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Report, Personal Stories And Research On The Impact Of The New 2012 Spouse Visa Rules With Recommendations
Submitted and compiled by British citizens whose families have been or are being be torn apart by the new legislation
Submitted directly to the Home Secretary Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP
The Magna Carta - the law of our land, Clause 39:
“NO free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice”
REPORT, CASE STUDIES AND RESEARCH ON THE IMPACT OF THE NEW 2012 SPOUSE VISA RULES WITH RECOMMENDATIONS -‐ JUNE 2013
One British married womanʼs family, who were clearly more than self-sufficient were in threat of being torn apart by the new 2012 Spouse Visa Rules. The new rules would force her to give birth and care for their newborn alone, indefinitely. After a 5-month wall of silence from Ministers, in desperation she contacted her local paper, which ran a newspaper article of their situation. They received overwhelming support from the British public and were encouraged to start a petition. They received over 11,000 signatures in 3 weeks; the general public was shocked and appalled by the treatment of a British woman in this way. Many of the signatories commented they were in a similar or worse position. Surprised, as the British women believed her family were an unfortunate “one off case” that had slipped through the system, she sent an email to some of the signatories asking British citizens to email their stories, so she could include them when submitting the petition directly to the Rt Hon Theresa May MP - Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality. To her surprise, the British woman was met with a tsunami of close to 100 emails of heartbreaking stories of British citizensʼ families being needlessly torn apart. Married British mothers made into single parents, being forced to give birth and look after newborn babies alone, indefinitely. British women being permanently exiled from their country, homes, jobs, careers, exiled from the elderly, sick or disabled British family they cared for. One hardworking 40 year-old women who had paid off her mortgage with earnings of ₤40,000 a year, yet still did not meet the new financial requirement criteria, was forced directly by the new rules to choose between her sick mother, her husband or her unborn child - a decision no married woman should have to make. The deepest tragedy was that in ALL stories the families were clearly self-sufficient when together as a family unit. This report is composed of 35 British citizenʼs familiesʼ personal stories and recommendations who wished their story to be submitted directly to Rt. Hon Theresa May MP and to Parliament in order to make the new Spouse Visa rules fit for purpose. Compiled and arranged by one British mother to be, who could not let these heartbreaking tragedies and abuses against British families continue. The insights and recommendations in this report may prove extremely valuable to our country, as they detail ways to both protect the rights and welfare of British citizens, especially children AND protect the interests of the taxpayer.
Key Research and feedback of opinions from British citizens
THE NEW RULES ARE AGAINST BRITISH RIGHTS AND DISCRIMINATE AGAINST BRITISH CITIZENS 1. According to The Oxford University Migratory Observatory 47% of EMPLOYED married British citizens, who have worked hard and paid into the British system all their lives, as have countless generations before them, are no longer entitled to family life in the UK if they have married a nonEEA citizen. Self-sufficient, hard working British Citizens are either being forced apart from their husband leaving their British children fatherless or from their wife and British children. The alternative “choice” is to be forced to sell their familyʼs home or to be forced to leave their own country and live in exile far away from elderly British parents and family. It is not a “choice” to be financially, physically, socially and emotionally “stripped of your standing” as a married woman or man or to be forced to sell your property or to be made an exile, ALL these “options” are clearly against a British Citizensʼ basic rights as declared by the British people in the Magna Carta of 1215. 2. In the majority of our case studies the British citizenʼs families have lived in Britain for countless generations. Our ancestorsʼ families have given their lives in the many British wars throughout our history to ensure we have the freedom to marry, live and have a family with the person we love in our own country. Our ancestorsʼ economic and social contributions are immeasurable and the Governmentʼs crude “tick box” financial requirement for the last 6 to 12 months is an insult to British citizenʼs rights, a price cannot be put
REPORT, CASE STUDIES AND RESEARCH ON THE IMPACT OF THE NEW 2012 SPOUSE VISA RULES WITH RECOMMENDATIONS -‐ JUNE 2013
on the right to a family life, especially when clearly the family are self-sufficient and are not a “burden on the state”, as ALL the submitted stories illustrate. 3. 47% of hard-working EMPLOYED British citizens will not pass the new financial requirement for a spouse visa of £18,600 a year, £22,400 with a child and £2,400 for every additional child or alternatively have an incredible £62,500 of savings, held in an instant access bank account for 6 months as enforced in the new spouse visa rules that came into force on 9 July 2012. 4. In ALL our case studies the families are self-sufficient and would remain self-sufficient if granted a spouse visa. In most of our case studies the EMPLOYED British citizens denied the right to family life in the UK are public workers paid by the government, such as teachers, lecturers, NHS workers, carers, nurses and members of the armed forces. If these valuable public workers do not have the right to family life because they do not earn enough, then surely they should be paid more by the government. Or does the government believe nurses and teachers and the armed forces do not deserve to have a family life? Other large groups earning under the threshold or whose income is not counted are British mothers supported by their husbands, people living outside of London, PhD and other degree students, start-up entrepreneurs and creative or specialist industry freelancers. 5. Ironically, full time UKBA Immigration Officers deciding which EMPLOYED British citizens do not have the right to a family also do not have the right to family life under the new rules. Their income, paid by the government, is under the new financial threshold. Administrative assistants (£14,043), Assistant immigration officers (£15,386) would be forced to be single or leave the UK. Both Executive officers (£20,235) and Immigration officers (£21,505) cannot sponsor their spouse and child. (UKBA website, 2013) 6. The new rules discriminate against British Citizens in our own country: please see the comparison chart of British citizenʼs rights compared with EEA immigrantʼs rights to family life in the UK in the Appendix. 7. Long term (more than 1 year) Net Migration of British Citizens was minus 71,000 in 2011, (78,000 immigrated and 149,000 emigrated) the year before the new 2012 spouse visa rules (that only apply to British Citizens) came into effect. Long term Non EEA net migration was 205,000 immigrants; EU and EU8 net migration was 122,000 immigrants. Of the 251,000 EEA immigrants in 2011, 174,000 were EU immigrants entitled to instant access to British benefits on entry (as were 20,000 of EU immigrants non-EEA spouses,) 92,000 were EU8 immigrants not entitled to British benefits on entry. (Office for National Statistics)
Net "long term" net migration ﬁgures 2011"
250000 Non-‐EEA Immigrants 200000 150000 100000 50000 0 -‐50000 -‐100000 -‐71000 205000 122000 EEA Immigrants British Citizens
REPORT, CASE STUDIES AND RESEARCH ON THE IMPACT OF THE NEW 2012 SPOUSE VISA RULES WITH RECOMMENDATIONS -‐ JUNE 2013
8. British citizensʼ spousesʼ passports on the other hand have always and still are stamped “no recourse for public funds” – which means NO entitlement to welfare benefits. The governmentʼs argument, namely that these rules are to protect the public purse, is clearly aimed to mislead the public. It is only EEA immigrants and their non-EEA spouses that are entitled to the same benefits as British citizens on arrival: 194,000 in 2011 with an extra 77,000 from the new A8 EU countries. (Office for National Statistics) 9. According to The Oxford University Migratory Observatory, in 2011, the year before the new spouse visa rules of British Citizens were brought in, there were only 32,200 British spouse visas granted. This is a tiny proportion of the total “long-term” immigration figures of 566,000 in 2011. (Office of National Statistics, 2012) Spouses of British citizens have never been a problem in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of EEA immigrants freely pouring in to our country every year, who have instant access to our benefit system. There is an elephant in the room here – total NET migration of British Citizens is MINUS 71,000 yet the few British citizens who do wish to stay or return to our home country with their husband/ wife and British children are being prevented from doing so. Surely these very few spouses of selfsufficient British citizens and their British children must take priority?
British Citizens / PRL Family Visas (32,200)# 5%#
Immigration Figures 2011"
ALL Other Immigrants (533,800)# 95%#
ALL Other Immigrants (533,800)# British Citizens / PRL Family Visas (32,200)#
10. The British Public are alarmed about unlimited control of immigration of hundreds of thousand EEA citizens a year, who can freely have a family life with whoever they wish in the UK, with no official income or savings financial requirement. An EEA immigrant can bring in up to 20 of their non-EEA spouses extended family and all have the same rights as British citizens on entry to the UK. They also both get AUTOMATIC citizenship after 5 years. It is widely known, if someone wants to abuse the system, they marry an EEA citizen not British citizen. It has always been difficult to marry a British citizen and live in the UK. The new rules, created only for British citizensʼ spouses who numbers are tiny and have never been allowed access to benefits, are not “getting tough on immigration” or “cutting down benefit abuse”. 11. The government is misleading the public: British citizens who know the difference in the rules for British citizens and EEA immigrants must conclude, that this discrimination against British citizens is designed to give the impression to the general public that “something is being done” about immigration, yet British citizensʼ spouses have never been a problem. The government is aware of the comparatively tiny figures of British citizensʼ non-EEA spouses, who have always been controlled, and the EEA immigration figures with their non-EEA spouses, where numbers cannot be controlled as we are under treaty. However, the government is still misleading the public and press, stating these rules are intended to dramatically reduce immigration and benefit abuse. 12. Since July 2012 18,000 EMPLOYED British citizenʼs non-EEA spouses have been forced to leave by the new spouse visa rules (GOV figures, 2013). This figure mostly represents British MARRIED women with children, made into single parents - some indefinitely. It is an economic and social disaster. 13. British Citizens and their spouses should take priority over families where couples are both immigrants entering our country, especially when neither have to fulfill ANY of the strict financial and language criteria that British citizens Non-EEA spouses must. This is against the British value of fair play and David Cameronʼs repeated claims of fairness being a key Conservative Party value.
Key findings from our case studies
THE NEW SPOUSE VISA RULES ARE NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE 14. The new July 2012 Spouse Visa rules are not fit for purpose and have created the opposite of the intention of purpose: In the case studies submitted there is clear evidence showing the new financial threshold criteria in fact contradict the Coalition Governmentʼs intention of protecting the taxpayer. “The purpose of the minimum income requirement for sponsorship is to ensure family migrants are supported at a reasonable level so that they do not become a burden on the taxpayer and can participate sufficiently in everyday life to facilitate their integration in British society.” - UKBA 15. The new rules are not reasonable: It is not “reasonable” for a family to have ₤62,500 savings in an instant access bank account for 6 months. It is not “reasonable” to force a family with children or a retired person to sell their family home to prove they have equity in their property. Mothers moving from PAYE employment to self-employment and retired citizens often cannot secure a mortgage again. It forces families from a financially stable position to an unstable position, against the taxpayersʼ interests. British citizens with equity in property cannot claim benefits, while a family without property assets can. It is not “reasonable” to deny a British child the right to be brought up by both loving married parents and it is not “reasonable” to force a British child to be educated in a different language to their mother. How can a British child be integrated into British society if they are forced to leave their country to be educated in a different language and culture? Research shows almost half of EMPLOYED British citizens will not meet the new financial threshold; this is not reasonable by any standard of British common moral sense. 16. Many British citizens cannot leave their country even if their spouse is forced to leave. In the following case studies, the British citizen often cannot leave the UK for various reasons, including caring for British elderly, sick or disabled parents or grandparents, British children from a previous marriage, work, study or research commitments, the continuity of an existing childʼs education, the British citizenʼs health or because the British citizen has to fulfill their British employment commitments, also if they have no work or cannot work in the language of their spouses country. If they have children and no home in the foreign country as they do in the UK, it would adversely affect the child to uproot them from their home, education, family and friends or moving to the spouseʼs country poses some kind of threat or danger to the family. 17. The new 2012 visa rules discriminate against British women and mothers: As also concluded in the All-Party Parliamentary Report, June 2013. 61% of full-time employed British women will not meet the financial requirement. (Oxford University Migratory Observatory) In our case studies, many women cannot leave the UK due to womenʼs role in society as carers of children and their British family. The application for a spouse visa is often made when the British mother has young children and they need to be home to gain support of childcare from their families. New mothers especially feel they need to remain in the UK to learn how to care for their newborn baby from their mother, sisters or female English-speaking friends, this is in the interest of their British child and British society. They also need to be close to their families for emotional support at a vulnerable time. Some do not speak the language of their spouseʼs country, as predominately the international language is English. Many of these mothers have careers they can only continue in the UK, many cannot leave their employment until maternity leave starts at which time pregnant women cannot fly. 18. Women have a 50:50 chance of providing care for British relatives before they are 59 compared with men who have the same chance by the time they are 75. (Carers UK, 2000) At the average age of British motherhood, 35 – 44 British women have a 12.5% chance of providing care for a British parent or family member with a chronic illness, disability or elderly relative (Census, 2001). If it is their second or third child the chance increasingly becomes higher, until reaching 50% chance before the age of 50-59. It is highly likely women will be carers for elderly parents or grandparents so cannot leave or must return to the UK. This care responsibility usually represents a ₤11,000 drop in the womanʼs income. (Census, 2001). There are around to 6 million carers in the UK in total, this unpaid care work is worth an estimated ₤87 billion per year nearly as much as the total spending on the NHS. (Carers UK, 2002). This is an average of ₤14,500 per year per carer. 19. THE NEW 2012 SPOUSE VISA RULES OFTEN DIRECTLY FORCE SELF-SUFFICIENT MARRIED WOMENʼS FAMILIES ONTO BENEFITS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR LIVES both if they have to stay in the UK without their husbands as a single parent or if forced to leave to reunite their husbands with their children, the taxpayer has to pick up the bill for their valuable unpaid care work
Key findings from our case studies Group 1: British Women/ British Mothers and their families
20. In ALL Group 1 case studies theses British womenʼs families ALL were clearly self-sufficient yet still did not meet the new “tick box” spouse visa financial requirements for various reasons. They would have been more self-sufficient if granted a spouse visa to be allowed to stay together as a family unit, sharing childcare, household costs, providing emotional support and at least one full-time UK income between the married couple. In 2 case studies married British women were forced onto benefits for the first time in their lives directly because of the new rules creating single parents. Others were made vulnerable. 21. If the married British woman does not meet the new financial threshold criteria, so cannot apply for a Spouse Visa or is declined a Spouse Visa. The husband cannot enter the UK for any reason or under any circumstances. If the spouse applies for any other type visa they are declined. Reasons such as “suspected circumvention of the spouse visa rules” or “on the balance of probabilities the spouse will want to stay”. Once married, a spouse, especially with children has less right to visit their family than if unmarried. 22. Women often cannot leave the UK because: Group 1a) They are carers for their elderly, sick or disabled British family: Group 1b) They have to stay for the welfare of their children Group 1c) They have to stay to fulfill their study, work contracts and commitments Group 1d) They have children by a previous marriage and cannot take their British child away from their father because of British family law. 23. British children with married loving parents are being made fatherless for indefinite periods of time. It is often unknown when the family can be together again. This is still culturally shameful for many British women who clearly value the concept of marriage, causing deep distress to mother and child. 24. British married women are being forced to give birth and care for their newborns alone, husbands are not even allowed to visit at a very vulnerable time for a woman and child. 25. The husband dearly wishes to be allowed to live in the UK to support his British wife and child/ children: he should be allowed to. It is perverse to leave the taxpayer to cover the costs. 26. The new 2012 Spouse Visa rules strip British married women of their emotional, financial standing, their social status and strip British children of their fathers. As clearly illustrated in Group 1 case studies, this provably does not benefit society or the taxpayer in any way. It is not only morally corrupt and against British values but also against the British Magna Carta, the British 1989 Childrenʼs Act, as well as Article 8 of the Human Rights laws. There is a huge body of evidence that stripping British children of their fathers is against their welfare. The Magna Carta clearly states a free woman should not be stripped of her rights or standing in anyway. These women have been in some cases stripped of their financial and social standing, in other cases stripped of their mental or physical health, in a couple of cases stripped of their unborn British children, four through miscarriage caused by stress due to the new rules and being parted from their husbands, and one who had no choice but abort a loved and dearly wanted baby. The first case study in this group was stripped of her life through suicide taking the life of her 2 year-old son with her. Comments of thoughts of suicide are worryingly common in these womenʼs stories and indicate significant suffering as a direct result of the 2012 Spouse Visa rules.
BRITISH WOMAN COMMITS SUICIDE TAKING HER CHILDʼS LIFE WITH HER: This story was not submitted as all the other case studies and is from a newspaper article. We have included this story as many of the women this has affected have also felt this level of desperation and depression. Judging by the number of women who talk about thoughts of suicide in their stories, we are concerned that many more will take their own lives due to the new spouse visa rules.
Mrs Donna - A British haulage company worker from Surrey with husband from Egypt and their 3year-old son. When Mrs Donna became pregnant she returned to live with her mother in Surrey - (possibly for help and guidance as many women do with their first child or maybe she was a carer - it is unclear in the reports) She worked, was not entitled to a council house and took care of her baby without the physical and emotional support of her husband for 3 years. “Mrs Donna Oettinger started to suffer from depression last April when her husband Mr Nahr was not allowed to come and live in the UK because of Visa issues.” (The Daily Mail) Suggesting, like other mothers in these stories, her husband was not even allowed to visit because they were married and her anxiety attacks and deep depression stemmed from his enforced absence. A friend said: “It all came from the stress of her relationship. The bureaucracy got to her. They would not let him come over, even though he was Zakiʼs dad. They were not allowed to be together.” (The Mirror)
Case studies - Group 1a: BRITISH CARERS: PREDOMINANTLY WOMEN
IF THE BRITISH WIFE/ MOTHER LEAVES THE UK to be reunited with her husband and father of their British children, the taxpayer often has to pick up the bill for the valuable unpaid care work of these predominately female carers. In all theses case studies the families are clearly self-sufficient and would be more self-sufficient if granted a spouse visa to be allowed to stay together as a family unit, sharing childcare, household costs, providing emotional support and at least one full-time UK income between them. Yet if family life in the UK is denied under the new rules and their husband is forced to leave the UK, the British wife/ mother is also forced to leave by proxy to be reunited with her husband and often father of their children meaning the British wife must give up their unpaid care work of their elderly, sick or disabled British relative.
Mrs Megan - A British Domiciliary Care Worker for a Charitable Housing Association from South Wales with husband from Ukraine - has to stay in the UK to be close to her disabled mother. If forced to leave to be reunited with her husband, she will have to give up her valuable employment and care of her mother. Mrs Megan is a trained Care Worker and was earning enough as a carer for a Charitable Housing Association to support herself and her husband in the small town in South Wales where they live but Mrs Meganʼs income as a Care Worker is under the new financial threshold. The stress caused by the new rules led her to have anxiety and depression, two car crashes and then eventually nervous breakdown at age 27. Mrs Megan has contemplated suicide because of the new rules. She feels there is no hope of being reunited with her husband.
Mrs Anon. 1 - in this version of the report – this story has been removed. A British Woman with nonEEA husband and their three children. Caring for three British relatives.
Case studies - Group 1a: BRITISH CARERS: PREDOMINANTLY WOMEN
Miss Louise - A British NHS worker from Kent with Fiancé from Tunisia and their baby of 9 months has to stay to care for her mother with Multiple Sclerosis. Miss Louise is being prevented from marrying her fiancé by the governmentʼs new rules. Her fiancé was not allowed to even visit and was forced to miss the birth of his British child, leaving his fiancée to give birth, care for their newborn and her mother with MS alone. He still has not yet held his 9-month-old baby. Their British baby will have already lost the welldocumented biological window of natural attachment formed by smell to her father. Miss Louise is selfsufficient and working for the NHS, she does not meet the new financial requirement because she is paid under the threshold by the government. Her fiancé is not allowed to join his family in the UK, Miss Louise will have no choice but to leave and the taxpayer may have to pay for her daily unpaid care work for her mother with MS.
Mrs Clare - A British Legal Translator and Legal Advisor from East Yorkshire with husband from Chile, Lieutenant Commander of the Chilean Navy, and soon to be adopted baby. Mrs Clare is highly qualified with a bilingual LLB in Law and International LLM (International Masters in Law) trilingual, she worked on the Government fast stream for several years and worked for BAE systems in Portsmouth Naval base. Mrs Clare speaks 4 languages and has prepared for motherhood with a “portfolio of incomes” yet in Chile earns less than the ₤18,600 British threshold because salaries and cost of living are significantly lower than in the UK. The new tick box rules will not count her low overheads, substantial savings, pension or property assets. Her mother recently had an operation to remove a brain tumour, highlighting the importance of being able to live close enough to support her family. Being forced to sell the family home would not contribute to stability at such an important time with a young baby. Mrs Clare will be earning under the threshold while caring for their young baby, and will therefore not be able to sponsor her husbandʼs spouse visa. Mrs Clare's father can also look after Mrs Clare's mother, but Mrs Clare is prevented from returning with her family to give valuable emotional care and support for her mother.
Case studies - Group 1a: BRITISH UNPAID CARERS: PREDOMINANTLY WOMEN
Mrs Sandra - no picture. A British Telesales Operator from Bournemouth with a husband from Egypt and daughter from a previous marriage - Mrs Sandra had to stay to care for her grandmother but after miscarrying her husbandʼs child due to stress caused by the new rules, she has left. The taxpayer may have to pay for her unpaid care work for her grandmother. Sandra was self-sufficient working in telesales and would have remained self-sufficient had her husband been granted a spouse visa and had been allowed to work. Their spouse visa wasnʼt granted because a fault of the bank led to the payment of their application fee being declined and they were not allowed another chance to pay by the UKBA. There is no right of appeal under the new rules.
Mrs Sharon - A British 50 year-old NHS worker with a husband from America. She cannot leave the UK as she must care for her elderly mother, Mrs Sharon works full time but her salary is under the new financial requirement and cannot see herself ever earning over the threshold in West Yorkshire. Mrs Sharon is currently prescribed anti-depressants and has thoughts of suicide. Mrs Sharonʼs husband wanted to come to the UK to console her but his visitorʼs visa was declined because they are married. Mrs Sharon believes choosing between leaving her elderly mother or leaving her husband is not a “choice”. If the government continues to deny her family life in the UK and if her health declines further through stress, the taxpayer may have to pay for Mrs Sharonʼs unpaid care work.
Summary of case studies of British carers - Group 1a
In ALL examples the families are clearly self-sufficient and would be more self-sufficient if granted a spouse visa, yet if the government succeeds in denying these British women carers family life in the UK under the new rules, forcing the British citizen to leave against their will by proxy, the taxpayer has to pick up the bill for the valuable unpaid care work of these British women.
Case studies - Group 1b
BRITISH MOTHERS WHO CANNOT LEAVE THE UK BECAUSE OF THE WELFARE OF THEIR CHILDREN IF THE MARRIED BRITISH MOTHER/ FATHER STAYS IN THE UK to care for their elderly, sick or disabled British family or for the welfare considerations of their British children, they are forced to live as “single parents”, making them more likely to claim benefits. It could potentially force many into poverty. It is well documented to be difficult to work full time and care for young babies and children alone. In our case studies, two ordinarily self-sufficient married womenʼs families were directly forced onto benefits for the first time in their lives, their families would have remained self-sufficient if granted a spouse visa.
Mrs Shona - A British Microbiologist (Bsc (Hons) from Scotland with ordained Lebanese Minister husband (MA) and their four children. Mrs Shona returned and relocated to the UK at considerable cost to arrange education for her four young British children, all under eight years old. The rules changed two days after arrival, without warning. If they had been granted a spouse visa, as a family they would be totally selfsufficient as they would be able to share childcare and work duties. Mrs Shona has not been able to earn enough, as she also has to care for her four children alone. Mrs Shona has been stripped of her financial, social and emotional standing as a married British woman, forced to become a “married single mother” and claim benefits by the new rules, as she could not take the children out of school disrupting them again during the academic year and the Home Office has advised against non-essential travel to an area where her husbandʼs home has just been hit by mortar fire. Mrs Shonaʼs British children speak their mother’s tongue of English and struggle to thrive in Lebanese schools, it will adversely affect the welfare of the four British children to leave an education system they are thriving in, as will remaining fatherless.
Mrs Catherine - A British Nurse from Buckinghamshire with a husband from India who can work as a primary school Teacher in the UK with their 2 children - Mrs Catherine has to stay to adequately care for her son with Aspergers syndrome and her children have been threatened with death in her husbandʼs country due to their inter-racial marriage. Mrs Catherine is a nurse but if her husband cannot join her, with 2 young children she will be unable to return to work and therefore not be able to sponsor her husbandʼs visa. Without her husbandʼs physical support with childcare and UK income Mrs Catherine has been stripped of her financial, social and emotional standing as a married British woman, forced to become a “married single mother” and claim benefits by the new rules. Unless her husband can join her, she could be forced onto benefits long term until her son is fully grown because of his demanding requirements. Moving to the EU would be against the welfare of her son, who cannot cope with such changes.
Case studies - Group 1c
BRITISH MOTHERS WHO CANNOT LEAVE THE UK BECAUSE OF STUDY AND WORK COMMITMENTS The new rules strip British married women of their social status and their emotional and financial standing. They are forced to live as “married single mothers” forced to give birth and bring up newborn babies alone, their British children made fatherless, they cannot leave due to their study and work contracts and commitments. In all these cases studies the British wife and mother are clearly self-sufficient and would be more self-sufficient if granted a spouse visa for their husbands yet do not meet the financial criteria for various reasons.
Mrs Emily - A British Mother, studying a degree to become a Social Worker from Suffolk with a husband from Tranpani and their 5-month-old daughter. Mrs Emily cannot leave the UK as she is studying her degree and very hardworking; Mrs Emily has university on Fridays, study on Thursdays, a Social Service work placement for 3 days and works 2 days at the weekend. If Mrs Emilyʼs husband were granted a spouse visa their family would be self-sufficient, as her parents have pledged financial support. As with all our case studies, there is no justification for keeping this family apart, they clearly would not be “a burden on the taxpayer”. Mrs Emily was forced to give birth without her husband and care for their newborn without her husband. Their daughter has only met her father once on a short trip to Tranpani when she was 3 months old. Under the current rules, Mrs Emilyʼs husband is not even allowed to visit because they are married. They will be kept apart until Mrs Emily has first finished her degree and then worked for over six months, then go through the process of applying for a spouse visa, in total possibly two years. It is unjustifiable to deny a British child with loving married parents of their father for this length of time in the formative years of her life when this family would clearly not be a “burden on the state”. THE FAMILY OF THE BRITISH SPOUSE/PARTNER SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PLEDGE THEIR FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO THE APPLICANT: as allowed in US immigration law.
Mrs Marianne: Internationally known Inventor, Designer, and Entrepreneur from London with a husband from Japan. Mrs Marianne is a hard working British married woman who has prepared for children with a “portfolio of incomes” to ensure stable and flexible income streams while bringing up children. She is highly qualified and experienced in her field, Internationally head hunted by companies such as Tesla Motors and Yamaha, with over 20 patents. She is currently working full time on the prototype of her latest invention; a new urban eco-vehicle for London with 10 British manufacturers and 3 Universities, which will
generate a substantial income stream when completed. The project is potentially of great benefit to the British economy. Mrs Marianne owns two properties; lives in one with no mortgage and has rental income from the other. She is able to work on the project full time only due to working hard to pay off her mortgage by her early 30ʼs. Her assets and low overheads will not be taken into account unless she sells her home when they are expecting their first child, pushing her from a financially stable to unstable position. Mrs Marianne will find it difficult to get another mortgage as she is now self-employed and expecting her first child. Forcing the sale of their family home will jeopardizes the vehicle project. Mrs Marianne earns over the threshold but 3 of 4 of her income streams will not be counted. Her PAYE income will not be counted, as University Lecturers are contracted per term rather than every six months. PAYE income and self-employment income cannot be combined also discounting Mrs Marianneʼs Design Consultant income. A Japanese pension is also not counted as it was paid as one lump sum rather than in 12 monthly installments. The vehicle project cannot continue if Mrs Marianne is forced out of her country as she is the Inventor and Project Manager, it also cannot continue if her husband is forced to leave her a “married single mother” without support with their baby. As a commuter vehicle (made in the UK) it could save commuters between ₤5 - ₤6,000 a year in running costs. ENTREPRENEURS and projects valuable to the taxpayer, economy and British academic institutions, should have consideration in a review of the new rules. BRITISH MARRIED WOMAN FORCED TO “CHOOSE” BETWEEN HER HUSBAND, HER SICK MOTHER OR HER UNBORN CHILD - Politicians claim the new spouse visa rules give a “choice”, stay and meet the requirements or leave - the women who submitted their stories show that this represents no “choice” at all.
Mrs Anon.2 A British High-flying freelancer from England with a Merchant Mariner husband from the Philippines - Mrs Anon.2 is typical of a hard working, British married woman, earning approximately ₤40,000 per annum, who has paid into the system all her life and has prepared for children with a “portfolio of incomes” to ensure stable and flexible income streams while bringing up children. She is highly educated, working freelance on highly specialized valuable field research, she earns over the threshold but her income will not be counted because she works a series of short contracts. A shortterm contract can only count if you have worked a PAYE position for the 12 months prior to the short-term contract with no break. If you are a regular freelancer or self-employed as many women are, this is not typical. Mrs Anon.2 has to stay in the UK to look after her sick mother and recently was forced by the new rules to abort her and her husbandʼs dearly wanted child so she could work to fulfill the new financial requirement as specified in the tick box rules. The alternative was to live as a forced “married single mother”, basically “divorce by proxy” and for her British child to be fatherless for 2-3 years until the child is old enough for her to return to work. Mrs Anonʼs job is often offshore for 5 weeks at a time so would not be able to return to work without the physical support of her husband to look after their child. Mrs Anon.2 is a married British woman, forced to abort her first child at aged 40 as a direct result of the spouse visa rules. On the abortion documents under reason for termination, it says “the 2012 Spouse Visa Rules”. She is now profoundly distressed and depressed, at age 40 her doctor says she may never conceive again. - This is not a one off situation, one of the other stories from a British married man and his wife are having to a similar impossible “choice”. Mrs Nikki - A British part-time worker from Scotland with a husband from Canada and their 2 yearold son: Forced to be a “married single mother” for 6 months of the year, working 6 months in the UK parttime in desperate hope of earning enough to sponsor her husbandʼs spouse visa while she looks after their two year old son, so they can be close to her supportive parents and 6 months in Canada so their son can see his father. Mrs Nikkiʼs husband was refused entry to the UK on a visitorʼs visa because they are married with a child and therefore missed their sons first Christmas. Mrs Nikki is clearly self-sufficient and would be more so if her husband is granted a Spouse visa to support with childcare and UK second income.
Case studies - Group 1d
BRITISH MOTHERS WHO CANNOT LEAVE THE UK WITH THEIR CHILDREN FROM A PREVIOUS MARRIAGE OR RELATIONSHIP Children of British fathers cannot be taken to live out of the country due to British family law. In these case studies the British married women have previously proven they are self-sufficient as “single parents” yet are more likely to be forced onto benefits without the physical support of their husbands for childcare of new children. If their husbands were granted spouse visas they would be more financially and emotionally stable as married women than they are currently.
Mrs Nicola - A British Entrepreneur from Scotland with a husband from Turkey and mother of a British son from a previous marriage, who cannot be taken out of the country because of British family law. Mrs Nicola is expecting her second child with her husband. Mrs Nicolaʼs husband was declined a visitorʼs visa and is not allowed to even visit the UK until 2019 because UKBA assumed he did not meet his business contact on a business trip before they were married - which he did. Nicola is self-sufficient and continues to try and build her barbershop business, while being a single parent to her son but her income will not meet the new “tick box” spouse visa financial rules. Without her husband to support her with childcare of their second child, as he is not even allowed to visit the UK until 2019, Mrs Nicola will be forced to give birth and care for their newborn alone. Itʼs possible she could be forced onto benefits directly because of the new visa rules. Mrs Nicolaʼs son was let down by his biological British father, and is heartbroken will also being denied his stepfather. Their soon to be born British child will be denied the support, love and care of her father for the first 6 years of her life. This does not benefit the taxpayer or society in any way. Mrs Alice - A full time worker in retail from Norfolk with Husband from Tunisia with an 8 year old daughter from a previous marriage, who cannot be taken out of the country because of British family law. Mrs Alice is a self-sufficient as a single parent in the small town where she lives and uses her savings to visit her husband in Tunisia 3 times per year, as her Tunisian husband is not allowed to even visit the UK. Under the new rules married couples can only apply for spouse visas, a British citizenʼs spouse will be declined any other type of visa as “suspected circumvention of the spouse visa rules”. Alice is clearly selfsufficient yet will still be declined a spouse visa as she earns under the threshold and her low outgoings will not be taken into account in the new rules. Mrs Alice ʼs story contradicts the taxpayer argument. She is clearly self-sufficient now and would be more self sufficient if her husband could join her. This story was selected by Liberty in their submission to the APPG report 2012. Mrs Dee - A British full time public sector worker from England with a husband from Turkey with her young son from a previous relationship and her husbandʼs newborn baby - Mrs Dee cannot leave as she is waiting for an upcoming operation. Her husband applied for a visitor visa in order to see if he could be happy living in the UK but it was declined because he is married with a child to Mrs Dee. If you are married to a British citizen you have less right to enter the UK than if unmarried. Mrs Dee earns ₤16,300, which is over the living wage and is self-sufficient, but will not meet the new spouse visa financial threshold, as low outgoings and cost of living where she lives will not be taken into account. The new rules are inflexible and so their spouse visa was declined. Mrs Deeʼs first son has a hard time understanding why he canʼt be with the man he considers a father figure, their baby daughter talks to the TV as if itʼs her own father because she has only seen her dad on Skype. Mrs Dee was forced to give birth and cope with their newborn alone, as she will with her upcoming operation. As a family they would definitely be self-sufficient, as a single parent she is more likely to claim benefits. SELF-SUFFICIENT BRITISH WOMAN CANNOT MARRY BECAUSE SHE WORKS FOR THE NHS Ms Barbara - A British full time NHS Health Care Assistant from Cheshire with a non-EEA Fiancé – Ms Barbara cannot leave because of her British teenage son – Ms Barbara would earn over the income threshold if she worked in the same role in London but cannot move her sonʼs education. She has worked hard all her life and has almost paid off her mortgage; her low outgoings are not taken in the new rules. Mrs Barbara is clearly self-sufficient, making 14 trips abroad in the last three years to be with her fiancé but still has been denied family life because she is a NHS Healthcare Assistant and paid by the government. Her teenage son witnesses her stress and despair.
Key findings from our case studies - Group 1: British Women / Mothers The new spouse visa rules disproportionately affect British women.
27. British wives often cannot leave the UK for various reasons even if their husbands are forced to leave their wives by the new rules: Our case studies show women often cannot leave the UK because: a) they have commitments to care for elderly, sick and disabled British family due to this being a predominately female role in society. b) they have commitments as mothers; they often have to stay for the welfare of their British children; i) they rely upon social, financial, emotional and physical childcare support from their British families; a weekly visit from family cannot replace the daily support of a husband yet the British mother also needs the support and mentoring from her female family members, especially if having her first child. This structure has been the structure of a good society since the beginning of civilization. ii) to provide education. If the mother tongue of their British children is mostly English, the British child sometimes cannot be educated in their husbandʼs language or country. iii) to provide a suitable home iv) if a woman has an existing child by a British man, she legally is not allowed to move the child out of the country under British family law. c) they must fulfill their work contracts. If pregnant they have to fulfill their contract up until maternity leave, at which time they cannot travel. d) they have health or disability considerations or if there are any complications in pregnancy.
The new financial threshold criteria discriminates against women
28. The majority of stories submitted from families that were clearly self-sufficient yet still did not meet the new “tick box” financial criteria for various reasons were women. Although over 75% of British citizens applying for spouse visas are men. 29. This could be for several reasons such as: a) Womenʼs median annual salary for full-time employment is 19.7% less than menʼs in the UK (Office for National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings – ASHE, 2012) They are therefore more likely to be one of the 47% EMPLOYED British Citizens declined under the new rules - as a womenʼs income is significantly less than a British manʼs for full time work. b) Women are more likely to be NHS workers, nurses and teachers and other high social value yet low paid work: In all cases where the womanʼs income is under the financial threshold, it is because they are full time essential public workers - NHS workers, nurses and teachers (apart from one case, who was in retail). Surely these British women are valuable? Should NHS workers, carers and nurses not have a right to family life? The new spouse visa rules declare they do not. c) Womenʼs position in society: they are the main carers of children and elderly, sick or disabled British family, they will therefore often be in part time work, self employment or supported by their husbands – and rightly so at this point in their lives. 30. In ALL our case studies the British womenʼs family is self-sufficient and would remain selfsufficient is granted a spouse visa. The “tick box” financial criteria does not fairly assess their selfsufficiency for several reasons: a) Many typical ways British women earn are not counted in the new rules: It is widely known a
women caring for young children or women preparing to have children, steer their career towards selfemployment, short term contract work, with a “portfolio of flexible incomes”. Women planning to or who have children have to be flexible, but the new spouse visa income requirements are not. i) Self-employment income: Hardworking British women who have paid self-employment National Insurance contributions in faith for many years will now not qualify to meet the financial requirement threshold when on Maternity Allowance if their husbandʼs income is not allowed to be counted. Under the new rules self-employment income can only be counted if the British citizen is VAT registered or if the self-employment income is audited. It is well known that women are far more likely to be in service industry self-employment, where being VAT registered is not in the interests of the business and therefore not in the financial interests of the British womenʼs family. It is often laughable for the womenʼs self-employment income to be audited, a company needs to have a turnover of ₤6.5 million to be audited, or have more than 50 employees. The average cost of an audit for a small company costs ₤9,500. (Financial Times, 2011) - See also Mr Robert 3ʼs story in the appendix. ii) Mixing self-employment with PAYE employment is not allowed - If a British Citizen earns ₤18,500 in PAYE and ₤18,500 in self-employment income, they will be declined. iii) College / university lecturing positions are contracted per term and therefore are not counted; unless there is a 12 month PAYE contract prior to the short term contract. This is not typical of lecturing positions. In our case studies, Three University Lecturersʼ incomes are not counted. iv) Freelancers within creative or specialist industries tend to work consecutive short-term contracts, between a known network of employers; it is not typical to work a 12-month PAYE contract prior to a short term contract in a life career in these industries. b) Total family income is not considered; the spouse ʼs income is not counted in the new rules: For British women especially with children, their husbandʼs contracted job offers in the UK, incomes from businesses that can be run internationally, or continued income streams from the spouses home country should be counted to assess the true financial position of the family. c) Assets and low outgoings are not counted: In our case studies, often the familyʼs outgoings are very low, sometimes due to the familyʼs location in the UK and sometimes because of the British citizenʼs property assets. Low outgoings and property assets should be counted without having to sell a family home in a review of the new rules, especially for British citizens with children or retired people.
The new financial threshold criteria discriminates against mothers
31. In the new 2012 spouse visa rules a British mother caring for young children is expected to meet the same income financial requirement as a British man: As illustrated by many “FEMALE STRIVER” stories it does not matter how hard you have worked, how much you have paid into the system or how much you have contributed to society. For ALL women pregnancy, childbirth and the care of young babies is the great leveller, ALL women must give up work and be supported by their husbands at this time. These mothers feel it is deeply immoral to discriminate against British women because of this biological, social function and role of women ingrained in our bodies and culture. Nick Clegg and Boris Johnson have both married international spouses. It is not a far stretch to imagine if Baroness Margaret Thatcher lived in todayʼs generation she may have married an “international Dennis”. From 1951 – 1955 her husband and family financially supported Margaret Thatcher, she did not work for over four years immediately after her marriage. She spent this time being a mother to her twins and studying. If Margaret Thatcher had married today to an international “Dennis” and applied for a spouse visa at this time (as most newlyweds do) she would have been declined, she would have been forced to live as a single mother, her husband Dennis removed from the country or she too would have been forced to leave with him, possibly exiled from her country forever under the new rules, which make it very difficult for British mothers to return or pursue their careers as illustrated in the “Exiles” cases studies in the following pages. Regardless of political leanings this is a deep injustice, it's neither fair, British or right, it is against our Magna Carta yet this is what this Conservative Government are doing to women.
The new rules are not fit for purpose: they do not benefit or “protect the taxpayer” and are against the stated intention of “integration.”
32. High calibre British women and mothers are being forced out of their own country when they are clearly more than self-sufficient - Entrepreneurs with potentially high value businesses and PhD researchers are being forced out of their country. 33. The taxpayer has to pick up the bill for the valuable unpaid care work of British women looking after their elderly, sick or disabled family members, if they are forced to leave their country by proxy - In all case studies the British wife/ mother is self-sufficient and would remain self-sufficient if her husband was granted a spouse visa. Yet if declined the right to family life under the new rules, the British wife and carer of British family members is forced to leave to be reunited with her husband and father of her children. 34. The new rules make married mothers live as single parents: this is well documented to make single parents vulnerable to become a burden on the taxpayer. 35. In ALL case studies the British wife/ mother is self-sufficient and would remain self-sufficient if her husband was granted a spouse visa. Yet if declined the right to family life under the new rules, it strips the British married mother of her social status and her emotional and financial standing. If British married woman are forced to live as to live as a "SINGLE PARENTS". They are more likely to be forced onto benefits without the physical support of their husbands to work as a family unit. In two cases married mothers were forced for the first time in their lives onto benefits, in other cases the single mother and taxpayer is in a more vulnerable position. 36. Not granting a spouse visa forces the family to spend a huge amount of money appealing first within the system and then appealing through human rights FLR (O) which in total costs between ₤5,000 and ₤10,000. 47% of employed British citizens families will now be declined: most of the 47% declined will be women. The process is extremely distressing and distracts the couple from their work and families, again forcing an average financially secure family into poverty. 37. Forcing a British mother to sell their familyʼs home, forces the family from a financially secure position to insecure position. This is not in the taxpayerʼs interest. If a British citizen has equity in their homes they are not entitled to claim benefits, not forcing the sale of a family home protects the taxpayer. 38. Forcing a British mother to leave her country by proxy and forcing a British child to be educated in a foreign language to their British mother, creating a communication gap between British mother and child and does not integrate the child into British life, language and culture and is therefore against the British childʼs welfare and against the governments stated intention for integration. A British child should be educated in English to be integrated in society.
The new rules are against the welfare and rights of British women
39. Women are having their first child on average age of 30 (Office of National Statistics, 2012) and graduates at age 35 (Prof Dorling, 2012) and at an even older age if they are waiting until they are financially secure enough to start a family. At this age any delay in being reunited with their husband dramatically lowers their chances of having children. Many womenʼs weddings in our case studies were on average postponed by one year in order to jump through the governmentʼs new language requirement hoop. If a spouse visa is declined, which is currently now a more likely chance for British woman sponsors; the married couples are separated for a further year while an appeal is made. After the age of 35, every year in delay of having children dramatically increases the womenʼs chances of having a disabled or diabetic child or complications during pregnancy. These are delays the British women could have never planned for. The new rules were brought very rapidly with no pre-warning. These long delays and concerns in the rapidly closing window of fertility between the age of 35 – 40 (where it is now normal for graduates to have children) can make a woman very anxious and affect their mental health.
The new rules are against the welfare of British children and mothers
40. The British wife ʼs husband is not even allowed to visit the UK under the new rules for any reason. The only visa a husband will be granted is a spouse visa; all other visa types will be declined due to the assumption the husband will want to stay. 41. British MARRIED women are being forced to live as “single mothers”. British children are made fatherless unable to bond with enforced absent fathers: This is a tragedy for British children of married loving parents. 42. The new rules force British women to give birth alone and care for their newborns alone : Our cases studies show this now a common occurrence. When the husband returns to their home country to apply for a spouse visa, it is often unknown at the time of application whether the application will be accepted or declined. Even if it appears the British woman earns over the new financial threshold, often her income is not counted, or they are declined for other bureaucratic reasons. If declined, it forces the mother to give birth alone without her husband then to cope with a newborn alone at an emotionally vulnerable time. It has been shown in our case studies to adversely affect the motherʼs financial, physical and mental health. 43. The husband is not allowed to support his family, making the taxpayer more vulnerable for support: Our case studies found a husband is not allowed to look for work in the UK or physically support his wife with childcare and UK income, leaving the taxpayer vulnerable to provide the support the father desperately wants to give. A new type of 9 month visa should be created, a “Work Search and Family Support Visa “: for fathers to be at the birth of their British children. The family should show they can support themselves for 9 months to the same level of other existing visas such as the “student visitor visa” to support their wives through at least the last trimester of pregnancy and the first 6 months after the birth of their child. The husband in this time, can support his wife, both physically with childcare and offer emotional support. Furthermore, they can search for work and work in the UK to financially provide for their family and therefore protect the taxpayer. Job offers and work started in this period should be allowed to count towards the financial threshold of the spouse visa, they then should be allowed to apply for from within the UK to ensure continuity of employment and support of the British mother and child. A family financial plan could be submitted. Married British citizens families should be encouraged to stay together and be self sufficient for the welfare of their British children and the taxpayer.
The new rules are against the welfare and rights of British children
44. British Children have rights under British Law: The 1989 Childrenʼs Act states: “The childʼs welfare shall be the courtʼs paramount consideration.” “In any proceedings in which any question with respect to the upbringing of a child arises, the court shall have regard to the general principle that any delay in determining the question is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child” 45. Any delay, any separation of a British child from their parent is unlawful under British law when it is against the welfare of the child to do so. It is unacceptable, against British law and morally corrupt to force a British childʼs parent to be physically away from the child, depriving the child of physical parental love and support for any length of time especially at birth and in the formative years of their life. 46. Research has shown it is essential for the child's future emotional well being, for parents to form a physical bond with their babies and young children. A fatherless child will often later exhibit behavioral problems, poor social adjustment, truancy (71% of drop outs are fatherless), delinquency (85% of child delinquents have an absent father), promiscuity and teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness (90% of runaway children have an absent father), mental health disorders and life chances such as future job status are lowered and prospects of unemployment increased. (UNICEF report, 2007)
47. Under the new rules, the British childʼs non-EEA parent being forced out of the country to apply for a spouse visa, has been shown in our case studies to cause, at best a substantial delay in parenting and at worse an indefinite separation from the child, which is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child. Once the British citizenʼs spouse has left the country to apply, half of applications that were previously granted will now be turned down under the new rules. There is no guarantee an appeal will be won from the spouseʼs country. If declined, an appeal usually takes 9 months to a year. Depriving the British child for this length of time from either their mother or father will clearly affect the welfare of both the British child and British parent. If after that year of living alone and an appeal is not won, it often it sends the British citizen into deep depression, which also affects the welfare of the child. If an appeal is not won the child could be made fatherless permanently. 48. In many of the stories received from mothers, thoughts of suicide are common as they can see no way out of their situation, especially if they feel they cannot leave because of parental care responsibilities. Many resort to anti-depressants, the state of mind of the parent will also have a profound effect on the child together with the absence of the other parent. Please see the case of the London working mother, Mrs Donna who committed suicide and also took the life of her child with her after falling into deep depression after learning there was no hope of the father of her child ever being able to come to support her. Living as a single mother she got into debt. 49. 85% of women in normal circumstances will experience temporary postnatal depression and a further 10-15% will suffer a long-term postnatal depression. (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2012) 50. Research has found in longitudinal studies there is an impact on cognitive development, including language development and intelligence in baby and children whose mother had suffered postnatal depression. (Grace et al., 2003) It is clearly not in the childʼs interests for their mother to suffer depression. It is a vulnerable time for women after birth of children. From the case studies submitted by British mothers with young children whose husband has been forced to leave them at such a vulnerable time, 100% are deeply distressed and far more than the national average of 10-15% of women have clinical depression and are medicated. It is clear the new spouse visa rules cause deep distress to the British married mother, which is likely to adversely affect the British childʼs welfare. Many of the women report miscarrying babies due to stress caused by the new visa rules and being separated from their husbands.
Key findings from our case studies - Group 2
BRITISH MEN SPLIT FROM THEIR WIVES AND NEWBORN BRITISH BABIES 51. The new rules are splitting British husbands from their newborn babies for a minimum of a year to 2 years - the new rules state if the British citizen has not had earnings over the British financial threshold for 12 months before returning in the country of their spouse, then they must return without their wives, babies and children and first find work, then work for six months earning over the threshold, then go through the spouse visa application process, which according to the Home Office website is currently taking 6 months. If the application fails it will take another year for an appeal. They will be forced to become absent fathers for possibly three years if they wish to return to their home country with their families. 52. Under the new rules British husbands have to leave their married wives to live as “single mothers” for between a year and a year and a half. This is still taboo in many cultures, as it arguably still is in ours. 53. This is clearly against the welfare of the British child and against the 1989 Childrenʼs Act as discussed in the findings of Group 1
Mr David: A British man from England with a wife from Taiwan with their newborn British daughter. Mr David has a signed solid contract with a salary over the new financial threshold, yet still has to leave his wife to be a “married single mother” in Taiwan to cope with looking after their newborn alone for possibly up to a year. He first has to work for six months before they can apply for a spouse visa, then the application process and then the decision time could take another six months (based on the statistics on the Home Office website). Mr Davidʼs family are clearly self-sufficient, yet under the new rules his British daughter will be denied the right to bond with her British father for a year. Leaving his wife and new born possibly for one year will be the worst experience of Mr Davidʼs life. This destruction to British families is unjustifiable.
Mr Nicholas: A British graduate from Brunel University in American Studies from Southampton with a wife from America. Married in 2007, Mr Nicholas is a lead Sales Manager yet in Wisconsin where they live salaries are much lower than the UK (₤15,000). His wife also works teaching drama to children, plus writing and directing. They have had some bad luck in the US; flooding then eventual demolition of their home. Mr Nicholasʼs parents desperately want their sonʼs family to come home so they can financially support them and provide childcare. The new visa rules will not allow parents to sponsor or pledge their financial support so Mr Nicholas will have to leave his wife and two year old son to come to the UK to search
for a job that meets the new financial requirements. This may take a few months then he has to work for 6 months before they can make an application and then the application process and decision time will be a further 6 months. Mr Nicholasʼs baby son will be denied a father for around possibly 1.5 years in total. This is not in the interests of his British sonʼs welfare and is unjustifiable when this family would be financially supported by Mr Nicholasʼs parents and would not be “a burden on the state.” Pledged parental financial support should be allowed in a review of the spouse visa rules.
Mr Lee 1: A British Employee from Essex with a wife from Colombia with their newborn British daughter. Mr Leeʼs and his wife were married in Columbia and have now been married for almost 3 years. When they returned to the UK, Mr Leeʼs wife had to come to the UK on a visitorʼs visa because an old criteria for spouse visas was that spouses had to be over 21. This has since been ruled to be unlawful in British law. Shortly after arrival Mr Leeʼs wife discovered she was pregnant and suffered from severe morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum and was too ill to travel. They applied for an extension to stay, to be together for the birth of their baby. Mr Leeʼs family is clearly self-sufficient, as they have been living in the UK as a family unassisted, yet under the new spouse visa rules his wife and daughter are currently facing deportation.
Mr Robert 1: A British primary school Teacher on the Teach First Program from Wirral with a wife from Korea expecting their first child in September. The Teach First Program is actively recruiting male teachers, as there is a national shortage. From September this year Mr Robert will be working as an unqualified teacher, with a salary under the minimum financial requirement for the first year. From the second year Mr Robert will be a fully qualified teacher with a primary PGCE. He does not have the £62,500 savings, which would be an alternative to a job providing the minimum salary of £18,600. In order to attend a mandatory summer school Mr Robert has to return to the UK, leaving his heavily pregnant and anxious wife in Korea. She will have to have the baby without her husband and Mr Robert will be denied at least the first important six months to a year of his baby’s life, leaving his wife alone at a vulnerable time when she needs his support and Mr Roberts needs time to bond with his British daughter. Mr Robert will fully support his wife and will be self-sufficient. His family is also willing to pledge financial support but it is not allowed in the new rules. Although Mr Robert’s family would be self-sufficient, his British baby daughter will be denied the right to bond with her father. This is clearly not of benefit to society or the taxpayer.
Case studies - Group 3
SELF-SUFFICIENT BRITSIH CITZIENS WITH LOW OUTGOINGS STRIPPED OF THEIR PROPERTY In these case studies the British citizen is often a highly educated, high “achiever” who earns over the threshold but their incomes and low outgoings will not be counted under the new “tick box” financial requirements or they are retired British citizens.
Key findings from our case studies - Group 3
54. British citizens are being forced to sell their homes and businesses to prove they have ₤62,500 in savings. If the British citizenʼs incomes will not be counted, under the new rules, British men and women who are “strivers”, who have worked hard all their lives and managed to pay off their mortgages to provide a secure home for their families and children are forced to sell their homes and businesses in a recession and then put ₤62,500 in an instant access bank account for 6 months, at a very low rate of interest. Forcing British citizens to sell their homes to “prove they have equity and are self-sufficient” is unjustifiably unreasonable for all citizens. 55. It takes time to sell a home or business especially in a recession. The British citizen must then put ₤62,500 in an instant access bank account for 6 months before they can make the spouse visa application. The application process then takes up to 6 months according to the Home Office website. In total it may take 1.5 – 2 years. 56. In our case studies British citizens cannot sell their homes to sponsor their spouse ʼs visa if they need the spouse visa urgently. Group 3a) Parents: Expecting a baby or have existing childrenʼs welfare to consider and mothers who must care for an elderly, sick or disabled British family member urgently. Selling a family home is against the welfare of British children who thrive with continuity. The sale of a family home could mean having to move to a different area, taking the children out of school, their parents out of work and away from their family and friends. Group 3b) Are retired: They simply do not have much time left, they need the care of their wife or husband and the sale of their home would take away their self-sufficiency. Group 3c) If the British citizen is ill or recovering from illness: They need a home to recover and the sale of their home would take away their self-sufficiency Group 3d) Business owners: The business provides self-sufficiency for their family - Being forced to close a good business and shop is perverse. This does not benefit the taxpayer in any way. In one of our case studies (Mr Lee 2) a British citizen has been stripped of his business and clients.
57. Forcing British citizens to sell their properties makes them a liability to the taxpayer - It forces the British citizen from a financially secure position to an insecure position, which contradicts the governmentʼs intention of protecting the public purse. If a British citizen has equity in property they are not entitled to benefits, if they are forced to sell their homes they are. This clearly endangers the taxpayer. 58. Forcing British women and mothers or retired citizens to sell their home is disproportionately devastating financially and emotionally - For British mothers, fathers and retired citizens, selling a family home or business represents a significant emotional trauma. It often embodies a huge amount of their hard work, in the case of the women, also a lovingly prepared nest and for the retired citizen the valuable memories of their families younger years within their home. In the current economic climate British men have more chance of securing another mortgage after the six months, but British women, at the time of marriage and children, often have moved from PAYE to self-employment, this combined with the recession and credit crunch, will mean they may later be refused a mortgage. Retired citizens who are often remarrying will have the same problem. Surely they have earned the right to remain in their own country with their husband or wife, without having to sell their home after paying into the system all their lives? LOW OUTGOINGS MUST BE CONSIDERED IN A REVIEW OF THE FINANCIAL REQUIREMENT
Case studies - Group 3a
BRITISH MOTHERS WHO CANNOT SELL FAMILY HOMES
PLEASE SEE PREVIOUS STORIES FROM: Mrs Clare - Cannot sell her home and have money in a bank account for 6 months in time for the adoption of their first baby and in time to support her mother recovering from a recent operation to remove a brain tumor. Mrs Anon.2 - Could not sell her home to have money in a bank account for 6 months in time for the birth of their first child. At age 40 Mrs Anon. was forced to abort their dearly wanted first child. Mrs Marianne - Cannot sell her home and have money in a bank account for 6 months in time for the birth of their first child. Despite not being able to apply for a spouse visa in time, Mrs Marianne will still be forced to sell her home by the new rules, as her husband has not been allowed to work since November 2012 due to visa restrictions and could not return to Japan. If he did, he would not be allowed back for the birth and subsequent support and care of their newborn. The FLR (O) application and appeal process from within the UK will take possibly up to another year, in which time he is not allowed to work. Her husband is Japanese, a nation of hard-workers, and finds not being allowed to work to support his family extremely distressing. Mrs Marianne will soon be on maternity so her income will be reduced. If they had been granted a spouse visa they would be more than self-sufficient. Mrs Marianne will have to sell the family home and move just after the birth of their first baby. Mrs Marianne will not get another mortgage in the credit crunch because she is now self-employed rather than PAYE and on maternity.
Case studies - Group 3b
RETIRED BRITISH CITIZENS: WHO CANNOT SELL FAMILY HOMES Mr Michael - A Retired British man from Hampshire with a wife from America. Owned his own home with no mortgage in Hampshire and had pensions from both the UK and USA. They had lived together legally in the UK for several years. Mr Michaelʼs wife returned home to care for her mother, Mr Michael joined her to support his wife, and they married in Georgia 2010. Mr Michael returned to the UK and applied for a spouse visa, it was declined, he was never given a reason, and his wife was not allowed to even visit as they were married. He died alone a month ago, his wife was not even allowed to enter the UK to attend his funeral as Mr Michael had been denied a right to family life under the new 2012 spouse visa rules despite paying into the British system all his life. If he had been forced to sell his home he wouldnʼt have been able to get another mortgage and the home could have not been sold in time before his death to be reunited with his wife. This is a crime against British citizens and against humanity. Mr Ian - A retired British man from Berkshire: the friend who submitted Mr Michaelʼs story cannot marry the person they love despite paying into the British system all his life. This is because he is also retired and is therefore not entitled to a family life under the new rules.
Case study - Group 3c
BRITISH CITIZENS: NEED A SECURE HOME TO REMAIN SELF-SUFFICIENT
Mr Tim 1 - A British University Lecturer from East Yorkshire with a wife from Japan. Mr Tim is highly educated and his wife is a highly respected artist with long standing relationships with many cultural institutions in the UK. Mr Tim moved to Japan to marry his wife and bond with her family in 2012. Soon after the wedding Tim was taken ill and had to return home to his family. However the financial regulation changes meant he could no longer sponsor his wives visa. Tim has a mortgage free home and considerable savings from hard-work, but low outgoings will not be counted or considered in the new financial rules and his university lecturing income will not be counted as it is contracted per term and not every 6 months as specified. His health has fully recovered and Mr Tim is looking for work that meets the financial requirement specifications but cannot find a PAYE position over the threshold in East Yorkshire where he lives. He has been indefinitely separated from his wife at a time when he has gone through a traumatic health scare. Mr Tim would meet the requirements if low outgoings and quarterly contracts were counted. It would not be in his or the taxpayersʼ interests to sell his home near his family as it ensures his selfsufficiency should he became ill again. Also equity in property often excludes British citizens from claiming benefits.
This photo has been taken out of this version of the report. Mr Rory - A University and College Lecturer from Glasgow with a fiancée from the USA. Mr Rory has worked as a lecturer since 2001 and has been supporting himself and his fiancée for several years in the UK and in the USA, on his lecturing income. Mr Rory lives in a mortgage free home in the UK, which he owns with his parents, and would again meet the requirements if outgoings were taken into account rather than income alone. Both Mr Rory and his fiancée are highly educated. They wish to live in the UK to be close to family (with their first niece or nephew due any day) and to take advantage of the financial security afforded them by his employment and their living arrangements. Mr Rory does not meet the new financial requirements because he is contracted through a combination of permanent and temporary lecturing contracts. While he has worked for the same employer for 7 years, the nature of his employment has changed on a term-to-term basis. Mr Rory and his fiancée have been separated for 10 months. UNIVERSITY LECTURERSʼ TERM CONTRACTS MUST BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT A REVIEW OF THE RULES. THERE HAVE BEEN 3 UNIVERSITY LECTURERS DENIED THE RIGHT TO FAMILY LIFE OUT OF 35 SUBMITTED STORIES. It would clearly not benefit the taxpayer for Mr Rory to sell his home.
Case study - Group 3d
BRITISH CITIZENS FORCED TO CLOSE OR SELL THEIR BUSINESS
Mr Lee 2: A British highly skilled craftsman and Goldsmith from Surrey with an American wife. Mr Lee has been forced to close his 25 year old business and shop. In the recession it hasnʼt sold. He has had to leave his two heartbroken young sons by a previous relationship, as his income was considered ₤80 short of the new financial requirement “tick box” inflexible rules. They have had to relocate to Greece at considerable cost, to be closer to his sons than America. Mr Lee has had to take a comparatively very low paid job, as he is now a “foreigner”. In 3 - 6 months they can return as EEA citizens and “exercise their treaty rights”. It was a huge amount of heartache and damage to Mr Leeʼs business and his sonsʼ welfare to jump through several bureaucratic hoops. His business may never recover. Valuable tax revenue has been lost from the closure. When the return they are more likely to be a “burden on the state” as Mr Lee was forced to take a lower paid job in an EU country and his business has been significantly damaged. FORCING BRITISH CITIZENS TO CLOSE A BUSINESSES THAT SUPPORTS A SELF-SUFFICIENT FAMILY AND CHILDREN IS PERVERSE AS IS MAKING A BRITISH FATHER LEAVE HIS YOUNG BRITISH CHILDREN - THE NEW FINANCIAL THRESHOLD MUST BE RECONSIDERED.
Key findings from our case studies - Group 4
CASE STUDY GROUP 5: HIGH EARNERS AND ACHIEVERS, 59. Britainʼs “brightest and best” are being driven out of our country; British Phd, Degree students and Entrepreneurs are forced to leave by proxy or effectively exiled with their families under the new rules.
Mr Robert 2: A fully funded PhD student at the University of Cambridge lived in Cambridge married his Canadian Wife in July 2012. They met while studying for their Master Degrees in 2009. Mrs Roberts spouse visa was rejected and she was given just four weeks to return to Canada. This was due to the new rules on income that fail to assess an individualʼs ability to support themselves or take in to account their potential earnings after finishing a degree from a top university. Mr and Mrs Robert make more money than the minimum earnings requirement and have lived self-sufficiently in an expensive city but only Mr Robertʼs income can be assessed under the new rules. They both have very bright futures ahead of them and are considerable assets to the UK. Mr Roberts was forced to make a decision between his education and his wife. He chose his wife and has since left his PhD research and moved to Canada. This does not benefit the taxpayer.
Miss Sarah - A British Modern Languages Degree Cambridge University Graduate from Cheltenham with Husband from Peru (Msc Industrial Engineering and fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.) Miss Sarah could not sponsor a spouse visa when studying, as she would not meet the financial requirement. They could not apply for an unmarried coupleʼs visa because they had only lived together for 20 of 24 consecutive months. The result: Miss Sarah had to give up her career and the UK loses 2 highly educated, multilingual people who would have contributed greatly to the economy. Miss Sarah is concerned she may find it difficult to sponsor a Spouse visa from Peru due to bureaucratic requirements of the new rules. Please see other case studies • PhD Graduates: Dr Laura & Dr Rehan - In Group 5b: Exiles outside the EU • Entrepreneurs - Mrs Marianne • High Achievers - Mrs Anon.2 Mrs Clare • Business Owner - Mr Lee2
Key findings from our case studies - Group 5a
BRITISH CITIZENS EXILED IN EUROPE: 60. EEA citizens can “exercise their treaty rights” in the UK and freely come, bringing their non-EEA spouses with no official financial requirement, just marriage certificate and letter confirming employment; there is no application fee. Both are entitled to the same level of benefits as British citizens on entry and BOTH gain automatic citizenship after 5 years, a stark contrast to non-EEA spouses of British citizens. 61. The new legislation could potentially increase the EEA immigration figures dramatically in the future. The EEA immigration figures run into hundreds of thousands. If other EU countries retaliate with titfor tat spouse visa legislation, we will get a large share of their rejected families, as English is the international language and we are a relatively wealthy country. These families may have lower earning capacity than our own citizens and many may send money home. There is no language requirement for an EEA immigrant or their non-EEA spouse. In comparison only 32,200 British citizenʼs spouse visas were granted the year before the July 2012 spouse visa rules, a tiny proportion of the immigration figures. All British spouseʼs visas are stamped “no recourse to state funds”. They are not allowed benefits. Risking a large increase in EEA immigration numbers for so few British citizensʼ spouses seems strategically unwise. 62. British citizens cannot “exercise their treaty rights” in their own country, they have to leave to a different EU country. After working in the EU for 3-6 months at any level of pay, they can move back to the UK and “exercise their treaty rights” as an EEA citizen. 63. This clearly does not benefit the taxpayer: Our case studies found British citizens were forced to close their business, their shop and give up UK employment to uproot and move their lives to the EU, simply to gain the rights they are only allowed as an EU citizen and not as a British citizen in their own country. Before the British citizens had employment and were self-sufficient, on their return they may not be as their business and continuity of work has been damaged, as well as substantial moving costs incurred. 64. Our case studies found this is only a feasible option for couples without children together. .
Mrs Danielle - A British NGO worker from Leicester with a husband from America. They met in 2008 in California and married 6 months later. After legally living in the UK for 18 months they spent 18 months travelling around South America together. On their return to the UK, the spouse visa rules suddenly changed. Mrs Danielle had a job but could not find a new job over the new financial threshold. They could not return to America because the requirements are almost the same as the UK. In the US they allow cosponsors but Mrs Danielleʼs husband has no living family, which is why they decided to settle in the UK. Mrs Danielle has a job doing valuable work for society, that pays under the threshold but she is still self-sufficient. Her family would also pledge financial supported if necessary but this is not allowed in the rules. Mrs Danielle became very depressed and would cry uncontrollably, daily for hours at the thought of being forcibly separated from her husband. Mrs Danielle will have to give up her British job and move to Europe for 3-6 months, to be able to return as an EEA Immigrant. Mr Lee 2 from Surrey - Please see in Group 3 - Forced to close his 25 year business and leave his 2 young British children from a previous relationship. On his return from Greece after jumping through bureaucratic hoops for 6 months, his business may be severely damaged. This does not benefit the taxpayer.
Key findings from our case studies - Group 5b
EXILIED OUTSIDE EUROPE: 65. If declined family life in the UK, married couples with children must usually return to their nonEEA spouse ʼs home country to gain help with childcare and be close to their spouse ʼs family, which makes the EU route often not feasible. 66. Once a British citizen is forced to leave by proxy, the new rules make it near impossible for many to return especially British women or mothers - In effect they are permanently exiled. 67. The new financial requirement to work a contracted job over the threshold for 12 months prior to returning and securing a job immediately on return, is for many British mothers with young children, virtually impossible. They cannot work full time if caring for young children. Often they need to return to the UK suddenly to take care of a British parent or relative. If returning suddenly, they have to return alone with their children and they cannot work full-time for six months to meet the financial threshold without their husbands help with childcare. If they leave their children with their husband they are torn apart from their children for at least 1-2 years by the financial requirement and application process. 68. The Magna Carta states that no freeman or woman should be exiled, or exiled by proxy, this is the British “law of the land” and common British moral sense. 69. Rates of pay in the spouse ʼs country often make it impossible to return: The requirement for an exiled British citizen to earn either ₤18,600 or ₤22,400 and an extra 2,400 for each child in some countries is not a possibility, as wages and cost of living can be significantly lower. 70. Working in the British citizenʼs profession in a foreign language is also not a possibility for some. Often they will have to take a substantially lower paid job. In an international marriage, the nonEEA spouse usually speaks better English than the British citizen speaks their language. This is due to English being the predominant international language. If the British citizen cannot speak their spouseʼs language to business or an employable level, this also adversely affects their earning capacity. 71. Some countries will not employ married women with young children. In countries such as Japan, to employ a married woman, taking them away from their young children is considered morally wrong; culturally it is the husbandʼs job to work while the wife looks after young children. Many countries have a similar attitude to employing women with young children, making returning to full time work difficult. 72. The new visa rules force British mothers out of their own country when they need the support of their families, friends and husband the most and make them exiles. 73. British children are being denied an English education, their British motherʼs language, creating a language barrier between mother and child. The British child will struggle when they return to UK education and life. This is against the governmentʼs stated intention of integration into British language, life and culture.
Case studies - Group 5b
EXILED OUTSIDE EUROPE Please see the earlier case studies of clearly self-sufficient British citizenʼs families indefinitely and some permanently exiled British citizens: Mrs Clare - Highly qualified, experienced and skilled but will find it difficult to meet the threshold in Chile, especially they soon to expect the arrival of their adopted baby. Mrs Nikki - Forced to work for 6 months in the UK part-time alone while looking after her two year old son in the desperate hope she will earn over the threshold, then return to Canada for six months for her two year old son to be with his father. She didnʼt quite make the threshold this year so will have to try again next year and spend another six months away from her husband and father of her young child Mrs Sandra - Forced to abandon her British daughter to be exiled in Egypt. Unable to meet the financial requirement in Egypt, she can never return to be reunited with her daughter and care for her grandmother.
Case studies - Group 5b
EXILED OUTSIDE EUROPE
In this version of the report the photo has been removed. Dr. Anon - A British highly educated married women with 3 degrees to Ph.D level from Scotland with a husband from Chile who also has 3 degrees including PhD and their young son. Working part- time (to raise a family) on short-term UK contracts, Dr Anon would struggle to meet the income criteria of £18,600 with its associated stringent restrictions. Full-time employment in Chile which would meet the £18,600 income criteria would be close to impossible for a woman due to the lower wages and would mean very little time with her child. Her husband on the other hand would meet the income requirement with his job in Chile, but his income is not counted. Her husband is also setting up a consultancy business in Chile, which would provide additional income on their return to the UK but this income would not be counted either. Dr. Anonʼs husband must contribute to the Chilean economy for a number of years before he is allowed to leave based on the conditions of his Ph.D. funding. In contrast, Dr. Anon who had her latter two degrees funded by a UK public body would find it very difficult to return to the UK to live and contribute to the economy along with her husband because of the new spouse visa rules. This is a waste of the taxpayerʼs money and a great loss to the UK. A spouse ʼs income must be taken into account to assess a familyʼs true financial status.
Mrs Gillian - A British highly educated and productive mother from London with a husband from Japan and their two year-old British Daughter and soon to be born second baby. They met in the UK and married in 2004. In 2006 they moved to Japan to experience life in Japan and spend time with Mrs Gillianʼs husbandʼs family. They had always intended to spend their time between both countries, especially as both of their parents grow older. Mrs Gillian is usually the higher earner but after the birth their first child, her Japanese husband earns the main income. It will be a number of years before Mrs Gillianʼs children will be old enough for her to return to full-time from part-time work in order to sponsor her husbandʼs visa, she will then have to earn over the threshold in Japan for at least 12 months and have a job lined up in the UK while also looking after their children, before she is allowed to return with her family. She is finding it very stressful and depressing that she has been banished from her country, unable to return to the UK with her husband and children just so the government can meet an arbitrary quota.
Case studies - Group 5b
EXILED OUTSIDE EUROPE
Dr Rehan - British born, raised and educated, with a PhD in Engineering from the University of Oxford with a wife from America with their newborn son. Dr Rehan has spent the last 3 years in California doing a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University in cancer imaging, whilst building a biotech start-up company. Dr Rehan planned to return to his family when his fellowship ends. His skill set is globally competitive and he would contribute significantly to the British economy. The new rules prohibit their return, essentially making them exiles from Dr Rehanʼs loving and supportive family. Dr Rehan would have to work in the UK for six months on a wage large enough to pay for two households in two of the most expensive areas of the world, Silicon Valley and London and leave his newborn for up to a year. Dr Rehan could not cause his wife so much distress and so will be effective exiled. His family believed he was just going away to study, now he is not allowed home to his family, unless he abandons his wife and British child for a year. Dr Rehanʼs sister has married a Japanese husband and they face the same problem. The UK has lost two highly educated, valuable citizens and the new rules have created an indefinite three-way separation of this loving family. This is clearly not of any benefit to our society or the taxpayer.
Mr Steven - a British highly qualified professional from Kent with a wife from Japan and their 1 year old. Mr Steven holds a degree, a master's degree and a teaching certificate. He currently teaches at an international secondary school in Tokyo. His Japanese wife has a successful career in international investment banking. They have a one year old daughter, who is a British citizen. Mr Steven and his wife wish to return to the UK for family support with raising their daughter, and so Mr Steven can study for his PhD. Mr Steven and his wife's savings actually meet the new ₤62,500 threshold and have been held in cash for over six months, as required by the rules. However, they are still unable to apply for a spouse visa. The rules require the previous six months' pay-slips as evidence of the source of any savings, but as Mr Steven's wife has been on statutory maternity leave, her previous six months' pay-slips show zero income. Because there is no provision for maternity leave under the new rules, Mr Steven's wife cannot apply for a visa until his wife has been back at work for six months. When they finally return, Mr Steven may not be able to complete his PhD as the immigration rules will force him to work full time, regardless of his wife's earnings.
Key findings from our case studies - Group 6
BRITISH CITIZENS DENIED THE RIGHT TO SEE THEIR HUSBANDS / WIVES AND CHILDREN IN THEIR HOMELAND. BRITISH CHILDREN DENIED THE RIGHT TO FATHERS AND MOTHERS 74. If a British citizen is married, their husband / wife and children cannot enter the UK for ANY reason or under any circumstances unless they have a spouse visa. If spouses are married, especially with children they have less right to even visit their families than if they were unmarried. 75. If a British citizen does not meet the new financial requirement for a spouse visa or are declined a spouse visa, no other visa is allowed. The only visa a husband or wife will be granted is a spouse visa; all other visa applications will be declined due to the assumption the husband or wife will want to stay. Reasons such as “suspected circumvention of the spouse visa rules” or “on the balance of probabilities the spouse will want to stay” are given. 76. Criminals serving their sentence in the UK, are allowed visits from their wives, husbands and children, good, hardworking, while married British citizens are not.
Mr Tim 2 - A British man who was employed in insurance from London with a wife from Canada. Met his wife in London in 2009 playing tennis their local club, Mrs Tim worked as a teacher, teaching at some of the most challenging schools in SE London, Mr Tim was working in the city for a Lloydʼs insurance company. In February 2012 they married and decided to have an extended honeymoon; four months exploring India and SE Asia, on their return they thought it would be simple to gain a spousal visa and to both continue living and working in the UK. Mr Timʼs wife returned to Canada for a month to apply for the visa. The application failed, the financial requirements changed suddenly with no warning. As Mr Tim had just returned, he was not yet back working. Prudently Mr Timʼs wealth is tied up in several properties, stocks and shares and long term investments; it would take time and expense to turn this into cash. They would have to wait six months before they could resubmit the application. In March thinking they would have to wait another six months before reapplying, they applied for a visitorʼs visa, as it is hard spending your first year of marriage apart. ʻOn the balance of probabilitiesʼ this application failed. UKBA, because they are married, had no faith that Mr Timʼs wife would return. Being married had left Mr Timʼs wife with less rights to come to the UK than she had when they were unmarried.
Key findings from our case studies - Group 6
BRITISH CITIZENS DENIED THE RIGHT TO SEE THEIR HUSBANDS / WIVES AND CHILDREN IN THEIR HOMELAND. BRITISH CHILDREN DENIED THE RIGHT TO FATHERS AND MOTHERS
Mr Nick - British self-employed musician from London with actress and singer wife from Australia. Mr Nick and his wife were married last year. Mr Nickʼs wife studied Musical Theatre at the Mountview Academy in London. Last year she was the ʻTruvia Girlʼ in their UK campaign, as well as a guest lead in the BBC drama Inspector George Gently. This show brought a lot of attention to her acting and singing, her career was just starting to take off on what both her agent and Mr Nick believed would be a very long and successful journey. Two months later, however, Mr Nickʼs wife returned to Australia to apply for a Spouse Visa. Mr Nickʼs earnings were not enough as he is in a self-employed partnership. However Mrs Nick had earned enough on her own to cover the financial requirement. Their lawyer thought that an exception should be made as Mr Nickʼs wife could prove she was self-sufficient. They also have ₤16,000 pounds in cash savings. They were shocked at the Entry Clearance Officerʼs point blank refusal to count either their cash savings or Mrs Nickʼs earnings. Mr Nick says “To be married for two months and then to see the person you love so dearly, your wife, the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with, taken away from you by a single piece of legislation is devastating.” A SPOUSES INCOME MUST BE COUNTED TO GET A TRUE PICTURE OF A MARRIED COUPLE’S SELF-SUFFICIENCY
Case studies - Group 6
BRITISH CITIZENS DENIED THE RIGHT TO EVEN SEE THEIR HUSBANDS / WIVES AND CHILDREN IN THEIR HOMELAND. BRITISH CHILDREN DENIED THE RIGHT TO FATHERS AND MOTHERS Please see previous case studies: In 100% of our case studies, the new visa rules have caused deep stress and suffering to British families. This list is a summary of the families who have already been separated, the casualties and the resulting human suffering that is being caused to British children and citizens. Mrs Donna & 2 year-old son - Visitors Visa declined for husband - Suicide Mrs Megan - No hope of being reunited with her husband - Thoughts of suicide, Clinical depression, Nervous breakdown, Miss Louise - Visitor visa declined for husband - Forced to give birth alone and care for newborn alone – the father of their British child has not even held his 9 month-old baby. Mrs Sandra - Spouse Visa declined – Miscarried baby because of deep stress from new rules. Mrs Sharon - Visitor Visa declined - separated indefinitely - Clinical Depression, medicated on antidepressants and has thoughts of suicide. Mrs Shona with 4 children - Miscarried baby because of deep stress caused by new rules. Children have been fatherless for 1 year, the childrenʼs emotional welfare and behaviour has been affected. Mrs Catherine, Newborn & Toddler – Enforced separation from husband, children fatherless indefinitely. Mrs Emily - Visitor visa declined - Forced to give birth and care for newborn baby alone. Had to fly when baby was just three months old for father to hold his baby. Their British baby will be fatherless for two years. Mrs Nikki, 2 year-old son - Visitor visa declined - British son will be deprived of his father for 6 months Mrs Nicola and child, expecting - Visitor visa declined - will be forced to give birth and look after newborn alone. Her British child will be denied her father for 6 years. Mrs Alice and 8 Year old - Visitor visa declined Mrs Dee with son & newborn - Visitor visa declined- Forced to give birth and care for a newborn alone . Fatherless for 1 year. British baby daughter talks to the TV because she has only met her father on Skype. In our case studies of British women / mothers and children denied family life in the UK they are not even allowed a visit from their husbands for ANY reason. With British men they are also forced apart from their wives and children but at least they all are aware of a possible end date for their enforced separation and it is easier for them to travel for a visit. Women often cannot leave, there is no end date of separation; it is often indefinite, which leads to profound despair and distress especially if they have children. Mr David - forced to leave his wife. Their newborn British baby will be fatherless for approx. 1 year. Mr Nicholas - forced to leave his wife and 2 year-old. British son will be fatherless for approx.1.5 years. Mr Robert 1 - forced to leave his wife to give birth and care for their newborn alone. British baby fatherless for approximately 1.5 years. Mr Tim 1 - Denied his wife when recovering from serious illness Mr Micheal - Retired - Spouse visa declined: Died Alone: His wife was not allowed to attend the funeral
Our overriding recommendation is to revert back to the old financial threshold and rules that take income, outgoings and the spouses income, job offers and earning potential into account. Sham marriages can be covered by the new “5-year before permanent residency” rule that is the same for EU immigrants and their spouses and interviews if necessary. SALARY THRESHOLD
SOLUTION TO PROTECT CITIZENS RIGHT TO FAMILY LIFE WHILE ALSO PROTECTING PUBLIC FUNDS: It is arguable that a threshold is not needed to protect the public purse if British Spouse visas are already stamped “No Recourse for public funds”. If the government has evidence of British Spouses gaining access to public funds we would like to see proof of statistics to back up the assertion of the system being abused, (not by other immigrants or EU citizens but of British Spouses.) If there has been measurable proven abuse by British spouses then it is more reasonable to tighten security measures at job and benefit centers by requiring ALL people to present their passports when applying for benefits, than to deny a British wife or husband their spouse or children. This is common moral sense.
EQUALITY: British citizens must be treated at least equally to EEA citizens; it is not acceptable to discriminate against British citizens in our own country. British citizens should not have fewer rights to family life in our own country compared to a couple who are in fact both immigrants. The financial threshold and language requirement and application fee must be the same for both. Currently an EEA citizen has only to show that they are employed or selfemployed and that they can support themselves and their non-EEA spouses on entry to the UK with a letter from their employer with no fixed financial requirement and evidence of some savings at no fixed amount. It costs nothing for an EEA citizen to apply for their non-EEA spouse to come into the UK, whereas it costs a British citizen approximately ₤900 to first apply for a spouse visa and then up to ₤10,000 if they must appeal, which under the new rules will be almost HALF of applicants. An EEA citizenʼs non-EEA spouse does not need to pass any language requirement. If an EU citizen and their non-EEA spouses are granted automatic permanent residency after 5 years the same should apply to a British citizenʼs spouse. Immigrant couples should not have more rights and more preferable treatment than British citizenʼs families. If David Cameron and the Conservative Party are serious about values of “fairness”, then British citizensʼ spouses should be treated at least the same as EEA immigrants and their non-EEA spouses or vice versa.
IF THERE HAS TO BE A MINIMUM THRESHOLD it should be firstly applied equally to EEA as well as British citizens in line with minimum wage of ₤12,627 (A figure around ₤14,000 could also be justified for everyone, with the extra few thousand for traveling costs associated in an international marriage). A financial threshold of ₤14,153 for everyone would include all NHS workers and nurses. The financial threshold if you have children should either be set at the level of NHS workersʼ maternity pay, again ₤14,153, or the income of husbands of British mothers must be counted (This could be in the form of job offers in the UK or a business income that can be run internationally). Or Alternatively, all British public key workers such as nurses, teachers and armed forces personnel should earn over ₤18,600, or over ₤22,400 if they have children, and they should be paid ₤2,400 more for each child to be in line with the financial thresholds in the new rules. These are valuable British citizens they must be entitled to a family life. Or
If they are not, there will have to be a very clear written and verbal warning, in all government paid NHS and similar contracts that British citizens must not fall in love and marry non-EEA nationals if they wish to have the right to family life in the UK - (weʼre not really suggesting this is a valid option). • REGIONAL FINANCIAL THRESHOLDS: There is a clear financial difference between a London salary and outside London salary. Regional levels of pay and living costs must be taken into account if there is a financial threshold.
INCOME THAT SHOULD BE COUNTED IN A SPOUSE VISA APPLICATION:
If the taxman recognizes all incomes, so should the spouse visa rules: Please stop the income discrimination, which disproportionally affects women due to the ways women earn money. ANY income obtained by the applicant should to count towards the minimum threshold. If it can be taxed – it can be counted. Solid job and contracts offers should be allowed to count, especially where children are involved and where the British citizen needs their spouse for childcare in order to take on the employment or contract. Total family income should be considered. The spouse ʼs income should be counted to fairly assess a familyʼs self-sufficiency, especially if the British citizen must care for young children. Contracted job offers in the UK, incomes from businesses that can be run internationally, or continued income streams from the spouses home country should be counted to assess the true financial position of the family. Mixing PAYE income with self-employment income must be allowed: Women with children often mix income streams; not allowing this is provable discrimination against women. Currently if a British Citizen earns ₤18,500 in PAYE and ₤18,500 in self-employment income, they will be declined. Freelance, self-employment, short term contract work should be allowed to count as income without the restrictive clause that a short contract can only be counted if the British citizen has worked continuously in PAYE employment for 12 months before the short term contract started. Women with children are often in creative or specialist freelance industries where this criterion is not typical. This rule disproportionally affects women and women with children. Lecturers and Teachers incomes, often contracted per term rather than every 6 months, must be counted. This is valuable work and must be counted as income without the restrictive clause as stated above as the clause is not typical for the way lecturers are contracted. Again, this disproportionally affects women who predominantly work in education. Self-employment income should be counted if the company has shown it is NOT in the best interests of the business to be VAT registered: Currently an income cannot be counted if the business is not VAT registered. In service industries it is often not in their businesses interests to be VAT registered. It is well known that women are far more likely to be in service industry selfemployment, where being VAT registered is not in the interests of the business and therefore not in the financial interests of the British womenʼs family and is therefore discrimination. The requirement to alternatively be audited is not appropriate for a business with a turnover less than 6.5 million or with fewer than 50 employees. The average cost of an audit for a small company costs ₤9,500. (Financial Times, 2011) This is also not typical for a womenʼs self-employment small business. Assets and low outgoings must be counted: Low outgoings and property assets should be counted without having to sell a family home in a review of the new rules, especially for British citizens with children, or retired people.
• SPECIAL CLAUSES SHOULD BE MADE FOR CERTAIN GROUPS: It is unfair to discriminate against British parents working fewer hours or no hours in order to care for their children and raise a family when they have paid into the system all their lives. Also retired citizens, British PhD and degree students furthering their education and conducting valuable research and Start-up Entrepreneurs. Allowances should be made for all these valuable groups. Potential income could also be measured on a points based system: Taking into consideration qualifications of both partners, ensuring we keep our brightest and best
ALLOWANCES FOR MARRIED COUPLES WITH CHILDREN • THE WELFARE OF BRITISH CHILDREN MUST BE PROTECTED: Married British citizens with children should not be made to be single parents, regardless of their gender. If they have their foreign spouse with them, at least one of the parents would be able to work full time to provide for their family instead of forcing a single carer of children onto benefits.
FOR MARRIED COUPLES WITH CHILDREN OR EXPECTING A CHILD, THE PLANNED EARNINGS OF BOTH PARENTS SHOULD BE ALLOWED: Due to one parent having to be responsible for childcare a joint family financial plan should be allowed to be permitted. The non-EEA spouseʼs job offers, offered contracts in the UK and income from businesses that can be run internationally should be allowed to be counted in a review of the spouse visa financial criteria. To protect the welfare of British children, every option to prove self-sufficiency should be given. A BRITISH CHILD SHOULD NOT BE DEPRIVED OF EITHER PARENT FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME. The British Childrenʼs Act 1989 states When a court determines any question with respect to the upbringing of a child the childʼs welfare shall be the courtʼs paramount consideration …any delay in determining the question is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child. A SPOUSE WITH YOUNG BRITISH CHILDREN SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO APPLY FROM WITHIN THE UK. Under the current rules, a spouse of a British citizen must return to their home country to apply for a spouse visa. This takes approximately two months and incurs considerable cost in airfares, temporary accommodation and childcare costs while the spouse is away. Additionally, application fee alone is ₤900. This is not in the interest of the British child. Once the spouse has returned to their country, if they are declined, the British child is separated for a minimum of 9 months to a year if a spouse visa is declined, while an appeal is made at considerable cost. If the appeal is not won the child may be permanently fatherless. Under the new rules almost half of EMPLOYED British citizens families would be now be declined and therefore have to go to appeal. This is not only a waste of money and resources but profoundly against the rights and welfare of so many British children.
A BRITISH CHILD SHOULD BE ENTITLED TO A BRITISH EDUCATION: The childʼs education must be taken into consideration in the new rules, a British child must be allowed to be educated in English and the continuity of their schooling must be a strong consideration. It has been stated that the governmentʼs intention for the language requirement of the new rules is to ensure “integration into British life and culture.” Forcing a British child to leave under the new rules through their British parent directly contradicts the governmentʼs intention. British children should be educated in English to be fully integrated citizens. If their mother tongue is English and they are forced to leave and be educated in a second language this severely affects their welfare and chances in life. On their return they may then find it a struggle to integrate and adapt into English schooling and life.
ALLOWANCES FOR BRITISH WOMEN AND MOTHERS FOR MARRIED BRITISH WOMEN WITH CHILDREN OR EXPECTING A CHILD, THE PLANNED EARNINGS OF BOTH PARENTS SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN A SPOUSE VISA APPLICATION: as for British men as explained above. SPECIFICALLY FOR BRITISH MARRIED WOMEN WHO CANNOT MEET THE FINANCIAL THRESHOLD OF THE SPOUSE VISA DUE TO EXPECTING A CHILD OR WHO HAS EXISTING CHILDREN SHE MUST CARE FOR: A 9-MONTH: “WORK SEARCH AND FAMILY SUPPORT VISA” SHOULD BE CREATED: The husband could apply for this visa if they do not yet have a job offer or contract in the UK that can be counted towards the spouse visa financial requirement. The new visa would ensure British mothers are cared for and supported by their husbands and not the state. If their wife does not meet the financial requirement for a spouse visa, the non-EU spouse should be allowed to apply for this new type of 9-month visa. The family should show they can support themselves for 9 months to the same level of other existing visas such as the “student visitor visa” to support their wives through at least the last trimester (3 months) of pregnancy and the first 6 months after the birth of their child. In this time the spouse can support their wife, both physically with childcare and emotionally, they can search for work and be allowed to work in the UK to financially provide for their family so the taxpayer does not. The job offers and work started in this period should be allowed to count towards the new financial threshold of the spouse visa, which they then should be allowed to apply for within the UK to ensure continuity of employment and support of the British mother and child.
THE SPOUSE VISA RULES SHOULD RETURN TO BEING MORE FLEXIBLE AND CONSIDER OUTGOINGS: The new laws introduced last year do not provide a fair assessment of a familyʼs ability to financially support themselves. THE PROBLEM: Take the following examples: Person A: Lives in London, earns £18,600/year. Doesn't own their own home and pays a rent of £850/month (over 50% of their gross income). Person B: Lives in Scotland studying for a PhD. with a £15,000/year tax-free income. Owns their own property outright so does not have any mortgage or rental payments. Person C: Lives in Scotland, earns £17,000. Has a mortgage with repayment costs of £450/month. The non-EU spouse has an income > £10,000/year for the last 3 years from consultancy work in their home country and plans to continue the consultancy work on entry to the UK.
Person A has the lowest net income after tax and accommodation costs, yet they are the only person who would qualify to bring their spouse to the UK. • A SOLUTION Rental or mortgage payments should be considered when setting the income threshold for a family. The current practice of forcing a family to sell their home to prove equity is not only against common moral sense and against the welfare of children but makes the family a liability to the taxpayer. A
family has no access to state funds as long as they have equity in their homes. Once a home is sold money can disappear rapidly.
RETURNING TO THE UK FROM THE OUTSIDE THE UK - SALARY THRESHOLD THE PROBLEM: The current rule that a British Citizen has to work continuously for 12 months at the £18,600 income threshold or £22,400 with child and 2,400 for every additional child in a different country before being allowed to return home with their family is unreasonable for many reasons. The new financial threshold is a unrealistic threshold for many countries salaries in the world, especially if the British man or woman has to earn at this level in a country where they do not speak the language fluently and especially if they have young children to look after, so they cannot work full-time. It is therefore disproportionally discriminatory against British women with children. Often the British Citizen has to return urgently because a British family member has become ill. SOLUTIONS: • THE 12 MONTH CLAUSE SHOULD BE TAKEN OUT OF THE RULES: The British citizen sponsoring their spouse ʼs visas has to prove they have a job lined up over the threshold on returning to the UK anyway, it should be irrelevant what they were doing in the 12 months before returning. Or if it is deemed important to control what the British citizen was doing in the 12 months before they are allowed to return home with their family: • FINANCIAL THRESHOLDS SHOULD BE SET ACCORDING TO THE COUNTRY THEY ARE WORKING IN. It is unreasonable to insist that all other countries should pay the same level of wages as the UK as many countries cost of living is also substantially lower. IF THE BRITISH CITIZENS NON-UK INCOME CONTINUES TO BE COUNTED IN THE PERIOD PRECEDING THE APPLICATION YOU SHOULD THEN SPOUSE NON-UK INCOME SHOULD ALSO COUNT TOWARDS THE MINIMUM INCOME THRESHOLD so as not to discriminate against those studying or raising a family.
SAVINGS REQUIREMENT • THE PROBLEM: ₤62,500 in an instant access bank account for 6 months is an unreasonable amount of savings to require a British Citizen to have in cash to prove they are self-sufficient and the time requirement is arbitrary. Forcing British citizens to sell their homes to prove equity in a home is not only against common moral sense, against the Magna Carta and against the welfare of children it also makes the British citizens family more vulnerable to later become a burden of the tax payer.
SOLUTIONS: • THE SAVINGS REQUIREMENT LEVEL IS ARBITARY AND NEEDS TO BE REVIEWED: Salary and savings combination. Why does a person earning £18,599 per year need an extra £16,000 in savings plus x 2.5 to cover the deficit? The saving calculation as well as time threshold is arbitrary and not fit for purpose. For people who do not have a salary: £16,000 in savings plus 2.5 multiplied by the salary deficit is £62,500 for 2.5 years (with no children) Which is £25,000 savings per year (not taxable) compared to £18,600 salary per year (taxable at 20%)? Why are people being penalised for only using savings? Why does it cost people more to live in the UK on savings, than if they are using a salary?
EQUITY IN PROPERTY SHOULD BE COUNTED TOWARDS THE SAVINGS OR FINANCIAL THRESHOLD WITHOUT HAVING TO SELL THE PROPERTY. Equity in property protects the taxpayer against any future claims to benefits by the family. If the couple are forced to sell a property or their home, not only does it force them from a financially secure position to an insecure position and is against the welfare of children but it will then, with the property sold, possibly entitle the family to benefits in the future. Such assets are considered in means tested benefits it is unfair and makes no sense not to consider them in these calculations, especially when theses rules are supposed to be protecting the taxpayer.
PARENTAL SUPPORT ALLOW THE FAMILY OF THE BRITISH SPOUSE/PARTNER TO PLEDGE THEIR FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO THE APPLICANT: as is allowed in US immigration law.
ACQUISITION OF CITIZENSHIP • A five-year wait for citizenship will negatively impair the ability of an immigrant to find work. E.U Citizens non-EU spouses receive automatic leave to remain after 5 years. British Citizens spouses should be at least equal to EU Immigrants spouses.
FIRST WORLD “SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP” OR COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES
There should be special allowances for low risk “special relationship” countries. The number of spouse visas issued the year before the new rules came in are actually comparatively tiny in the overall immigration figures - only 32,200 granted in 2011. The current rules are damaging relationships between certain countries. Making married women live as single parents is taboo in many countries, as arguably it still is in British culture. Some countries find it an insult to their culture to suggest their citizens would ever be “a burden on the British State” and it is true there is no proof of their citizens being a burden while on a spouse visa. International marriages act as ambassadors for our countries and are symbolic of a peaceful relationship between countries. Marriage has been a tool for diplomacy since civilization began. It is especially important with “special relationship” non-English speaking countries such as Japan, where actions speak louder than words. The figures of how many times different Non-EU countries have become “a burden on the British state” while on a spouse visa should be analyzed and countries chosen accordingly. Countries where the instance of abuse of the British system is likely to be very extremely low should be given special consideration in a review of the rules and discretion should be used, especially when children are involved.
DISCRETION • Many problems with the new 2012 Spouse Visa rules have been caused by a “tick box” approach which has been proved by our case studies to be not to be fit for purpose. ALL families who submitted stories were self-sufficient and would have been more self-sufficient if granted a spouse visa. There are two stories in our case studies where British women, made single parents by the rules have been forced onto benefits as a direct result of NOT being granted a spouse visa. Discretion and British common sense must prevail. THE WELFARE OF BRITISH CHILDREN MUST BE PROTECTED - THEY ARE OUR FUTURE. There should be a section in the application form that analyses the impact of decision making on the welfare of the British child or soon to be born child.
Thank you for reading this report on self-sufficient British citizens families whoʼ have been torn apart by the 2012 Spouse Visa Legislation. We ask you to review the rules as a matter of urgency and ask you to consider our suggestions to make the legislation fit for purpose, to protect the rights of British citizens and British children while also protecting the British taxpayer and encouraging integration.
Recommendations and case studies from 35 British citizenʼs families who have been adversely affected by the July 2012 Spouse Visa Rules collected and compiled by Mrs Marianne Bailey Yamamoto.
The Magna Carta - the law of our land, Clause 39:
“NO free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice”
Report, Personal Stories And Research On The Impact Of The New 2012 Spouse Visa Rules With Recommendations: Submitted and compiled by British citizens whose families have been or are being be torn apart by the new legislation. © June 2013. The Families In This Report. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This report contains material protected under Copyright Laws. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No stories or photos from this report may be used or published without prior consent from the families. To contact the families or for further information please contact: email@example.com
• A petition from over 11,500 British citizens Signatures collected in 3 weeks, outraged at married British women being forced to live as single parents, forced to give birth and look after newborn babies alone. A the destruction being caused to British citizenʼs families by the new 2012 Spouse Visa rules. • 35 British Citizenʼs letters and stories of their families being torn apart by the new 2012 Spouse Visa Rules addressed directly to Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality Rt. Hon Theresa May MP. Available on request. • Comparison Chart: British citizens rights and EEA immigrantʼs rights to family life in the UK with a non-EEA national. • All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration - Report of the Inquiry into new family migration rules.
• A petition from over 11,000 British citizens signatures collected in 3 weeks, outraged at married British women being forced to live as single parents, forced to give birth and look after newborn babies alone and the destruction being caused to British citizenʼs families by the new 2012 Spouse Visa rules.
Comparison Chart: British citizens rights and EEA immigrantʼs rights to family life in
the UK with a non-EEA national.