, and
more than two years later, in June 2012, they got married in Tunisia.
They previously applied for him to come here for a 6 week visit in December 2011 and were refused entry
even though they have a guarantor (Gemma’s reasonably well off father) AND had savings to pay for the
visit. The reason for the refusal was that the UKBA felt he had not enough reason to return to his country
following the visit!
They subsequently decided to apply for a spouse visa following the marriage but missed the deadline of the
Gemma lives in a small town in Norfolk where a salary of £18,600, particularly in retail – the industry she
works in – is very difficult to obtain.
The language requirement is not an issue – her husband speaks fluent English and even has a TEFL
Gemma is a single mother and has been using her savings to visit her husband in Tunisia (last year she
managed 3 visits) because he can’t come here even for a visit!!
Like countless other families affected by these rules, Gemma spends most of her life on Skype and is
regretfully beginning to accept that she may never be able to be with her husband, because otherwise it
would mean keeping her daughter away from her dad.
She is at a loss, feels discriminated against by the British Government. Gemma is not asking for hand-outs,
just the chance to live as a family unit.
Gemma and hundreds like her are exactly the sort of people we and the UK politicians should be
“My parents are much older than my wife’s and we wanted to be
closer to them, so my wife, our son and I could see more of them and
can help them out in their old age. Not too much to ask is it?”
Jeremy lives in the Forest of Dean Constituency (in Gloucestershire) and his MP is Mark Harper, Minister
Jeremy’s wife is a US Citizen. They have been married for almost 5 years and have a 4 year old son who is
British. As Jeremy’s parents as much older than his wife’s they made the decision to relocate from the US
to the UK in order to be closer to Jeremy’s parents, spend time them with them, allow a bond to develop
between their son and his grandparents and afford his parents the respect they deserve by looking after
them in their old age.
All noble intentions and something the government should be encouraging. Instead, Jeremy and his family
are being penalised.
Jeremy used to work for the Foreign Office and was posted overseas as an Entry Clearance Officer. He
was based for two years at the British High Commission in Islamabad and a further two at the British
Deputy High Commission in Mumbai. So he had sound working knowledge of the immigration rules,
having processed thousands of visa applications himself.
However, not having worked in immigration for over two years, it was only when they came to look into
making an application for his wife, that Jeremy discovered how drastically the rules had changed.
Previously you had to demonstrate you could ‘adequately’ maintain and accommodate your spouse. It was a
common sense decision that the Entry Clearance officer could make themselves. Third party support (i.e.
from parents etc.) was perfectly acceptable; there was no statutory minimum income for the sponsor to
earn (although it was very loosely based on the income support amount for a couple over 18, which
is £111.45 a week). Also taken into account was the applicant’s ability to find employment in the UK and
ALL savings were admissible, not just those over £16,000.
The new rules take all powers of discretion away from the Entry Clearance Officer. If you don’t meet the
rules, you get refused. Simple as that.
Jeremy does not believe, in his extensive UK public sector service and immigration experience, that these
rules are lawful, or understood by politicians themselves.
Although Jeremy has had excellent jobs in the past, his American wife has a degree, has an MBA in
Finance, has worked as an investment banker and is currently a US Diplomat. I.e. extremely qualified and
not someone who is going to move countries for meagre welfare benefits. Clearly her chances of getting a
job in the UK, with these qualifications, are very good and indeed, she is exactly the kind of candidate we
should be seeking to attract. But that’s no longer taken into account.
So, Jeremy has moved here with their son, and is living with his parents in Gloucestershire. Meanwhile, his
wife is on her own in Washington DC. Jeremy is desperately trying to find a job that would make the
required £18,600 a year. That’s not a realistic amount to find easily in this area, so he is looking for work in
London. But faces the problem of who will look after his son and his elderly parents.
If his wife were here, then the duties to look after their child and his parents would be shared. The burden
would be halved, and the family would not be torn apart.
The ludicrous nature of this situation and the rule change, means that in theory Jeremy could earn the
required amount but likely end up spending a huge proportion of that on living in London and paying for
care for his family. Yet he could find a job paying around £15,000 a year, live with his parents, wife and
child and not have the carer expenses to pay for.
“What married couple wants to spend six to twelve months living in
Katie is a British citizen directly affected by the new immigration rules.
Katie moved to Cape Town, South Africa in February 2010 to be with her partner, Cliff, a South African
citizen. He visited England on three separate occasions but has never lived in the UK. They got married in
October 2010 in Cape Town after a 3 year relationship.
Katie’s father passed away in April 2012 after a long, hard battle against cancer. Katie and Cliff now feel it
is the right time to move permanently to the UK to be with her mother, who is living alone in Norfolk and
needs the support of her family.
Katie is a qualified primary school teacher with three years full-time experience. She is also a qualified
Health and Social Care worker, gaining an NVQ Level 3. Cliff has many years’ experience in the finance
sector and has just gained his degree in Business Administration. They both have skills and experience to
offer the UK.
Through their in-depth research and guidance from immigration consultants, they were shocked and
saddened by the new rules. They meet all of the criteria for a Settlement Visa; however believe the
financial requirements to be totally absurd and incredibly harsh. Katie already has an offer of employment
in the UK and as their intention is to live with my Mother for the interim, there is no need to rely on any
Katie has been working in Cape Town as an au-pair for the past two and a half years, earning a reasonable
salary. However, taking the fluctuating exchange rate into account and the fact that salaries are
considerably lower in South Africa then it has not been possible for her to meet the £18,600 gross annual
salary. She is aware of the need for savings to take care of the shortfall in the salary but the amounts of
money are totally absurd – how many people have tens of thousands of pounds lying around in cash that
they don’t need to rely on for five years!
Katie has been told by an immigration consultant that she, as her husband’s British sponsor must take full
financial responsibility, a situation which seems totally hopeless at this moment in time. She has also been
told that under the current rules, she will have to work for six or more months in the UK in order to earn
the required salary while her husband remains in South Africa.
What married couple wants to spend six to twelve months living in separate countries? Where is the logic
in these new changes!
Katie is livid that virtually overnight people are expected to have thousands and thousands of pounds in
savings if they do not meet the annual gross salary requirement.
These requirements are quite frankly ridiculous and will no doubt cause partners and families to break, if
they are forced to live separately!
“All I have left is hope that one day these rules will be made fairer,
so that I and so many others will have a chance at the family life we
so desperately want.”
Kelly is a 27 year old British woman and married to a man from Egypt.
They met in December 2009 while she was on holiday in Egypt, following which she spent a year
travelling to Egypt for weeks at a time to see him, and to meet and spend time with his family.
They got married in October 2010 and have just celebrated their 2 year anniversary, albeit sadly, not
together this time.
After they got married, they lived in Egypt, but it was a huge culture shock for Kelly despite her numerous
visits – there is a big difference between visiting and living. While they tried their best to make it a home
for her, she just couldn’t fit in with the lifestyle and culture there.
Soon after moving to Egypt she fell pregnant, although she was extremely happy and excited about
becoming a mum for the first time she couldn’t enjoy the pregnancy like she would have liked.
Kelly and her husband decided she would go back to England to have the baby and her husband applied for
a visit visa to be there for the birth, but unfortunately the visa was refused. At that point Kelly decided not
to return to the UK for the birth as she wanted her husband with her for the birth of their first child.
But in her seventh month of pregnancy she developed a DVT and was hospitalised in Egypt. For the her
and her child’s safety, Kelly and her husband decided it was better if she went to the UK, albeit without
him, for the birth to ensure she received the proper treatment in case there were any further complications.
Their son is now 3 and half months old and is yet to meet his father. It is a very hard situation to be in,
knowing that not only is her husband is missing out on their son’s life but that their son is missing out on
getting to know his father.
Kelly would like to return to be with my husband but is undergoing medical treatment, and is also cautious
about raising her son in a place that she hasn’t been able to adjust to.
With the current immigration rules though, she’s finding it virtually impossible to envisage a situation
where she, her husband and her baby could live together in the UK because a salary of £18,600 for her
may as well be £186,000 it is so difficult to attain.
It is really sad that this family is being torn apart because our government is putting a price on being a
family just because Kelly dared to fall in love with someone from outside the EU, and is now being forced
to either live as a single mother, without her husband or move to Egypt where she doesn’t want to live,
despite the fact that both Kelly and her son are British and therefore, effectively being kicked out of their
Kelly spends all day thinking of ways that they can be the happy family that she always wanted to have,
but is running out of options. All she has left is the hope that one day these rules will be made fairer, so
that she will have a chance at the family life she so desperately wants and should have a right to achieve.
“I haven’t seen my wife and son in nearly a year and my family in
Britain hasn’t met or held my son”
Kevin met his wife while travelling and they have been together for five years though were in no hurry to
move to the UK.
After being made redundant by his insurance company employer, they decided to live in Asia for a couple
of years. While in Hong Kong, they were blessed with a beautiful son.
As Kevin does not have a degree, finding a suitable job in Asia proved to be near impossible, but with a
child to look after it was imperative that Kevin have a good job and provide for his family.
So Kevin decided to return to the UK and six months later he obtained a permanent job with a basic salary
of £16k. Two months into this job however, the government brought in the minimum threshold meaning
that his target earnings would keep him way below the threshold.
With bonuses the £18,600 may be achievable, but given the volatile nature of sales, there may be the odd
month where he could not maintain the annual average required, which means that his wife’s visa
application would be rejected.
Kevin has been living apart from wife and near one year old son almost a year. He has missed his son’s
first Christmas; he will miss his first birthday, and will watch his son’s first steps on Skype rather than in
Kevin is close to a nervous breakdown and whenever he sees a family together with a toddler, his heart
sinks and he is unable to put aside everything he is missing out on.
Kevin’s wife’s family think Kevin has chosen to leave his wife and son in their home country rather than
bring her to the UK. This has brought shame on my wife’s family as well as embarrassment.
Kevin’s immediate British family has not met or held his son. His son does not know his British family.
The new rules are a prison sentence to Kevin and his family.
Even if Kevin were to find a job paying £18,600, the visa process deems that he wait six months before
applying for a spouse visa. This is far too long, especially when you have been living apart for a year
already. The Tory government are only showing how out of touch they are with the people of Britain today.
For the sake of everybody’s sanity, welfare and physical and mental health, these rules must be abolished
sooner rather than later.
I would never wish for my worst enemy to be in the situation I am in.
I feel like I am being told that I do not have the right to love who I
choose or start a family when I want to.”
Laura is a 25 year old UK national living in Scotland, married to a 28 year old Egyptian. They have been
together for three and a half years and married for two.
They have not been able to live together before now as they were both at university. Since finishing their
studies, Laura is working full time in a permanent position as a Veterinary Scientist on £18,100.
They have tried so hard to do everything stated on the UKBA website in order to be reunited and live
together as husband and wife.
They have saved all the money for the spouse visa, only to come across a hike in the fees. So then they
saved more. Laura has literally gone hungry some nights, and doesn’t go out, doesn’t shop for new clothes,
just to save all her money for visas and flights, while paying off student loans.
Laura’s husband, on the government introducing the English language requirement, sat and passed the
exam. They were so happy in thinking they had overcome the language hurdle.
Only to now find that the government has changed the requirements yet again.
It is incredibly frustrating that the income requirement is such that someone with a degree working as a vet
is still not able to meet the required income level; it’s shameful that Laura has had to take on a second job
working in Pizza Hut to reach the £18,600 level.
In Laura’s words; “I would never wish for my worst enemy to be in the situation I am in. I feel like I am
being told that I do not have the right to love who I choose or start a family when I want to. I am being
discriminated against for not having a well enough paid job and for not having approximately £20,000 in
cash. My life is on hold because of these changes.”
Laura is on anti-depressants to combat her feelings of suicide as a result of the frustration at each time,
thinking she has met the criteria to find that the goal posts have changed yet again.
How many people will actually have to sacrifice their life before this government realises the devastating
impact of these rules on British families?
“In the Conservative pre-election waffle Mr Cameron made a great
deal about his views on sanctity of marriage and family values.”
Lionel is British by birth and married his wife, Svetlana, a Russian, in May 2010. He has been trying to
have Svetlana join him in the UK, for two and a half years now.
Considering his financial situation when they married and the immigration rules at that time, had Lionel
applied immediately after marriage for a spouse visa for Svetlana, success was certain.
English Language – constantly changing requirements
Soon after their wedding Lionel was made redundant so they delayed the spouse application until he found
a new job, by which time the English requirement had been introduced. This in itself wasn’t a problem as
their intention always had been for Svetlana to take English lessons, and where better to learn English than
Despite the change in rules, his wife continued her lessons and took a test at “Expert Language Schools” in
Kaliningrad. They never even thought that it would need to be taken at an approved centre as this wasn’t
clearly indicated, and the so called immigration expert they took advice and assistance from, at
considerable expense, didn’t tell them about it until 1 hour before Svetlana was due at the visa centre in
Needless to say her visa was refused because her B1 certificate was not issued by an “approved centre”.
The only place in Kaliningrad that is approved to issue a certificate only supports the IELTS test. In March
2011 Lionel’s wife sat the exam following some tuition. Since her previous test her use of English has
been limited and she achieved an overall band score of 4.
At the time the UKBA website Approved Partner list stated that grade 4 was sufficient. However now the
new list states for IELTS the minimum is grade 4 in all disciplines and Svetlana while achieving grade 4 in
Listening obtained a grade 3 in speaking. The question for her speaking test was utterly ludicrous and was
of an academic nature dealing with politics.
As Svetlana indicates, she could not have answered the question adequately in her native language let
alone English and Lionel believes he may well have struggled to provide a suitable answer as well despite
being British born & bred!!
It was and still is the view held by Lionel that if a grade 4 is equivalent to level B1 then surely grade 3 is at
least level A2. His wife and he, because of this government are regularly forced to converse on Skype, in
English, and they communicate without any issues at all.
Svetlana is unable to study towards the English language requirements at present. She works 9:00am to
7:00pm every day only having Sundays off to earn a meagre £350 per month. English classes are not
available outside these times. Of course supporting 2 homes and visits to Russia has severely depleted
Lionel’s savings as well, giving UKBA yet another reason to refuse.
On a daily basis we meet non British, EU citizens who can barely understand a word of English, yet they
are permitted to freely enter and seek work, what about the need for integration with them?
Since the initial denial in early 2011 Lionel and his wife have been forced to have an online relationship
apart from the times he has visited her in Russia. The expense of the initial application and the fact that he
has since supported 2 homes, one in UK and one in Russia, along with the cost of visiting his wife in
Russia has resulted in his savings being severely depleted which would now result in a denial on the
grounds of insufficient funds to support her.
They are being denied the right to be a family because of this rule. Lionel is being discriminated against
because he dared to marry someone from outside the EU.
While they have explored other options, they are being blocked every step of the way. They considered a
family visit visa, where he would support his wife during her stay in the UK and enrol her on an English
language course. Then she would return to Russia and make another application but – and there’s always a
but – it is not permitted for Lionel’s wife to study while on a family visit or tourist visa.
Manifesto a farce
In the Conservative pre-election manifesto Mr Cameron made a great deal about his views on sanctity of
marriage and family values. This rule makes an absolute mockery of his views. It effectively prevents
people such as Lionel and Svetlana from living together as a family.
This rule is ludicrous; the majority of couples who are affected by this rule have every intention of learning
English and studying for The Knowledge of Life in The UK in order to apply for ILR. A better solution
would be to make enrolment on an English language course once in the UK a condition of the visa.
This couple has tried to do everything correctly; they considered the fact that Lionel was made redundant
and decided it would not be correct to make an application until he had secured employment. Now the
government has implemented a minimum gross income that fortunately Lionel can currently meet.
However with the future checks and the current economic climate there is no guarantee he will continue to
meet it in the future, for five years.
Family visit visa
They attempted to gain a family visit visa but were unsuccessful. Svetlana’s parents live in Russia and her
daughter (Lionel’s stepdaughter) is studying in Kiel University; the UKBA felt that this wasn’t sufficient
to guarantee that Svetlana would return home at the end of her visit and therefore refused her the right to
visit her husband.
As time goes by this couple’s only solution is to accept enforced exile and for Lionel to look for work in
another European country.
Yet another Brit being exiled from his country. This is what UK politicians have brought this country to.
“It is ludicrous and unlawful to put a price on anybody’s marriage
and love. We are human and deserve to be together with our loved
Lisa is a British citizen married to a Moroccan. She has children with her ex-spouse who is British. He has
put in place a Prohibited Steps Order whereby she cannot take her kids out of the UK. As Lisa does not
earn £18,600, her husband does not qualify for a spouse visa.
She is strongly opposed to these immigration rules and wants some justice – she should not have to choose
between her husband and children.
Lisa has to keep travelling back and forth to Morocco as a Prohibited Steps Order prevents her from taking
them her kids from UK. So she is left with no choice now, but to live two lives and split up her family.
Lisa demands that Theresa May be made to explain to innocent people here how she justifies such extreme
measures and insists that she will campaign until our basic rights as British citizens are given back to them.
Lisa’s only family are her kids and husband – her parents and brother passed away. What will happen to
Lisa 20 years down the line when her kids are living their own lives? The pressure on and guilt felt by
Lisa’s kids knowing their mother had to sacrifice her marriage for them would be insurmountable. Lisa
will have given up her youth and marriage with the man she loves, in order to be a good mother; or she
will have to give up being a good mother in order to be a good wife.
What kind of legacy is being left for Lisa’s family and hundreds like hers? All studies show kids are better
off in a two parent family. Common sense dictates that Lisa making sacrifices for her kids or for her
husband will not yield good results years down the line, for her own sanity or that for her family.
Why is this government putting us in the position where we are essentially faced with a choice that is no
choice at all, knowing that whatever decision is taken will leave lives destroyed with the ramifications felt
for years to come?
Gary & Lise
“If it is impossible for Gary and Lise, even as lawyers reading these
rules, to know whether Gary is required to have a job offer in the UK
starting within 3 months or not, what hope is there that a layperson
would be able to understand the rules?”
Gary, a British citizen is married to Lise, a South African human rights lawyer.
Gary studied in South Africa and works there, also as a lawyer. His parents, sister, and grandmother all
live in the UK and are British by birth. Both of his grandfathers fought for England in World War II.
Gary would like to move back to the UK with his wife but is not being allowed to do so by this
The couple was intending to return together to the UK as soon as he completed his LLM on shipping law
at the end of 2012. However, now they are stuck.
Their main concerns, which they would like to challenge the laws on, are the following:
1. At the entry level stage, only Gary’s income is taken into account. However, at the second phase,
namely where Lisa would be applying to have the visa extended, both the UK spouse and the foreign
spouse’s income are taken into account. There is no rational basis for this distinction. Why can they take
into account Lise’s salary for that part of the enquiry, but not the initial? Gary, a UK citizen, makes just
below the threshold amount. Lise however, makes just over the threshold amount. Together they earn
twice the threshold amount.
2. The authorities have indicated that the justification for the new rules is to ensure people do not enter
the UK in order to live off public benefits. Lise is a qualified lawyer who has four university degrees, one
from an internationally renowned institution in Switzerland. She has worked in New York at the UN, and
as a Law Clerk to the Chief Justice of South Africa, the highest court there. She owns real estate property
which she rents out at a profit. The assumption that she is going to come “live off benefits” in England is
On the contrary, if Lise could get a spousal visa she would most likely start working, paying taxes and
contributing significantly to the public purse immediately.
However, only Gary’s income is taken into account, and none of the above information is relevant at the
entry level stage. Again, this has absolutely no rational basis, especially seeing as on the second level of
the test the foreign spouse’s income can suddenly be taken into account.
Lise and Gary, having studied and worked in South Africa assume that in the UK, as is the case in South
Africa, laws which have no rational link to their purpose can be struck out by a court.
They have also found anomalies within the rules.
1. The Rules, downloaded from the Home Office’s website, are vague and contradictory, and should be
struck out on judicial review for this basis alone. For example:
a. Gary and Lise are self-employed (as they are both advocates, the South African version of
barristers). The Rules are contradictory and nonsensical as applicable to them. In one place it states that
Gary’s income from the past financial year will be taken into account, and in another place, from the
last two financial years.
b. It states in one place that the gross income is taken into account, yet in another place that it is only
the taxable income, after expenses have been deducted, which will be taken into account.
c. Schedule B has options F and G – both for self-employed persons, one taking into account one
financial year and another taking into account the average of two financial years. It is not possible to
distinguish from the Rules whether this couple falls into category F or G. The Rules on these two
categories are identical and absolutely no distinction is made between the two.
d. Schedule B seems to imply that Gary does not have to have a job offer in UK starting with 3
months of application if his business is still operating. This, again, makes no sense. In order to qualify
as self-employed, a requirement is that one has to show business is still operating.
If it is impossible for Gary and Lise, even as lawyers reading these rules, to know whether Gary is required
to have a job offer in the UK starting within 3 months or not, what hope is there that a layperson would be
able to understand the rules.??
“When you marry somebody you love for richer or poorer it should
mean just that.”
Lyndsey is 29 years old and a British citizen by birth.
She is in the horrendous situation of having to choose between being with her kids and looking after her
elderly grandparents, or being with her partner.
Two kids from a previous relationship (their father does not contribute financially)
Looking after two of her grandparents – one recovering from bowel cancer, the other with a heart
condition. As neither is entitled to an attendance allowance she doesn’t receive a carer’s
allowance. However this does not mean she shirks her responsibilities or leaves the state to look
Her partner Paul is a US citizen. They have known each other since 1999 and since 2009 have
been romantically involved. This has been difficult with a lot of transatlantic flights, Skype calls,
online chats and phone calls.
Her children consider Paul their dad, refer to him as such and he considers them as his own as well.
He has made more of a contribution to their well-being – physical, emotional and financial than
their real (British) father.
The kids’ actual father has not even made his CSA (child allowance) payments! He has a family
of his own, a loving partner, children from that relationship…a right that is denied to Lyndsey BY
Lyndsey is not allowed to move her children to outside the UK and so the only option is for Paul
to move here.
However, Lyndsey does not earn the required £18,600 and may never do so. She does not have the
time to take on a full time job, earning enough to pay for childcare and also look after her elderly
So according to this government, she can’t fulfil her responsibilities to those she loves, if she also
wants to be with the man she wants to spend her life with?! What country are we in again?
Owns his own home
Would take on a full time job here, allowing Lyndsey to work part-time, which would allow them
to share and fulfil their responsibilities, like a
normal British family.
Make the rules more fair so honest, decent and hardworking Brits aren’t kept apart from their
Sort out the disgrace of the system called CSA, and make absent fathers just as responsible for
their children as the mothers. If Lyndsey didn’t have to support her kids fully as well, she could
easily be working more, earning a higher income and thus, able to have Paul with her.
“This government will be remembered as directly and indirectly
attacking the most vulnerable in society….“
Naila is a British citizen living in Bradford.
She got married last year on April 29
th and had to wait until she turned 21 to apply for a spouse visa.
As she didn’t have a job here she moved to Pakistan to live with her husband there rather than spend the
time immediately after getting married living apart.
Naila is British. She is unable to adjust to life in Pakistan – the culture, expectations and rights of women
are very different to what she is used to. So she returned to the UK.
She is now working full-time at a newsagent, and has been doing so for the past three months, but
then rules came in requiring her to earn a salary of £18,600 for at least six months.
So now she has wait even longer more until she can apply for the visa. With the new rules her right to live
happily with her husband has been taken from her. It seems to Naila, that now in order for a British person
to marry someone from outside the UK you have to be as rich as the government.
Naila insists her husband is very hard-working; he owns a sports shop in Pakistan and they intend that
when he is in the UK, he will also work very hard here to support Naila and to live a happy life. There is
no way he will just sit back and do nothing – he would not qualify for benefits so that’s not an issue either.
Naila has been married for nearly 16 months and still has not been able to apply for her husband’s visa.
The new rules for Naila and others in her position are unrealistic and unachievable. They are just causing
pain and misery and serving to cause heartbreak across our country.
“His life now is just about work, work, work and on his time off, he is
too fatigued to do anything but sleep…”
Paul, a British citizen married his partner in May 2012, in the Philippines. She is Filipino and the decision
to marry was on the assumption that having met the visa requirements they would be able to make a life
together in the UK.
Suddenly though the rules changed, leaving Paul and his wife in devastation.
The massive increase in the amount Paul had to earn before he could sponsor his wife has made it
impossible for them to be together.
He works full time in retail and doesn’t claim a single penny in benefits. Recently he changed the branch
of the store he worked in to reduce travelling costs, and is taking on as much overtime as possible,
including working night shifts. Despite this however, he cannot meet the income criteria.
His life now is just about work, work, work and on his time off, he is too fatigued to do anything but sleep
and cope with the relapse of the depression he has suffered on and off from, for many years.
Paul is not asking for hand-outs. He just wants to be able to live with his wife in the UK.
Paul’s wife is not entitled to any benefits, so the message being put across in the media by Theresa May
that the presence of non EU spouses would be a drain on the benefits system is blatantly to mislead the
British public, as their rights are being chipped away.
Paul does not have a fancy accountant. He has paid his taxes diligently for years. It is Paul and others like
him who have contributed
into the system, and yet he is being told he cannot be with his wife as they are a
threat to the system.
An MP gets a huge salary, they can claim all manner of household expenses ranging from food and their
TV licence, to interest on their mortgage and rent payments (blatant abuse of the expense policies) and yet
they have the nerve to put restrictions on the lives of ordinary British citizens, and accuse us of being a
threat to the British economy?
“Will Christine and Richard live happily ever after? Only the
British government can decide.”
Christine is a British citizen living in Scotland. She fell in love with Richard, an Australian, in 2009 and in
2011, they got engaged.
They took things slowly to ensure Christine’s teenage daughter got to know Richard as well and Richard
therefore regularly visited the UK to enable them to get to know each other.
As they were making preparations for the wedding, and Richard was in the process of selling everything in
Australia to make the move to the UK, the new rules raised its ugly head.
Christine works as a legal secretary in a small town and earns £14,600 pounds a year – £4,000 short of the
Now they are in limbo, as moving to Australia is not an option with Christine’s daughter here, but a 30%
pay rise just isn’t feasible for Christine, especially in the current economic climate.
Will Christine and Richard live happily ever after? Only the British government can decide.
“They rejected the spouse application because of a technicality, knowing I will
not meet the income criteria, in another attempt to extort more money.“
Rob is a British professional musician, with a first class degree in music, and has taught music and
performed at concerts. Paul has an eight year old son and lives in a single detached house in Huddersfield.
Rob has worked hard for everything he has and hasn’t received help from the state in the form of benefits.
However, Rob is not rich.
Rob fell in love with an Indonesian woman, and married her. They believe they are each other’s soul mate.
They made vows to each other, with God as witness, to be together, for richer and poorer.
Rob is a standard Brit, not ever needing to worry about the UK immigration system. Battling the spouse
visa application however, he realised how bureaucratic the process is and indeed, how unfair and weighted
towards the rich, given the application fees.
Rob and his wife applied for a spouse visa on 26
th June, weeks before what he terms as the ‘ethnic
cleansing type rules’ came in. They submitted accounts for three years (as he is self-employed – while not
rich better off than many), bank statements, originals and copies, everything as requested… no stone was
For over two months, the message from the Embassy was
‘Application under process at the British
and then in early September they received an email asking for her to take a SELT English test.
The message in the email indicated that if she did not submit this within 7 days her visa would be rejected.
Despite the short notice, the managed and this was submitted on time as well.
About a month later, they received a message saying the application was ready for collection; however, it
was refused because of the English test. This struck Rob as bizarre as his wife’s English is fantastic.
Delving further into it, the authorities said she had passed the reading, writing and listening requirements
but had not submitted the speaking part.
Although they put in an appeal, called a lawyer and asked what to do, they were advised that the appeal
would probably be rejected; and that applying for a new visa would be under the new rules requiring
submission of another £900 fee.
It’s bemusing that the authorities could not have just said, ‘Hey your application is ok, but you just need to
do the speaking test, we’ll give you another week’? Instead they rejected the application because of a
technicality, knowing Rob would be unlikely to meet the income criteria, in yet another attempt to extort
Rob’s uncle fought in Burma in WW2, fighting the Japanese for the UK. He himself has worked hard and
paid taxes. His great uncle was just a name tag when he came back from France in WW1. His great
grandfather died from repercussions from WWI, also fighting for the UK.
Is this the UK that his family went to war for?
Rob is now very much coming to terms with the fact that he will need to sell his house in the UK and
relocate himself and his son to the Indonesia. Another plus towards the immigration target but another loss
for Britain, our economy and our people.
Ros is keen for her small family to be near her parents; to allow
for recognition of her family as a legal unit and to be around to look
after her parents as they get older. “
Ros, a British citizen and teacher, lives in
Thailand. Ros is hoping to sponsor her Civil Partner, a qualified
chef, to return to live in the UK with her and their twins. They want to live with Ros’s parents in West
Sussex, but are unlikely to be able to secure work in the area prior to leaving Thailand. Ros’s local MP is
Peter Bottomley (Conservative).
Ros feels people – including politicans – don’t undertstand the implications of these new rules.
As she is currently abroad, despite her earning over the £18600 threshold, it is unlikely they will be able to
move to the UK as we planned. This is especially problematic for them, because as a same-sex couple they
cannot continue to stay in Thailand where their Civil Partnership is not recognised; with kids in the picture
it is especially important to be somewhere where both parents’ rights are legally recognised.
Ros is keen for her small family to be near her parents; to allow for recognition of her family as a legal unit
and to be around to look after her parents as they get older.
However, getting a job offer from abroad is not easy – most schools will require a lesson observation as
part of the interview process.
Ros had planned on their moving to the UK, where her partner would look for work as a chef and she
could spend time being a full-time mum whilst searching for a new job and perhaps volunteering part time
in state schools for exposure and current UK work experience.
If Ros wants to move to the UK with her family, she either needs to already have a teaching job and face
six months apart from her partner, or stump up £62,500 in cash savings. Alternatively, she will need to
take her twins and leave her partner alone in Thailand, making it even more difficult to find a teaching job
suited to her qualifications.
So this means living as a single parent trying to meet the £18,600 whilst spending half her salary on
expenses such as childcare. In this case, Ros would qualify for working tax credits and claiming
government support – benefits she would not be in need of if she were just allowed to be here with her
partner!! How is breaking this family apart better for the British economy?
As Ros’s brother is in the same position – working in Tanzania, with a Tanzanian partner, the future is
quite grim, especially for Ros’s parents – both British, both getting old and both alone in the UK.
They are being denied the right to see their grandchildren and being denied to have, in their old age, their
children around them.
It is extremely unfair, that Ros, who has been employed without break in the last 10 years, is a graduate,
with not one but two postgraduate qualifications, who has worked in UK state schools for five years, is
now being prevented from returning to her home just because she fell in love with a foreigner. Ros’s
partner incidentally is also a graduate and has also been gainfully employed for 10 years without a break.
This isn’t a couple coming to the UK to sponge off benefits. This is a couple coming to the UK to give
their kids – British kids – a better life, and to provide support and care for ageing British parents.
“As a result he missed the birth of his first born child.”
Sarah is a British citizen from Bradford. She has two kids from a previous relationship, and a child with
her husband (her first marriage) who she is trying to sponsor to move to the UK from Turkey, so their
family can be together. Her two eldest kids call her husband dad, even though he is not their birth father.
That is how close this family is.
Sarah does not satisfy the £18,600 income threshold. She is in receipt of benefits, including income
support and child tax credit. However, this will change when her husband joins her as once he is working
(there is a job already lined up), Sarah will cease to be eligible for benefits which are means tested
(although she will continue to receive tax credits in respect of the children).
Sarah relocated to Turkey with her family and eventually decided to move back to the UK for her
children’s education. They applied for a visitor visa for her husband, so that he could be here for their
child’s birth, but the visa was refused on the grounds that because his family was in England and hence,
they thought he may not return to Turkey. As a result he missed the birth of his first born child.
It has not been an easy time for Sarah, what with having to give birth alone, raise not one but three kids
alone, and then have a faulty toaster set their house on fire.
Sarah, her husband and the three children stay in touch using MSN web cam and web chat every day.
They have applied for a spouse visa for him, however under the new rules they may well just be donating
more money to the British government who seems intent on tearing apart this family rather than
understanding that being with her husband is what would be best for Sarah and her three children.
“It’s about love. And it’s about responsibility. “
Sonel is a British citizen, living in the UK for over 12 years. She has worked for the British government,
paid her taxes and never claimed a penny in benefits. Sonel wants the right to live her with parents who
live in Australia with no other family there.
Financially, Sonel has no issues. She is happy to provide guarantees along the lines of this. Indeed, if her
parents wanted to be on benefits, they wouldn’t come to the UK as the benefits system is likely better in
Australia. This isn’t about money.
It’s about respect for those who gave her life, an education and opportunities so she could have a better life.
It’s about love. And it’s about responsibility.
Sonel was not brought up to dump her parents in an old people’s home, when they need her the most. And
she refuses to let this government force her into abandoning her parents – nor however, will be forced to
leave her home, her friends, her family, her life and her career she has worked hard to build in the UK.
As Sonel says,
“If they didn’t want my parents here, then they should have told me 10 years ago and I’d
have planned accordingly, rather than suggesting they could join me here when one of them was 65, or
earlier if circumstances deemed it so. Doing it at this stage, blocking the route off so spectacularly
suddenly (when the route to retired people of independent means has also been closed off), when I have
worked so hard, invested everything in the UK, bought a house, and made a life here, is not acceptable.”
The New Rules
The new rules are such that if both your parents are alive and together, they can’t join you. They have to be
completely alone – no family and friends in their home country. They also have to be so incapacitated that
they can’t dress, wash or cook for themselves. But even then that’s not enough. To put it bluntly, if a
British citizen earning a very good salary had a parent who was paralysed, under the current rules they
would still not be able to move their parents to the UK to look after them.
Indeed, despite several requests to many politicians,
not one politician has been able to give an example of
a situation where someone will satisfy the criterion under the new rules and physically be able to get on a
plane to reach the UK. That is, the rules have been designed so that no one can qualify.
There is NO value placed on peace of mind of being able to look after your parents, seeing them regularly,
taking care of them yourself. There is no respect allowed for those who often are the ones responsible for
these Brits being here and contributing so fantastically to the economy and society.
Those with a foreign spouse have a seemingly arbitrary minimum income threshold of £18,600 to
satisfy. On an income of five times this, a British person under the new rules could sponsor a foreign
spouse and over 20 of their children to join them in the UK. But it’s somehow not enough to bring in ONE
It’s absurd, insulting and rude. It’s discriminatory, racist and ageist.
The need to manage immigration is understood. But penalising British citizens who have never claimed
benefits, just because they happen to be migrants themselves, is not okay – having a criterion in place that
even this government can’t give examples of anyone satisfying is not acceptable.
This government has not done
any research in coming up with such harsh rules. Nor have they considered
any alternatives, such as:
a) comprehensive private health care insurance…mandate this perhaps with a multi-year policy taken
out directly with an insurer
b) a bond held against the parent accessing welfare benefits
c) Quota system, limiting the number of people a citizen can sponsor every X years. Australia has
this in place for the sponsoring of a foreign spouse.
d) reserving the right to sponsor parents as one for British citizens only, rather than just residents
e) financial guarantee of sponsor that they will look after their parents
f) minimum income criteria for sponsor
What is required
g) Clarification on situations – at least three examples, where someone would satisfy the criteria to
bring over their elderly dependant who will also physically be in a condition to get on a plane to
then come here.
h) If the intention is actually to prevent parents from coming here altogether, amend the policy so
that this is clear, so there is no farce or pretence, and explain why
i) Explanation as to why a British citizen has less rights in their own country than a foreigner (non
British EU citizen) who is able to bring in their non EU spouse, civil partner, parents, in-laws,
children, grandchildren and grandparents, and other family to include siblings and cousins.
Yet, rules have been brought in that completely close off the route to a Brit having their non EU
parents here, even where dependence can be shown and guarantees are provided. It’s preposterous
that this government has placed its people in a situation where we are second class citizens in our
j) Info on the consultation and research carried out to show that amending the rules in such a way
is justified and addresses the concerns of NHS and social care costs that can’t be met by other
k) An explanation as to why £18,600 has been considered to be sufficient for a spouse with a few
thousand more for each kid, yet even a salary of five times that…that would under the new rules
allow someone to sponsor a foreign spouse and over 20 children to live here, access benefits, use
the NHS, go to school…isn’t sufficient for a British citizen to sponsor one parent? How does the
research carried out – if any – justify this?
l) Comments on why the British policy on parents is so different from other countries whose way
of life is like ours…Australia, USA and Canada? No response along the lines of that provided by
Damian Greens is acceptable, i.e. that this government cannot comment on policies implemented
by other countries, because rules in place in other countries for foreign spouses was used to justify
the income threshold brought in for spouses.
m) Why isn’t reciprocity with countries like Australia, America, and Canada considered? More
British parents move to these countries than the other way around.
“…You’re not rich enough to be in love…”
Sophie is a British citizen, married to a US citizen, and they are aged 21 and 25. They got married after
two years together, on the 23
rd June this year, in the UK, and then the world of immigration horror opened
up to them.
They foolishly, believed that being married, they would not be kept apart whilst arranging her husband’s
work visa. They were wrong.
Sophie’s husband became an overstayer on the 2
nd July this year. They learnt that they would have to
spend £1,500 on application forms, and on the fees for a lawyer to help us through this maze, applying for
his Discretionary Leave to Remain.
As a legal secretary, Sophie earns £12,500.00 a year, with her savings having been spent flying back and
forth between USA and UK, and for the visa process.
Sophie has never claimed benefits.
As her husband is an overstayer, any potential application is likely to be declined. What however is this
couple supposed to do? They saved up £1500 for the application only to now be told, ‘No, it’s not good
enough, you’re not rich enough to be in love’.
They are however lucky to have family members who have always been willing to help, monetarily, but
now the rules even disallow co-sponsorship. They have nowhere to turn!
Sophie is terrified that she is going to get a knock on the door in the middle of the night.and be forced to
spend months and even years apart until she is able to earn £18,600 or whatever the new higher income
threshold will be.
She is feeling desperate and is being punished for being in love, for daring to get married whilst being
young and poor,
despite not being on benefits.
These new laws put a price on love and they are disgusting; they are anti-human and bear no respect for
the sanctity of marriage.
Mrs May should be thoroughly ashamed of herself.
“Expat in exile.”
Tom is a British citizen who has been living in Bali, Indonesia for almost 7 years. Although when he
arrived in Indonesia it was on holiday, he stumbled upon a 6 month internship opportunity, after a year of
unsuccessful post-graduation job hunting in the UK.
Through the internship, Tom met the love of his life and they got married. Tom’s wife’s career as a sales
and marketing executive in the hospitality industry was taking off and so they ended up staying in
Indonesia instead of moving to the UK. Indeed, Tom liked Indonesia so much he could see himself
spending the rest of their lives there.
However, 7 years on, the rules in Indonesia are such that Tom needs sponsorship from his employer to
work there, despite being married to an Indonesian for this long. The trouble is, this sponsorship comes at
great expense and hence companies don’t tend to sponsor foreign workers especially at the career level
Tom is at.
While Tom writes for magazines and gets a bit of consulting work, it’s very ad hoc; he is unable to get a
steady job because of the visa situation.
As their daughter was born last summer, Tom spent more time being the stay at home dad. However, as
any parent, he wants what is best for his child. His main concerns are on grounds of:
Work (for reasons explained above, and to bring some equity into the relationship – there are also a lot
more jobs in Tom’s field in the UK)
Health (hospitals in Bali aren’t as good as the children’s hospitals in the UK)
School (schools in Indonesia are very expensive and the state schools are not very good)
Social life (wanting his child to grow up in a healthy multi-cultural environment, where she will have
exposure to both her parents’ heritage).
In April 2012, Tom relocated to the UK. His mum would look after her granddaughter while he job
hunted/worked and it all looked so doable. The family was very excited to have Tom and his family back
and they were all looking forward to a new future together bringing up the newest member of the family in
His disability meant that he had no one to look after his daughter while he looked for work or for when he
actually found work. It was now his wife’s responsibility to get a solid job offer, which was still allowed
under the old rules.
Tom’s wife came up with a brilliant idea to work as a representative in the UK for Bali hotels. This is
already being done by a couple of English sales people but they had the unique quality of an Indonesian
doing it in person. This meant getting paid by hotels in Bali, which meant her actually bringing money into
the country. In fact, they believed it would be so successful we’d be able to employ people in England as
well. Bringing money in and creating employment – how could that be refused by UKBA?
As it turns out, after six weeks of trying she only managed to get one hotel firmed up but lots of maybes. In
the meantime, their baby was started to get a lot more active and she was starting to teeth. As there had
been no news about the new rules, they made a decision for Tom to come back to Bali while his wife
continued trying to get more clients.
Ironically, while on the plane (on Sunday June the 10th) a fellow passenger told him about an article she’d
just read in The Mail on Sunday about the new rules. Tom was totally stunned, to say the least. There
wasn’t much detail in the article but they soon found out that the door was well and truly shut.
They had until July the 9th to get their application in but they were unable to get enough clients in time.
They have reached the stage where they think it’s time to give up, for now.
As an expat, Tom has no MP to complain to. They can’t afford a doomed-to-failure application and a
Judicial Review to charge May with abusing her power and to question the legality of making expats such
as Tom exiles (an immigration appeal against an income refusal would be doomed to fail), so they have to
look at making the best of what they have overseas – even though it breaks his heart knowing he is unable
to provide for his family because they can’t move back to his own country.
“Yana and John, as British citizens have less rights in Britain than
their EU friends
Yana is a British citizen and lives in Edinburgh with her British husband and their British children. Yana
has a wide and varied circle of international friends. There is Patrick from Ireland married to Jing from
China, Andy a Scot married to Katarina from Poland, Jose from Spain married to Lisa from Argentina and
Mike from Netherlands married to Olga from Russia. Then there is Yana and John, both British citizens.
Indeed, Yana recognises through her friends circle, that what makes Britain great is how multi-cultural we
are. This is what makes our country rich.
They are all of different shapes and sizes; Jose prefers coffee to tea and Jing goes for rice over potatoes.
But when this group of friends meets up, all have a good time together comparing stories about their
families and experiences from around the world and Yana is reminded how small the world has become
and how we all share the same common wishes and experiences: the desire to give our children the best
possible start in life, the longing to be together as a family and the heartache of being apart.
They share all these in common and there is not much to tell Yana apart from her friends – except that is
until it comes to UK immigration rules. That is when she discovered that John and she are the odd ones out.
Yana’s mum is a Russian citizen, living in Russia on her own since Yana’s dad died in a car crash two and
a half years ago. Yana has no other siblings to help look after her mum.
After many years of waiting, this summer Yana and John were fortunate to be blessed with twin girls.
Yana’s mum retired from her job to come to the UK for six months on a visitor visa to help with the babies.
Following the difficult years after her dad’s tragic and unexpected death, it was good to see her mum
happy and engaging with her granddaughters.
Yana is therefore keen to have her mum live with them, at no burden to the state.
Under the previous immigration rules this would have been possible and they were planning to apply for
Indefinite Leave to Remain, however, following the introduction of the new immigration rules in July this
year, Yana is in total despair as the route has effectively been completely closed off.
The situation is causing severe distress; instead of enjoying motherhood Yana spends most of her day
desperately trying to find a solution to this cruel situation, and knowing that there are many other British
people in the same position
The new rules have set the proof of dependency so high that it is actually impossible in
where a visa would be granted to a parent of a British citizen.
As a consequence of the new requirements, should the sponsor earn a reasonable salary, it is deemed that
they can afford to pay for care in their parent’s home country. If the sponsor does not earn a reasonable
salary, they will not be able to prove that they can support their elderly parent without recourse to public
funds. So, regardless of your personal financial circumstances, elderly parents will never be allowed to
come and live in the UK with their children.
The importance of things as the value of family and emotional support for elderly parents who feel isolated
and lonely, especially if they live on their own, has been completely ignored under these new rules.
As these rules
apply only to UK citizens, within Yana’s circle of friends they are the only ones affected,
because both her and husband are British.
Even a non EU citizen living in the UK with their EEA or Swiss spouse or civil partner can bring their
family members (children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and cousins) in to the UK
so long as their EU partner can show a family member is dependent on them.
So, for example, a Russian citizen married to a citizen of France, Germany, Poland, Hungary etc. can bring
their Russian mother to permanently live with them in the UK but
Yana and John, as British citizens are
denied that same right, in their own country
All political parties claim that families form the ‘bedrock’ of a strong and stable society, but the recent
changes threaten to tear thousands of families apart. These rules, apart from being totally impracticable,
fail to recognise the very basic right of families to live together under the same roof as set out under ECHR
Article 8. This right should never be violated, at least not in the country that calls itself a developed
democracy. Yet this is exactly what the Government’s policies are doing to people all over the country. It
seems particularly ironic that it is British citizens that are being most severely affected by these new rules.
To Yana, the situation in Britain today is terribly reminiscent of the forced exiles associated with Nazi
Germany and Soviet Russia. In the 1930s her great grandfather’s family were forced off their land, had
their property and belongings confiscated by the Bolsheviks and were exiled to the north of Russia because
they were a little bit richer than everybody else in their village. In the 21
st century Britain, Yana is being
penalised because she has a mother who is not British and thus, deprived of the right to live comfortably
with her family in the country that she herself is a citizen of. Why? Since coming to this country Yana has
studied, at her own expense, volunteered with several charities, worked hard and paid taxes; she has never
So, what have she done to deserve this?
As parents Yana and John want to stay in their own country and raise their kids to be British, but if they do
this, then they are being told by the current Government that they must abandon Yana’s mother and that
she has to be vegetating before her entry in to the UK can be even considered (and even then it would be
rejected under the current rules).
It is not fair that families are being forced to make such choices.
The consensus seems to be that the Conservative Party is pushing this anti-immigration policy to attempt
to show some action on their 2010 pre-election pledge to reduce immigration into the UK. Yet they are not
delivering on that pledge.
Apart from the recent EU accession countries, UK cannot limit immigration from within EU. So this
Government panders to right-wing-leaning readers of certain tabloid newspapers and to appear to be ‘doing
something’ about immigration. However, their policy is failing and they have been found to be acting
illegally in the courts, but, as a consequence, hardworking families across the country are being divided
and kept apart. It’s a ‘punish first and ask questions later’ policy, and if some unfortunate people happen to
fall through the cracks, then at least the numbers have been successfully finessed.
It is appalling that so many British MPs have allowed Home Secretary Theresa May to implement these
new regulations without any serious challenge. While confident that these illegal changes will get
overturned in the courts eventually, by that time a lot of taxpayers’ money will have already been wasted.
And, more than money, the heartbreak, stress and devastation wreaked on people who just dared to love,
be it their parent, spouse or child, will be so devastating, it is something that will leave lasting effects not
only on our economy but the values we pass on to the next generation.
From the Press
A small selection of news stories which have already hit the media
since the rules changed
Herald Scotland – ‘Graduate Forced out of UK for Not Earning Enough’, 29
th September 2012.
Andrew Wilbur, originally from California, has been married to a Scottish woman for six years but now
no longer meets the criteria to stay here as their household income in the past year did not reach £18,600.
‘The income threshold was only introduced on marriage visa applications in July this year as part of a
Government crackdown on immigration and sham marriages.
‘The move was aimed at ensuring spouses are able to support themselves while in the UK, but Mr Wilbur
claims it is also hitting non-criminal, hard-working couples who simply have not earned enough.
‘The 32-year-old was due to start work at the university on a temporary basis, but now he and his wife,
Laura Francescangeli, 34, have booked flights out of the country ahead of his student visa expiring on
‘Mr Wilbur, who has a PhD in human geography from Glasgow University, said: “I never realised I wasn’t
going to be able to stay here.
‘”It’s been a shock, especially in light of being offered a job – basically that was my financial situation
sorted for the short term.
‘”We’ve booked a flight to Italy on October 2. Laura’s parents live there and I’m going to help out her
family a little bit and basically buy some time to apply for other jobs.
‘”Because of my situation, I’m not going to be looking at jobs in the UK. I’ll probably have to look in the
US or somewhere else in Europe.”
‘He added: “We’ve built our life here. We have quite a lot of family in Glasgow and lots of friends and all
of my professional contacts are here.
‘”I think it will prove quite a challenge to insert myself somewhere new and try to establish myself again.”
‘Ms Francescangeli said she felt “sad” there was nothing she could do to help her husband.
‘She said: “I’m just so shocked we have to leave. I feel so helpless. He’s been married to me for six years
and it doesn’t seem to count for anything.
‘”This is our home. Our friends and family are here – and all the things I’m used to. Obviously I could stay,
but we want to be together and don’t have any other option but to leave the country to do that.”
‘Mr Wilbur approached the UK Border Agency to apply for a Further Leave to Remain (Marriage) visa
when he was offered the teaching position at the university.
‘However, he was told that, from July 30, applicants must meet the minimum household income of
£18,600 in the 12 months prior to the application.’
‘The couple’s income did not come close to this as Mr Wilbur had been studying and his wife had been on
Jobseeker’s allowance in between visiting Italy to care for her father who is ill. He explained their situation
to officials and told them he had been offered work, but was informed it did not make a difference.
‘He claims he and his wife may have to be separated for a period if he is forced to return to the US to work,
adding: “We have a green card pending for Laura, but there’s a very real possibility we could be split up
for a while. It’s horrible and neither of us is very proud of the fact we’re having to turn up on our parents’
doorsteps like this.”
‘Mr Wilbur’s university lecturer, Professor Christopher Philo, said it was strange the graduate was being
asked to leave the country when he has so much to contribute to higher education in Scotland.
‘Mr Philo said: “Andrew is a gifted scholar and researcher and has contributed fully to the life of our
school at Glasgow University – undertaking teaching of undergraduates, as well as running events and
participating in research groups. He has been educated and trained in the UK and is fully committed to
contributing to the UK higher education sector.
‘”I do not know the technicalities of the case, but on the basic ‘human’ side, given Andrew’s record and
potential in UK higher education, it does seem like a strange decision for the authorities to have reached.”
‘A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases. But we are
clear all applications for settling in the UK must meet the requirements of our immigration rules and those
that do not may be refused.”’’
This is Staffordshire – ‘Milton Mum Fights Deportation That Could Split Family, 17
‘THE mother of two young British boys faces being thrown out of the UK after falling foul of new
‘South Korean national Ga Young is set to be deported when her current visa runs out on September 29.
‘The 31-year-old – who has two children with her English husband Craig – had planned to apply for a
settlement visa to give her the right to stay in Britain.
‘But new laws brought in this summer to target bogus marriages have made it harder for partners of British
nationals to gain the right to remain in the UK.
‘Now 40-year-old Craig, of Adams Street, Milton, says his family will be torn apart if Ga and their two
boys, Eli, aged seven and four-year-old Darius, go back to South Korea.
‘English language tutor Craig said: “My wife isn’t ‘just off the boat’. She’s the mother of my two boys, who
are both British citizens with dual passports.
‘”Our marriage is legitimate and yet we as a family face being pulled apart because this law is unyielding
to individual circumstances.
‘”There’s no consideration of our situation.”
‘Craig and Ga married in Warwickshire eight years ago, with Eli being born in Britain.
‘The family moved to South Korea in 2006, where Darius was born.
‘They returned to Britain in March and settled in Stoke-on-Trent.
‘But Ga cannot apply for the new settlement visa because out-of-work Craig needs to have earned at least
£18,500 over a six-month period to act as his wife’s sponsor for the application.
‘Craig added: “I am faced with losing my family because I can’t separate my wife from her sons, nor can I
take care of them while I’m looking for work.
‘”They are set to be forced out at the end of this month.
‘”All I can think about are the long, dark nights about to set in and I’m going to be without my family.”
‘Housewife Ga has been left devastated at the thought of leaving her husband behind and the upheaval that
will bring for her sons.
‘She said: “I never received any benefits or handouts when I was first in Britain and I do not receive, or
want any, now.
‘”We’ve brought our boys to Stoke-on-Trent and told them this is their country and their home, but this is
‘The family are being supported in their fight by Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley.
‘UK Border Agency officials today declined to comment on Ga’s case.
‘But a spokesman added: “All applications for settling in the UK must meet the requirements of our
immigration rules, and those which do not may be refused.”’
This Is Essex – ‘Chelmsford Mum Fights To Get Son’s Dad Visa’, 4
th October 2012.
‘ALL little Leon Bishop has to remember his dad is this photo.
‘But mum Lynda is fighting for husband Hermes Nguluwe, 37, to return to their family home on Avon
Road, Chelmsford, after he was denied a visa and has been stuck in his native Malawi for five years.
‘The couple met in Reds nightclub, now the Candy Club, in 2005, when Hermes was studying in London
but living in Chelmsford, and they spent two years together before his student visa expired in 2007 and he
was forced to leave the country.
‘But ever since he returned to Africa, Lynda claims his visa requests have been rejected by the UK Border
‘”It breaks my heart to see a father and son so far away, it is not right, it is against my son’s human rights,”
said Lynda, 43, who has two children from a previous relationship.
‘”He left when Leon was only 18-months-old,” she said.
‘”Leon has never met his dad properly and he cannot understand how far away he is and why we can’t go
and see him.
‘”We hardly get a signal to talk on the phone, and Hermes has to
travel to the next village for the internet.
‘”Since the day he left in 2007 I have been trying to save the money to get him back, but it just is not
‘Lynda works part-time as a cleaner at Broomfield Hospital on £7,000 a year, and says she cannot save
enough money to get Hermes back into the country.
‘Under new rules, a UK spouse has to earn the minimum of £18,600 a year for a first visa.
‘Lynda flew out to Malawi for the first time last year to get married, but says she could not even afford to
take six-year-old Leon with her.
‘Hermes is a science teacher at a boys’ school in Malawi and has passed an English test, but is still not
allowed to come back, added Lynda.
‘The case was taken to an appeal court in August, but was again rejected on a number of counts, including
that Hermes does not have a job in the UK.
‘She also claims that because there is a weak phone signal in Hermes’ village, court officials claimed they
did not speak to each other regularly enough to prove their relationship was genuine.
‘”He did slightly overstay his visa, but he was not deported, he left on his own accord and now he just
cannot get back,” said Lynda.
‘”It is just ridiculous because how can he get a job here when he does not have a national insurance
number and is not even being allowed to come here and apply for jobs.
‘”The courts suggested I move to Africa, but why should I have to expose our child to all sorts of diseases
like malaria – and anyway my child is a British citizen and deserves to stay here.”
Press Articles That Saw These Situations Coming…
The Economist – ‘Sons and Lovers’, 16
th June 2012.
‘On June 11th Theresa May, the home secretary, set out changes that will take effect, in the main, on July
9th. Most controversially, a settled resident will have to show annual income of £18,600 ($28,900) to bring
a spouse into the country, more if there are children. Until now a couple has needed just £5,500 plus
‘The aim, says Mrs May, is to ensure that newcomers can participate fully in British life, and that they are
not a charge on the taxpayer. Another aim must be to win votes: Britons worry more than most about
immigration. The changes will take Britain from ranking near the middle of European and Northern
American countries in 2007 on friendliness to family unification to perhaps 27th of 31 countries, says
Thomas Huddleston of Migration Policy Group, a think-tank in Brussels. The income requirement alone is
off the scale.
‘The independent Migration Advisory Committee came up with the earnings threshold when asked by the
government to calculate the minimum needed to avoid recourse to public funds. But £18,600 is half again
as much as someone would make working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, at the minimum wage.
According to the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, 47% of British citizens in employment
would not qualify to bring in a family member, nor would 58% of people 20-30 years old, or 61% of
women of any age.’
The Guardian – ‘Exile or Family Breakup’, 8
th June 2012.
‘British citizens with foreign-born partners are to be given the choice of indefinite “exile” in countries
including Yemen and Syria or face the breakup of their families if they want to remain in the UK, under
radical immigration changes
to be announced next week, MPs have been told.’
‘The home secretary,
Theresa May, is expected to confirm that she will introduce a new minimum income
requirement for a British “sponsor” without children of up to £25,700 a year, and a stringent English
speaking test for foreign-born husbands, wives or partners of UK citizens applying to come to live in
Britain on a family visa.
‘Immigration welfare campaigners say that the move will exclude two-thirds of British people – those who
have a minimum gross income of under £25,700 a year – from living in the UK as a couple if they marry a
non-EU national. They estimate that between 45% and 60% of the 53,000 family visas currently issued
each year could fall foul of the new rules.
‘Ministers have also been considering extending the probationary period for overseas spouses and partners
of British citizens from two to five years and introducing an “attachment test” to show that the “combined
attachment” of the couple is greater to Britain than any other country.
‘The changes are to be introduced alongside new immigration rules, making clear that an illegal migrant or
a convicted foreign national facing deportation who has established a family life in Britain will only be
blocked by the courts from being removed, under article 8 of the European convention on human rights, in
rare and exceptional cases. Instead they, too, will face a choice between separating from their British-based
spouse or partner or going to live with their partner as a family overseas.’
Adrian Hilton, Daily Mail – ‘Is EU Love Worth More Than Asian Love?’, 11
th June 2012.
‘Home Secretary Theresa May is doubtless trying her hardest within these meddling statutory confines and
legal limitations. She is clearly very much in favour of policies which foster British allegiance, encourage
greater integration, and which ensure that immigrants can speak a Year-6 level of English. But her latest
proposal to limit the number of non-EU nationals is arbitrary, banal and embarrassing.
‘She intends to prevent British nationals from bringing their foreign spouses and children into the UK
unless they have an income of precisely £18,600 or more. The threshold rises as children are involved – to
sums in excess of £30,000. Her reasoning, quite simply, is that non-EU immigration should limited,
thereby mitigating claims for income-related benefits.
‘Setting aside for the moment those millions of EU nationals who will remain perfectly free to come and
go and marry as they please, what of the British nationals who fall in love with a Russian bear or Thai
belle but are unable to establish that they earn above the necessary threshold? Is the Home Secretary really
proposing that the love of a wealthy stockbroker in Gerrards Cross is of greater worth than to that of a
shelf-stacker in Hull? Perhaps it is economically, but since when did Mammon trump the God of love?
Under the proposals, if either the stockbroker or shelf-stacker were to marry their foreign-born partners,
both would be given the choice of indefinite ‘exile’ (presumably in Russia or Thailand), or face a life of
loneliness. Except, of course, that your average resident of Gerrards Cross would be more than capable of
finding the necessary sum; remortgaging their million-pound house if necessary. So we have a
Conservative-LibDem immigration policy which actively reserves love for the wealthy.’
Brooke Magnanti, The Guardian – ‘Theresa May’s immigration plan is a one-size-fits-none fix’, 26
‘The leaked proposals suggest that May thinks any problem can be solved by demanding more money, and
that the people who can afford to pay aren’t causing problems.
‘As a US citizen married to a UK national, I followed these changes with concern. No one disputes the
right – indeed, the responsibility – of a government to oversee migration. Most of us who come here do not
object to playing by the rules. But the reasons May gave for the changes are misleading. The consultation
she references was heavily influenced by suggestions from the pressure group MigrationWatch and
concerned mainly with forced marriage and money.
‘May writes the changes “will reduce the burdens on the taxpayer, promote integration and tackle abuse”.
This invokes a Britain of Littlejohnesque nightmares with borders easily infiltrated by sinister foreigners –
a hilarious notion to anyone who’s had to deal with the UK Border Agency’s byzantine bureaucracy.
‘May claims raising the support level will “differentiate between genuine and non-genuine relationships”.
But forced marriage won’t be prevented by these rules. It is also rare: about 400 cases a year.
‘High incomes and long waits are no guarantee against sham marriages either, despite what the tabloids
‘Detailed spouse interviews might help but May has no plans to introduce these. In my experience the
applications are more concerned with your bank balance than with the state of your union.’
‘May claims family migrants burden the taxpayer, ignoring the fact that migrants are taxpayers too, and
family-visa migrants pay plenty. We are not exempt from UK taxes just because we weren’t born here. (I
can assure the wags that I paid tax on my past income, but don’t take my word for it – feel free to ask the
‘DWP statistics show foreign-born residents – at 13% of the population – represent only 6.4% of benefits
claimants; 7% of foreign-born residents receive them, compared with 17% of UK-born residents.’
‘The suggested income is at the upper boundary of what the consultation suggested. It’s a one-size-fitsnone
solution that doesn’t consider a family’s real expenses, wealth such as house equity, or where they
live. The threshold exceeds the average gross earnings in every region of the country apart from London.
The majority of households would not meet this requirement.’
Amol Rajan, The Independent – ‘Cruelty and Cowardice Replace Common Sense’, 10
th July 2012.
‘At the Houses of Parliament yesterday, a demonstration was held by a charity called the Migrants’ Rights
Network in protest at changes to family migration rules. The rules came into effect yesterday, but there is a
40-day window in which they can be challenged.
‘The rules are partly a consequence of David Cameron’s cruel, opportunistic and unrealisable pledge before
the last general election to bring net migration into the UK down from the hundreds of thousands to the
tens of thousands. They target spouses who settle in our country.
‘Among the measures is an expansion of the probationary period from two to five years, during which time
the migrant would be on a spousal visa with no recourse to public funds and, if unable to work, dependent
on their spouse. At the end of this period spouses can apply for permanent settlement only after passing the
“Life in the UK” citizenship test and a language test. The applicant will have no access to publically
funded language courses to prepare.
‘Finally, nobody earning less than £18,600 annually will be allowed to bring spouses to Britain in the first
place. That rises by £2,400 a year for each child a couple is mischievous enough to have.
‘Taken as a whole, these changes represent a shameless attack on the poorest people in our society, a
gutless retreat in the face of lies and propaganda from the right-wing press, and a further criminalisation of
the pursuit of happiness by those who happen to be born in countries less wealthy than ours.
‘In this, it is in keeping with the general tenor of what passes for a debate on immigration in our country. It
is true that Labour underestimated the scale of modern migration; that the planning for the arrival of so
many migrants was pitiful; that the flip-side of any person’s civic right is another person’s civic duty, so
that just as we campaign for migrant rights we must engender migrant duties; and that statemulticulturalism
can undermine social bonds. But migrants are not the thieving villains of Daily Mail
caricature. They are generally hard-working, keen to learn and contribute,.
‘The sums raised by these proposed measures would hardly pay for lunch in the City. Yet the message sent
by them is clear. A country which relies ever more heavily on its immigrant population wants to substitute
cruelty and cowardice where compassion and common sense once prevailed. ‘
Migration Observatory – ‘Women, young people and non-Londoners are most affected by changes
to family migration policy’, 12
th June 2012.
‘New policies to restrict family immigration from outside the EU will affect people in their 20s, women,
and those outside London more than other groups, Oxford University’s Migration Observatory said today.
The Government announced today that those people who hope to bring a spouse or other family member
from outside the EU to the UK will need to be able to demonstrate that they are have an annual income of
at least £18,600, and more if they hope to bring more than one family member.
These changes will mean that, of British citizens in employment:
47% will not qualify to bring in a family member.
58% of people aged between 20 and 30 will not qualify to bring in a family member compared to
35-45% of people aged between 30 and 60.
61% of women and 32% of men will not qualify to bring in a family member. • 48% of people in
Scotland will not qualify to bring in a family member.
51% of people in Wales will not qualify to bring in a family member.
46% of English residents will not qualify to bring in a family member.
29% of Londoners will not qualify to bring in a family member.
The areas of England with the lowest eligibility are Mersyside, where 56% of people will not be
eligiable, North West England (53%) and Yorkshire and Humberside (52%).
Dr Carlos Vargas Silva, Senior Researcher at the Migration Observatory at Oxford University said:
“Essentially what this shows us is that groups who tend to earn less will be affected more by this policy
change. Specifically this will include women, those outside of London and people under 30 years old.”
Overall net migration to the UK currently stands at around 252,000. The Government has committed to
reducing this to the “tens of thousands” by 2015.
Dr Scott Blinder, Senior researcher at the Migration Observatory added: “The announced income threshold
might make for a fairly sharp reduction to family migration, but this is still only a small fraction of the cuts
needed to approach the government’s target.”’
First Post India – ‘Don’t make £18,600 annually? You can’t sponsor your non-EU spouse in UK’,
th June 2012.
London: Senior Labour MP Keith Vaz yesterday expressed disgust and shock over new visa restrictions
— including a new income threshold — for bringing Indian and non-European Union spouses announced
by Home secretary Theresa May.
‘In a statement in the House of Commons, May yesterday provided details of the new restrictions she
‘The curbs are part of the government’s moves to prevent bogus marriages and reduce immigration from
outside the EU. AFP
‘The curbs are part of the government’s moves to prevent bogus marriages and reduce immigration from
outside the EU.
‘Under the new rules, only those British nationals and residents with an annual income of £18,600 (approx
Rs 16 lakh) will be allowed to sponsor their non-EU spouses to come and live with them in the UK.
‘Vaz, who completed 25 years as an MP from Leicester East today, said: “I am shocked at the
Government’s new proposal. They will dramatically affect my constituents, settled British Asians, not
illegal immigrants, tax payers who contribute to our country”.
‘He added: “What she proposes flies in the face of the Prime Minister’s message at the launch of the
Conservative Friends of India only six weeks ago. A British Home Secretary has no place dictating who
British citizens should choose as their spouses based on an artificial financial limit. This is unfair, unjust
China Daily – ‘UK Immigration Curbs Hurt Visa Hopefuls’, 18
th July 2012.
‘The complaints aren’t just coming from the business community. The authorities have also been criticized
for introducing “the harshest policy for 10 or 15 years” on family migration.
‘A number of changes came into effect on July 9, affecting non-EEA nationals applying to enter or remain
in the UK under the family migration route.
‘The key change is the introduction of a new minimum income threshold of 18,600 pounds for people who
want to sponsor UK settlement of a spouse or partner, or a fiance or proposed civil partner of non-EEA
‘”This is a policy that makes it rigidly uniform,” said Xiang Sixing, a Chinese national who works for
Visalogic Ltd, which provides professional advice to clients requiring assistance with UK immigration and
‘Visalogic often helps Chinese clients, many of whom are applying for family migration or a partner visa.
In some cases, British nationals were attempting to move back to the UK with the Chinese spouses they
married while working abroad.
‘Despite many of them earning more than the 18,600 pounds annual threshold, they still found it hard to
sponsor their spouse for a visa “just because they had not proper job offer in the UK temporarily”.
‘”So they have had to stay apart. They are actually in a very good financial condition and won’t live on
welfare,” Xiang said. “We hope they (the UK government) will introduce more policies to relax this rigid
policy. But we are not confident.”
‘Still without his passport, Wang Jianyu admitted he has “no choice but to wait”.
‘”My initial plan was to get my passport back quickly and then spend the summer traveling back home and
somewhere sunny. What will I do now? Enjoy the awful, rainy British weather,” he joked.’