JoJo and Loïc JoJo is a British Citizen and 31 years old.

She grew up in Hampshire and Northumberland, with her older brother and sister and loving parents. During her childhood she developed a fascination with nature and the outdoors, and an obsession with chimpanzees and gorillas. She pored over books written by her heroines Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, and dreamed one day of getting to Africa to study these endangered primates for herself. After finishing school JoJo attended Durham University where she studied Physical Anthropology, graduating in 2003 with a 2:1 Hons. During her time at University JoJo’s mother passed away from a long illness, but her father and siblings were incredibly supportive of her passion for Africa and the great apes. After University JoJo worked as a retail assistant to save enough money to go and volunteer in the Republic of Congo at a chimpanzee sanctuary, where she worked for six months to release orphaned chimpanzees back into the wild. This experience opened JoJo’s eyes to the terrible plight of chimpanzees and gorillas in Africa, who currently face enormous pressure on all sides from poaching, habitat destruction and huge global demand for raw materials. Upon returning to the UK JoJo was determined to return to Africa as soon as possible to continue working in great ape conservation. She again worked as a retail assistant in the UK for 6 months while she applied for jobs in Central Africa, until finally in January 2005 she was successful, getting a job in Gabon to set up a new chimpanzee and gorilla conservation project for the Max Planck Institute (MPI) in Leipzig, Germany. Upon arrival in Loango National Park, Gabon, JoJo met Loïc: a Gabonese research assistant also hired by the MPI to work on the new ape research project. Loïc is a committed conservationist, previously working with endangered forest elephants, hippos and crocodiles in Gabon. He grew up in a village on the edge of Loango National Park and knows the area like the back of his hand. So in 2005, Loïc and JoJo began working in Loango with just two other staff, exploring the rainforests in search of chimpanzees and gorillas, estimating how many apes lived in the forest, and mapping an area of over 100km2 to document the swamps, savannahs and different habitat types. JoJo and Loïc lived in a remote and isolated tented camp with no running water or electricity, but they loved the work they were doing, and felt that a lack of creature comforts was well worth it. After 5 months working and living together day in day out in Loango, JoJo and Loïc’s relationship turned from that of colleagues into something more. They moved into the same tent, and despite spending all day in the forest together and having little privacy in the basic camp in the evenings, their relationship flourished in the remote rainforest. For the next 5 years JoJo and Loïc lived together in Loango, managing the ape project and expanding it from one camp with 4 staff to two camps with 18 staff, all working on habituating the chimpanzees and gorillas for an eco-tourism project, which would ensure the long term and sustainable protection of the great apes and other animals in the forest. JoJo and Loïc carried out conservation education in the local schools and invited school children to accompany them into the forest in order to give them a more positive view of the local wildlife. They were very happy and developed a strong and stable bond despite their very different backgrounds and cultures, respecting one another’s way of life, and

JoJo and Loïc were very excited about their new adventure which would begin in a few short months. where for the first time in their relationship JoJo and Loïc were living in comfortable surroundings with all the mod cons. when (again thanks to the MPI) Loïc was granted another Schengen Visa for a 2 month visit to Germany. but bad phone coverage in the remote location meant that sometimes they had to go weeks with no contact whatsoever. they would finally be reunited for good in the UK. given the nature of their work in such a remote location they were in no hurry to marry immediately. to write up her dissertation for a PhD thesis which she had begun 2 years earlier. places from JoJo’s childhood. at a gorilla conservation workshop which they were both invited to. In October 2010. JoJo had to go to live in Leipzig in Germany (the headquarters of the MPI which she and Loïc worked for). During his visit. and began making plans for the ceremony. a magical week spent enjoying the last days of summer on the coast. and managing the ape project in JoJo’s absence. Her sister and father came out to visit her and Loïc on several occasions in Gabon. 10 days later they were thrilled to find that Loïc had been accorded a tourist Visa and they spent 4 weeks in the UK. as did her aunt. Although tinged with much sadness after 7 wonderful years living in the forest. After this visit it was another 2 months before the couple were reunited in Uganda in June 2011. and said that they would be leaving in September 2012 to embark on a new life together in the UK. and they also travelled to Kibale National Park to see the wild living chimpanzees there. However. They kept in touch through phone calls as often as possible. JoJo and Loïc applied for a tourist Visa to the UK so they could visit JoJo’s family. In August 2010. and JoJo’s family and friends. and the couple became engaged. They were then separated again until September 2011. After a wonderful two months. During his stay. In April 2012 JoJo went for 2 months to Gabon. to help hand over project management to a new employee. and the couple did not see each other again until March 2011 when JoJo returned to Gabon for a month to visit Loïc. She was also deeply committed to Loïc. They travelled to Berlin to submit their documents and to undergo an interview with immigration officials. thanks to some assistance from the MPI. They were also thrilled that after two years of living a long distance relationship. JoJo and Loïc travelled to France for a family holiday with her siblings and through some tough and traumatic circumstances. in November Loïc had to return to Gabon. They decided that they would get married in the UK in December 2012. visiting landmarks. Loïc had agreed that he could envisage their future here. In January 2012 they handed in their notice with the MPI. and the couple were considering moving back to the UK together in 2012 when JoJo finished her PhD. Once a year JoJo returned to the UK for one month to see her family and friends. and to visit Loïc. and the engagement was more a token of their long term commitment to one another. which only served to strengthen their bond and commitment to one another. In 2009 Loïc proposed to JoJo and she accepted. she believed strongly in what she was doing and felt it was worth the sacrifice. and being together with him required that they both live in Gabon. After the workshop JoJo and Loïc fulfilled a lifelong dream of seeing the mountain gorillas. Loïc remained in Gabon to continue working in Loango. Loïc got a “Schengen” Visa for a 2 month visit to Germany. Again it was with a very heavy heart that JoJo and Loïc said goodbye to one another in November 2011. but after 2 months spent living in Europe. . and even though it was hard to be separated from them for so many years.

but Ghana would not give any information without the unique reference number for Loïc’s application. These refusal reasons could have been cleared up in a 5 minute conversation. but since the Embassy in Cameroon cannot process Visa applications. JoJo and Loïc had heard many stories of couples being refused Visas. Loïc had to pay to travel to Cameroon to submit his application to their embassy. which exceeded the £18. and because her savings were in a 6 month “E-Bond” (which matured in Dec 2012) they did not believe the couple had “access” to these savings. and thus the couple were concerned about proving the genuineness of their relationship. During the 3 month wait for a response. They also provided evidence of visits they made to one another during the 2 years JoJo was in Germany. The problem with living in tent for 5 years is that you don’t have utility bills. Because Gabon does not have a British Embassy. With all this in place. At no point was there the possibility of communicating with anyone from the UKBA. but told that they would be in touch within three months with the decision on his Visa. and repeated attempts to call the embassy in both Cameroon and Ghana to resolve the issue were quickly shut down by those . they did not believe JoJo’s bank statements were genuine (they were). and in addition her father wrote a letter confirming that the couple could live in his house that he owned rent free and for as long as they wished. all his document were then sent on to the British Embassy in Ghana. Cameroon told her she must contact Ghana. and statements from their employer at the MPI. or even an address. Despite their good experience with the British Embassy in Berlin. it was with some confidence that Loïc and JoJo submitted their application. JoJo and Loïc were exceptionally lucky in that JoJo’s grandfather had left her a substantial sum of money in inheritance. The second reason for the refusal was that they “could not be satisfied on the balance of probability” that the relationship was genuine and subsisting.Little did they know what the UKBA had in store for them. friends and relatives. The UKBA gave 2 reasons for this: firstly. or through a quick email containing extra information. they included dozens and dozens of photos spanning the 7 years that they had been in a relationship. expecting that Loïc would have his Visa in a couple of weeks and would join her there. and they therefore included as much information as possible in their application. Loïc submitted his Visa application for a spousal Visa at the end of May 2012. In August 2012 JoJo successfully completed her PhD and moved back to the UK to look for work. As a result. 3 months after the initial submission. confident that they met the financial requirements and that they had proved their long term relationship was genuine. The application was denied. but this was never an option. despite masses of evidence to the contrary which they did not mention. Loïc had to again pay to travel to Cameroon to pick up his documents and find out if his application was a success.600 limit imposed by the UKBA for couples wishing to live in the UK. which Cameroon refused to give over the phone. JoJo submitted her bank statements evidencing these savings. JoJo made repeated attempts to contact the British embassies in both Cameroon and Ghana without success. confirming the genuineness of their relationship. The UKBA did not respond to the Visa application until the very last day. Loïc was given no contact details for the embassy in Ghana.

they received no decision full stop. By this point JoJo and Loïc had planned their wedding day for the 7 th December. bank statements validated and stamped by the bank. and her brother had just started a new job one week prior and could not afford to come. and many family members of Loïc.600 per year. and seeing that no decision was going to be made in time. Friends and family of JoJo and Loïc confidently told them that now they were married. in fact. and she submitted evidence of her contract and job description. evidence of JoJo’s move into a rented house near Cambridge and other important bits of evidence. since their appeal case was rock solid and full of irrefutable evidence. Unsurprisingly. JoJo also got a job in the UK. After the wedding the couple went on a beautiful 4 day honeymoon. a situation only made all the more painful due to their extended separation prior to the marriage. and friends of both Loïc and JoJo were present. JoJo’s father sent regular emails to the British embassy in Ghana. JoJo’s father and Aunt flew out at great expense to be present. They therefore got together all the evidence. They also submitted all the evidence of their planned wedding. before JoJo’s work commitments required her to return to the UK. Family and friends of the couple were shocked at this outcome. most believing that being engaged or married to a British citizen was enough to gain entry to the UK. During the 5 month wait for the UKBA to change their decision. What was supposed to be their first magical Christmas together in the UK with all of JoJo’s family. The expedited appeal was refused. JoJo and Loïc decided to defy the UKBA and get married on their planned date of the 7th December in Gabon. booked the ceremony and the registrar and invited guests. JoJo’s sister was pregnant and could not risk flying to Central Africa. colleagues and friends. with bad phone signal and getting cut off on numerous occasions. and repeated phone calls went unanswered. and most were shocked to discover that the new rules mean this is far from the case. losing their deposit for the ceremony location and the registrar booking. for which JoJo and Loïc were only given 3 weeks to amass all new evidence they wished to include. working for an organisation focused on great ape conservation in Africa and Asia. The couple comforted themselves in the knowledge that the appeal deadline was the 22nd of February. and so sadly neither could be present on JoJo and Loïc’s special day. And so it was that the couple began married life on different continents. The only option was therefore to submit an appeal to the Visa decision. updating them on the wedding plans. and so the wait began. He never received a reply to any of his emails. The UKBA was then allowed an enormous 5 months to make a decision. and requested an expedited appeal so that they issue could be resolved in time for the wedding. This job earned JoJo more than the required threshold of £18. more photos. The UKBA could . more statements and testimonials from employers. the UKBA would have to let Loïc into the country. They also had to pay more money to the UKBA to move forward with the appeal. JoJo and Loïc were forced to cancel their wedding. and having to tell family and friends the wedding was off. and that in 2 short months they would certainly be reunited. turned into a sad phone call on Christmas day. sending wedding photos. and evidence of phone and email correspondence between JoJo and Loïc during the last two years.manning the phones. JoJo and Loïc did not receive any decision from the UKBA before the 22nd of February. Frustrated with having their lives dictated by an invisible and heartless entity who appeared to have no interest in engaging with them on an individual (or indeed any) level.

But back to the story. What is even worse. The UK government can do nothing to prevent EU nationals (who account for the majority of immigrants to the UK) moving into the UK. and the immense pressure the current government is under to bring down net immigration or risk losing out to UKIP. Having finally shaken off her naïve belief that justice and common sense would prevail. Never mind that the notion of being “British” doesn’t even exist…for centuries and millennia humans have immigrated and emigrated their way around the world. The lawyer was completely unfazed and unsurprised by the unfair and unreasonable behaviour of the UKBA. It can only be assumed that the government wants so badly to dupe the general public into believing that they have some control over immigration. that they are delaying all applications made in the last 12 months for as long as they possibly can. Funnily enough you don’t hear the politicians discussing any of this in public. JoJo began to look into the political side of immigration. and don’t even bother turning up to the hearing…the equivalent would be going to court case which does not . Unfortunately. with no distinctions made between different types of immigration. sadly it was just another example among hundreds that she deals with every day. JoJo and Loïc sought the counsel of a lawyer to ensure that come the hearing they would have everything necessary to make it impossible for the Visa to be turned down. Sheer madness. In the eyes of the great British public. Having realised that just following the rules and being a decent and honest British citizen was not enough to obtain a Visa. and simply wait the 5 months twiddling their thumbs and allow it to go to a hearing. She informed the couple that it was common for the UKBA to not even open appeal documents. it turns out that EU (but non-British) citizens DO have the right to bring their non-EU spouses into the UK to live here. The HM Courts and First Tier Tribunal then wrote to inform the couple that they would have to attend an oral hearing in over 2 months’ time to appeal the decision. and the general public has little idea of the real situation. gleefully rubbing her hands together as she dreams of getting free healthcare. More often than not they never supply the documents requested by HMRC. while British citizens do not. and they have therefore focused all their efforts on the minority of immigrants which come from non-EU countries. spouses included. their propaganda merely serves to increase the general public’s negative attitude to “immigrants”. the HMRC also wrote to the UKBA in Ghana saying they must send documents to support their refusal…but so far nothing has been sent. And yet we are acting like this is some new and never before seen threat to our precious shores. so that they can gleefully proclaim “we have successfully reduced net immigration by X%” in time for the next election. Romans and Neanderthals in our “British” genetic makeup to mention but a few. with Vikings.not even be bothered to write one sentence to acknowledge that JoJo and Loïc had lodged an appeal. but it seems be having the desired effect of making those currently living in Britain react very negatively towards any kind of immigration into their green and pleasant land. the couple were simply met with silence. So 5 months of waiting was essentially nothing but a very elaborate and effective delaying tactic to reach the 1st tier tribunal. Such overt racism and propaganda has not been seen since the days of Hitler’s Germany. what is reported in the papers on a daily basis is grossly misrepresented. all immigrants currently fall under the rather hazy image of a grubby and poorly mannered Romanian/Bulgarian woman with 25 children and many underlying health issues. housing and many other benefits in the UK next year.

This is an outrageous breach of human rights…the right to a family life based entirely on wealth. 10 months that they can never ever get back. a golden time for most couples. However. being more financially secure than some does not prevent JoJo and Loïc being furious at being forced to spend the last 10 months living on separate continents for no good reason. The first 10 months of married life. Another success for bringing down immigration! Unfortunately for them. and with her grandfather’s inheritance it will be very difficult for the UKBA to claim they cannot support themselves. experience so far suggests that the outcome might not be what they have hoped. love will conquer all. The hearing is now set for June 2013. either making the impossible decision to live in a different country and never being able to bring your family to the UK. Presumably in the hopes that their relationship will not withstand the pressure and they will give up on the whole thing. nor what common sense would predict. they underestimate the strength and determination of people in love faced with adversity…inevitably it makes their love stronger. Loïc did not even have to take an English test (and run the risk of failing it) because there was not a testing centre in Gabon. something no company would ever get away with. 12 months after they applied for a Visa. with nothing but intermittent phone calls to sustain them (Loïc lives at the research camp in the rainforest where it is not possible to have Skype).have a prosecution. or alternatively to give up on love altogether. has been spent in miserable solitude. JoJo is very fortunate to be able to earn over the £18. All this was just more evidence that the whole system is nothing but a delaying tactic. they are very lucky and are likely to get a positive outcome to their appeal at some point in the future. but intend to fight the UKBA every step of the way. and while JoJo and Loïc want to remain optimistic that this nightmare will finally come to an end. It is hard to imagine what one would do in that situation.600 threshold to qualify for a Visa. They do not yet have children and so are not enduring the pain of raising a family apart. without a second thought for the thousands of families forced to live apart for prolonged periods. JoJo and Loïc are well aware that compared to others. But that does not stop them being filled with anger and frustration on behalf of those who don’t and may never qualify financially. determined that in the end. Somehow the UKBA is allowed to get away with this behaviour completely unchecked. Being treated like criminals and not even getting to defend themselves against the sheer irrationality of the UKBA. JoJo and Loïc are incredibly lucky compared to many couples in a similar situation. . They are prepared for more delaying tactics and preposterous claims.