BritCits

Unite Families – Fight for Love
Please see below for an extract from the BritCits pack, containing stories of only some of the people adversely affected by the new immigration rules. Names may have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals, for privacy purposes and in some cases, in fear of a backlash by authorities. BritCits firmly believes MPs have a duty to represent interests & concerns of British citizens. That they’ve failed in this most basic duty is what has made ‘government’ a dirty word like never before. All parties claim families form the bedrock of a strong and stable society. However, rules brought in by a government we did not elect, fail to recognise the basic right of families to live together under one roof. This is a right which should never be violated, certainly not in a country purporting to be a democracy. British citizens are most detrimentally affected in Britain by these rules. The government can’t limit immigration from EU nor that of the entire family of a non-EU spouse of an EU citizen – so it erodes rights of British citizens, just to be 'doing something'. BritCits understands the impracticality of an open-door immigration policy; we don’t advocate sham marriages or migration of those coming here to seek benefits. However, BritCits opposes rules keeping genuine families apart. We oppose income thresholds greater than minimum wage, which ignore geographical differences in costs of living. We oppose rules preventing British citizens, who without recourse to public funds, wish to live with and look after their parents. This is highlighted ever so clearly in this coverage by BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20207357 The judicial system has deemed the government has acted illegally in several cases, thereby wasting taxpayers’ money. BritCits is confident these rules will lead to further wastage of taxpayers money, as these too will be overturned by courts if not amended by MPs. In the meantime though, hardworking Brits are separated from their family, causing lasting damage to the welfare of British citizens. The heartbreak, stress & devastation wreaked on Brits who dared to love, be it a parent, spouse or child will be so devastating, it will leave a lasting impact on the economy, our mental & physical health and our values. These rules are causing the break-up of families and couples, with a generation of kids now being brought up by single and ‘Skype’ parents. Please help us stand up for what’s right; please speak up and take action. Please don’t let any government erode basic rights of British citizens in our own country. Please allow us to be real families, and not forced into being ‘Skype’ families. MPs are hoodwinking British citizens. BritCits expects MPs earnings over £65k with plush expense policies and pension benefits (even in times of austerity) to be better informed and not manipulate media to deliberately mislead British citizens. Theresa May falsely claimed illegal and violent migrants have been allowed to remain in the UK because they have a cat (in order to stir up public resentment against Human Rights laws); Mark Harper made erroneous statements on BBC broadcasts (see below). Mark Harper: “People are welcome if sponsor pays for their family without expecting taxpayers to pay” BritCits’ comment: Why then is the immediate family of those willing to provide guarantee/bond/private insurance cover denied this right? The MAC report you rely on to justify the £18,600 threshold specified an income threshold for dependants (such as parents) which has been ignored by this government. Mark Harper: “Changes to family route are to clamp down on benefit abuse, not to reach an immigration target of tens of thousands. British people welcome those coming here to contribute, not claim benefits” BritCits’ comments: a) Non-EU migrants can’t claim benefits for over 5 years. Perhaps clamp down on those who abuse the system, not law-abiding citizens b) Why is the spouse’s income not considered? Mark Harper: “..£18,600 is broadly what you need to not claim income related benefits.” BritCits’ comments: a) Why is an income threshold not applied to parents of British citizens? b) Sneaky use of 'broadly'. Our understanding is those with earnings of c£12k or savings of c£16k can’t claim benefits - why then is the threshold for spouses an income of £18,600 or savings of £62,500 in cash!! Regards Sonel & Steven (BritCits) BritCits@gmail.com

10.11

Quotable quotes from britcits:
“I never ever thought the day would come that I felt ashamed to be British, but that day has come.”
“My poor boys. First their mummy leaves them and now their daddy. They don't deserve this.”

“As British citizens we have fewer rights in Britain than our EU friends and their non-EU partners... ”
“..I can’t just move to another country to be with my fiancé as I still have three years left to complete my Masters degree. I cannot simply drop out of university and earn £18600, as I don’t have the work experience and would not have the qualifications without the degree, to earn that figure. ..“

"If it’s impossible for us as lawyers to understand the rules, what hope is there that a layperson would be able to?"
“I would never wish for my worst enemy to be in the situation I am in now. I feel like I am being told that I do not have the right to love whom I choose or to start a family when I want to.” “All I have left is the hope that, one day, these rules will be made fairer, so I have a chance at the family life we so desperately want.”

“I served in the British army, defended British lives and the British way of life, and now am kept apart from my own wife and child... ”.
“My parents are much older than my wife's and we wanted to be closer to them, so my wife, our son and I could see more of them and help them out in their old age. Not too much to ask, is it... ?”

“UK puts a price tag on love”
“Expat in exile.” “As a result he missed the birth of his first-born child.”

“This government will be remembered as directly and indirectly attacking the most vulnerable in society....”
“They rejected the spouse application because of a technicality, knowing I would not meet the income criteria under the new rules, in another attempt to extort more money.” “We're not asking for hand-outs, just the chance to live as a family unit.”

“I am keen for my small family to be near my parents, to gain recognition of our family as a legal unit and be around to look after my parents as they get older.”
“My life now is just about work, work, work ... and when I have time off, I am too fatigued to do anything but sleep... .”

“I believe in my marriage vows, and am firm in my commitment to my wife.”
BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

“I don’t know how anyone could expect me to be separated from my baby’s daddy ... until I get a job the UKBA agrees with, we miss out on special family moments and our baby misses out on his daddy.”

“Why is it that there is one rule for Europeans and another for British citizens, in Britain?”
“All we want is the opportunity to live permanently together; we are a family, even if it is just the two of us.”

“What if my 92-year-old grandfather dies, without ever having met my wife, and she can’t even pay her last respects at his funeral?!”
“What married couple wants to spend twelve months – maybe more – living in separate countries?”

“In the Conservative pre-election waffle Mr Cameron made a great deal about his views on the sanctity of marriage and family values.”
“This is not how I expected my married life to be, a fight to be with my husband… .”

“Are these the family values the government wants to promote? Keeping parents and children/grandchildren apart ... breaking up husbands and wives?”
“I haven’t seen my wife and son in nearly a year and my family in Britain hasn’t met or held my son.”

“UKBA is happy to take the visa application fees, and find spurious reasons to reject visa applications, in order to take yet more fees....”
“It's about love. It’s about respect. And it's about responsibility.”

“The message we are getting from the UK government is that we are not rich enough to love... ”
“I am being punished by my country for exercising my right to marry who I want. I can’t be with my daughter and grandchild – I can’t look after my grandma and parents because of these rules.”

“My wife is eminently employable, and would be a genuine asset to this country, yet we have to face choices no one should ever have to consider in a so-called "civilised" country – or any country for that matter!”
“When you marry somebody you love for richer or poorer, it should mean just that...I shouldn’t have to choose between being a mum and granddaughter, and being in love.” “They said I was too old for my husband and our marriage would not be accepted in Moroccan culture and so, refused his visa.” “I am in despair. My family has been kept apart for many years, despite playing by the rules...which the government keeps changing.” “I am being pushed out of my own country by this government because I dared to fall in love, have a baby with and marry a woman who is Japanese ”.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

“It is ludicrous and unlawful to put a price on anybody’s marriage and love. We are human and deserve to be together with our loved ones.”

“I have to fulfil my duty to look after my mother in her 70s, and my 12-yearold son, so I have no choice but to fight for my partner to come to the UK. In the meantime I go out to see him as often as I can, nearly 20 times in 5 years!!"
“We live a simple life …yet I am being kicked out of my own country”

“How do you explain to kids that we just don’t make enough money to be together as a family. We have tried to teach our children the importance of family and more so the importance of not judging people by what they have or how much money they have...”
“ My wife has made coming home every day worthwhile..and now the government wants to take this away from me…“

“My American wife is bemused. All visas for non-EU citizens are stamped with a clear ‘no recourse to public funds’. So she doesn’t understand why the burden on taxpayer is even an issue for the British government.”
“ I want people to know I am not a statistic affected by these new rulings, I am a person whose life has been ripped apart; I can’t see how there is going to be a future for me while these rulings are in place. Time is running out for me, I acknowledge I am not a young man any more and this is my last chance of happiness. Why should it be cruelly snatched away from me?”

“My crime - I fell in love and exercised my right to do so.”
“I work, but don’t earn £18,600 and so am condemned to a life in a country where my physical and mental health deteriorate”

“This used to be a great country but the government’s attitude to British people make us 2nd class citizens. Clearly, they want to force us out to make room for rich people and EU nationals“
“As a British student, I can’t live in my country with my wife, because she is American and I don’t earn £18,600 – how many British students do?!”

“The government is separating me from my wife and stepchildren, just because I don’t earn more than £24,800”
“I hope one day I can be with the woman I love, without that love having a price tag..” “As a British Masters student, I can’t live in my own country with my partner, because he is Argentinean and I don’t earn £18,600 – how many British students do?! However, international students coming to the UK from elsewhere in the world can live here with their partner and kids, without needing to earn £18,600. The UK is slamming the doors on its own people, just because we accidentally fall in love with someone from outside Europe’s borders”.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

“Despite being in a genuine loving relationship, the government has forced me into becoming a single mother, juggling work, being a full-time mum and a wife. Family life is supposed to be a right, not a privilege..but it sure doesn’t feel like it!”
“We want to raise our baby together, in a country where the culture and language are not going to damage my career as I need to financially support my family.” “Just when my son and I have found a wonderful man to give us the family life we so desire, UKBA persists in snatching away our chance at happiness..” “In order to be with my husband I need to move to Tunisia or elsewhere in Europe..I don’t understand why I can’t live in my home, with my husband..why must I be forced out just to live with the man I have married?!!”

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Andy
“My poor boys. First their mummy leaves them and now their daddy. They don't deserve this.”
Situation: Married for 6 years, with 2 children, to Molly. Doesn’t meet the income criteria, so having to be a single parent. A new job which would satisfy the income criteria means he is travelling a lot and therefore unable to live with his kids. What does this mean? A British husband apart from his wife and children. British children forced to live apart from their mummy and daddy... in 2012.
British citizen, Andy, has been happily married for six years, and he and his Chinese wife have been patiently waiting for him to find the golden job paying £18,600 so that they can once again be reunited as a family. This has proven to be extremely difficult, despite his qualifications and experience, and so this law abiding and devoted couple have been forced to separate, leaving Andy to act as a single parent to their two infant children in Somerset. There are no words to fully convey the stress this family has been under, with Andy trying to find a well-paid job that will, hopefully, reunite his family. During Molly’s last visit Andy wrote to MP David Laws asking if there was any way he could help extend Molly’s stay, because Andy stood more chance of finding a high-paying job if she were here looking after the children. David did not reply and so Molly returned to China, rather than overstay her visa. Two weeks later Andy received a letter from Mark Harper, Minister for Immigration, claiming categorically that Molly had attempted to deceive the UKBA by visiting her husband and children: ‘If the immigration officer at the port of entry had known this, she would have been refused entry on this basis’. This is because apparently she should have applied for a spouse visa rather than a visitor visa; however, at that time, they were genuinely only intending to visit for a family reunion as Andy’s brother was visiting the UK at that time with his Canadian wife and their newborn daughter. Despite leaving UK within the six months allowed under a visitor visa, by applying as a visitor rather than a spouse, according to Mark Harper, Molly ‘deceived’ the UK Border Agency, and this alleged deception means that she cannot visit UK for ten years, even though she has proved she is not an 'over-stayer'. David Laws confirmed that Harper's stamp of deception would remain in Molly’s file, leaving this poor couple to face the reality that they would remain separated unless and until Andy could find a high paying job. They all miss each other so much and while there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel, with Andy receiving a job offer paying over the threshold (which should in theory qualify him to sponsor Molly six months down the line), it raises location and their children as major issues. So, the family faces further heartbreak over the next six months. The job is in Cornwall, 3 hours away from home in Somerset where the boys are settled in school and playgroup. As his job involves travelling, Andy would need a live-in child-carer. He can’t cope with the thought of another person taking the place of his sweetheart and the children's mummy – another woman the kids would be looking up to as a mum. Taking everything into account they have decided that the boys should stay with their grandparents temporarily, while Andy is working and until a better solution can be found. Andy will see them as many weekends as possible, but he won't be able to spend the school holidays with them, read them a bedtime story, tuck them into bed or be there to soothe away any nightmares. Andy’s job began in late October and so, exactly six months later, on his eldest child’s sixth birthday, the couple believes they should qualify to begin the application process for a spouse visa. By this time the family will have spent nearly 8 months apart; including Christmas, and all their birthdays.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

The children have already stopped attempting to speak Chinese and it breaks Andy’s heart that his kids are losing their heritage and that memories are being created without their mother being a part of them. If Molly was here, they’d be moving to Cornwall together, as a strong happy family, but instead they’re being split up in a scenario reminiscent of Australia’s Stolen Generation – a disastrous episode in that country's history. Have we learnt nothing from past mistakes? Andy is tired and desperately sad, yet somehow finding the energy to stay strong. “I miss my wife so much and feel so heartbroken for her having to explain to friends, family, neighbours and colleagues, why she cannot be with her loving husband and sweet little boys. She’s so brave, so patient and trusting that someday we’ll be reunited. I’m so very proud of her.” Who with a modicum of decency could break up this family? British MPs could and therefore do.

Andy’s family: wife Molly, and their sons, Dylan and Devon, the night before Molly left the UK.

With the 8 hour time difference the boys only get to Skype their mummy at weekends. A clearly demoralised Andy says: “Devon (3) now calls us ‘Computer Mummy and Daddy’”.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Anastasia & James
“As British citizens we have fewer rights in Britain than our EU friends and their non-EU partners... ”
Anastasia is a British citizen and lives in Edinburgh with her British husband and their British children. Anastasia has a wide and varied circle of international friends. There is Patrick from Ireland married to Jing from China, Andy a Scot married to Katarina from Poland, José from Spain married to Lisa from Argentina, and Mike from Netherlands married to Olga from Russia. Then there is Anastasia and James, both British citizens. Indeed, Anastasia recognises, through her friends circle, that what makes Britain great is how multicultural we are. This is what makes our country rich. They come in all different shapes and sizes; José prefers coffee to tea and Jing goes for rice over potatoes. But when this group of friends meets up, they all have a good time together, comparing stories about their families and experiences from around the world and Anastasia is reminded how small the world has become and how we all share the same common wishes and experiences: the desire to give our children the best possible start in life, the longing to be together as a family and the heartache of being apart. They share all these things in common and there is not much to tell Anastasia apart from her friends – except that is until it comes to the UK immigration rules. That is when she discovered that James and she are the odd ones out. Anastasia’s mum is a Russian citizen, living in Russia on her own since Anastasia’s dad died in a car crash two and a half years ago. Anastasia has no other siblings to help look after her mum. After many years of waiting, this summer Anastasia and James were fortunate to be blessed with twin girls. Anastasia’s mum retired from her job to come to the UK for six months on a visitor visa to help with the babies. Following the difficult years after Anastasia’s dad’s tragic and unexpected death, it was good to see her mum happy again and engaging with her granddaughters. Anastasia is therefore keen to have her mum live with them, with no burden on the State. Under the previous immigration rules this would have been possible and they were planning to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain; however, following the introduction of the new immigration rules in July this year, Anastasia is in total despair as the route has effectively been completely closed off. The situation is causing severe distress; instead of enjoying motherhood Anastasia spends most of her day desperately trying to find a solution to this cruel problematic situation. The new rules have set the proof of dependency so high that it is actually impossible to foresee any circumstances whereby a visa would be granted to a parent of a British citizen. Should the sponsor earn a reasonable salary, it’s deemed they can afford to pay for care in the parent’s home country; if the sponsor doesn’t earn a reasonable salary, they can’t prove they can support their parent without recourse to public funds. So with money or without it, elderly parents are blocked from the country. As these rules apply only to UK citizens, within Anastasia’s circle of friends they are the only ones affected, because both her and husband are British. Even a non-EU citizen living in the UK with their EEA or Swiss spouse or civil partner can bring their family members (children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and cousins) into the UK so long as their EU partner can show a family member is dependent on them. So, for example, a Russian citizen married to a citizen of France, Germany, Poland, Hungary, etc. can bring their Russian mother to live permanently with them in the UK, but Anastasia and James, as British citizens, are denied that same right, in their own country.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

To Anastasia, the situation in Britain today is terribly reminiscent of the forced exiles associated with Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. In the 1930s her great grandfather’s family were forced off their land, had their property and belongings confiscated by the Bolsheviks, and were exiled to the north of Russia because they were a little bit richer than everybody else in their village. In 21st-century Britain, Anastasia is being penalised because she has a mother who is not British, and thus deprived of the right to live comfortably with her family in the country of which she herself is a citizen. Why? Since coming to this country Anastasia has studied, at her own expense, volunteered with several charities, worked hard and paid taxes; she has never claimed benefits. So, what has she done to deserve this? As parents, Anastasia and James want to stay in their own country and raise their kids to be British, but if they do this, then they are being told by the current government that they must abandon Anastasia’s mother and that she has to be vegetating before her entry to the UK can even be considered (and even then it would be rejected under the current rules). It is blatantly unfair that families in UK are being forced to make such choices, just because they’re British.

James, Anastasia, her mum and the twins

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Damar
“I served in the British army, defended British lives and the British way of life, and now am kept apart from my own wife and child... ”.
Damar is a Hong Kong-born British national, a former Gurkha soldier and now an IT professional – and another victim of this government’s new immigration rules impacting on families. Damar lives in Hampshire and his initial plan was to move to UK with his wife and 10-year-old daughter, both Filipino nationals, earlier this summer. The said law, however, prevents this, forcing him to be apart from his family. A man who served in the British army, defending British lives and the British way of life, is now being prevented from having a life with his own wife and child. Damar and his family decided to build a future in Britain in response to the IT skills shortage and to provide his daughter with a better education. Damar has a science degree majoring in computing and networking (BScCN) and a Master of Science in Information Technology (MScIT). With over 12 years of IT work experience, and 9 years of exemplary military service before that in the Brigade of Gurkhas, part of the British Army, he is confident that he would be a net contributor to the economy and community. Damar is, and has always been, an asset not a burden, to UK. It’s clear this unacceptably harsh law will prevent British citizens, including some who have served in the British army, from settling in the UK. The pain of separation from his wife and daughter is indescribable and brings to the fore the ignorance of the Home Secretary – someone who does not, or chooses not to, understand the impact of the rules she has imposed and devastation being wreaked. The enforced separation has taken its toll on the physical and psychological health of Damar’s family, with insomnia and depression taking a toll on their health. This government, despite a manifesto claim, is neither family-friendly nor one with morals or common sense. Damar is aware of British public’s frustration with immigration abuse and sham marriages, but the Government has chosen to punish poorer and rural British citizens instead of genuinely targeting problem areas. All are shocked that this government places financial conditions on love, family and human rights. Damar is forced to maintain living expenses in UK and Hong Kong, two equally expensive places. To sponsor his wife and daughter in the UK, he has to find a job with a salary of at least £22,400 per annum. The Government is claiming the law is fair, pro-family, and beneficial to the British economy, reduces immigrant numbers by hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands, and upholds the principles of human rights. A complete farce. If preventing certain EU citizens – British citizens with non-EU spouses – from living together will reduce immigrant numbers to the level claimed, it’s wrong in principle and in its estimate of 'success'. Damar’s desire to live here doesn’t involve sponging on welfare benefits. It’s to work and provide his family with a better quality of life in the country he risked his life to defend. This law is an attack on human rights (including a fundamental right to family life), and the UK’s reputation as an advocate of human rights and open and fair democracy is fast being eroded. It has closed its door to its own citizens; it has, however, provided enough ground to be challenged in court, which it will be, and thus more taxpayers’ money will be frittered away. How do such rules safeguard taxpayers and the British economy, as the Government has claimed?

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Aimee
“..I can’t just move to another country to be with my fiancé as I still have three years left to complete my Masters degree. I cannot simply drop out of university and earn £18600, as I don’t have the work experience and would not have the qualifications without the degree, to earn that figure. ..“
Aimee is a British citizen and in the second year of her MSc (Chemistry) at University of Nottingham. She is 24 years old and engaged and to be married in December 2012 to David, a 25-year-old Masters student, majoring in Advanced Computer Science, also at University of Nottingham. Aimee’s fiancé is very employable; he is fluent in English, has a master’s degree and has experience in his field of work of software development. He would not be requesting access to public funds, nor would he become a burden on the economy. Under the previous rules, the means to meet the financial requirement to demonstrate that they would not need to access public funds. However, new rules brought in requiring Aimee to earn £18,600 (regardless of David’s earnings) mean this couple is facing years apart. Because David is Colombian. Aimee has been told that for them to meet the financial requirement for her fiancé’s visa, she would have to have been earning a salary of £18600 for at least 6 months prior to the visa application. However, as she is a student and her fiancé has just finished his course at the end of September, to graduate in December, they have been relying solely on their part-time jobs and scholarships, and have therefore not been in full time employment. Aimee feels the new rules for financial requirement are unjust as they don’t take into account individual circumstances. Aimee cannot simply move to another country for them to be together as she still has three years left at university. She also cannot simply drop out of university and earn £18600, as she doesn’t have the work experience and would not have the qualifications without her degree, to earn that figure. Indeed, on minimum wage she would earn approximately £12000, which is far off the threshold. To Aimee it’s nonsensical how £18,600 could be considered reasonable; as a student she receives less than half of that income, and is still able to pay her bills. The unemployed people on JSA are earning less than that figure and are able to live. Aimee does not need luxury items to love her fiancé.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Gary and Lise
"If it’s impossible for us as lawyers to understand the rules, what hope is there that a layperson would be able to?"
Gary, a British citizen, is married to Lise, a South African human rights lawyer. Gary studies and works in South Africa, also as a lawyer. His parents, sister and grandmother all live in the UK and are British by birth. Both of his grandfathers fought for England in World War II. Gary would like to move back to the UK, with his wife, but is being prevented from doing so by this government. Last tax year Gary earned less than £18,600 and Lise, a bit more. Their main concerns, on which they would like to challenge the laws, are as follows: 1. At the entry level stage, only Gary’s income is taken into account. However, in the 2nd phase, where Lise would be applying to have the visa extended, both the UK and foreign spouses' incomes are taken into account. There is no rational basis for the distinction. Why can they take Lise’s salary into account for a later part of the enquiry, but not at the initial stage? Where is the logic in that? Gary makes just below the threshold, Lise just over it. Together they earn twice the threshold amount. 2. The authorities have justified the rules are in place to ensure people don’t enter the UK to live off public benefits. Lise is a qualified lawyer with four university degrees, one from an internationally renowned institution in Switzerland. She has worked in New York at the UN, and as a Law Clerk to the Chief Justice of South Africa, the highest court there. She owns real estate property which she rents out at a profit. The assumption that she is going to “live off benefits” in England is absolutely preposterous. On the contrary, if Lise could get a spousal visa she would most likely start working, paying taxes and contributing significantly to the public purse immediately. However, only Gary’s income is taken into account, and none of the above information is relevant at the entry level stage. Again, this has absolutely no rational basis, especially given that at the second stage of the process the foreign spouse’s income can suddenly be taken into account. Lise and Gary, having studied and worked in South Africa, assume that in the UK, as is the case in South Africa, laws which have no rational link to their purpose can be struck out by a court, particularly with anomalies such as the following: The Rules, downloaded from the Home Office’s website, are vague and contradictory, and should be struck out on judicial review on this basis alone. For example: a. Gary and Lise are self-employed advocates (the South African version of barristers) who find the rules contradictory and nonsensical. In one place the rules state Gary’s income from the past financial year will be taken into account, while in another it is from the last two financial years. b. In one place the rules state that gross income is taken into account, in another they state that it’s taxable income, after expenses have been deducted, which will be taken into account. c. Schedule B has options F and G – for self-employed persons – one taking into account one financial year and another taking into account the average of two financial years. It is not possible to distinguish from the rules whether this couple falls into category F or G, as there is no distinction made. d. Schedule B seems to imply that Gary does not have to have a job offer in UK starting with 3 months of application if his business is still operating. This, again, makes no sense. In order to qualify as selfemployed, a requirement is that one has to show the business is still operating. If it’s impossible for Gary and Lise, two lawyers, to read these rules and know whether Gary must have a job offer in the UK within 3 months, then what hope is there for a layperson to understand them??

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Laura
“I would never wish for my worst enemy to be in the situation I am in now. I feel like I am being told that I do not have the right to love whom I choose or to start a family when I want to.”
Laura is a 25-year-old British citizen, living in Scotland and married to Mohamed a 28-year-old Egyptian. They have been together for four years and married for two, but not been able to live together before now as they were both at university. Mohamed has a degree in Business Management and Laura has an Honours degree in Biomedical Science. Laura has worked very hard to be able to establish a career in science. Her plan has always been to stay, build a life and develop her career in the UK. She doesn’t rely on benefits nor does she ever wish to. Since finishing her degree in 2010, Laura has worked full time in a permanent position as a Laboratory Veterinary Scientist on £18,100, which in Scotland is at the upper end of those with similar qualifications/experience. Her salary is set to increase every year – with further scope for increases due to promotions. The starting wage in science is, in general, quite low in Edinburgh where she resides. Laura has also worked for and made contributions in science for the Scottish Government. Laura manages to save £600 every month after all outgoings, which she knows would be more than enough to support her spouse were he to be able to live with her in the UK. In addition, were Mohamed given the opportunity to work and contribute to the UK economy, their situation would be very much improved. Laura is also in the process of paying off her student overdraft to satisfy UKBA, so they don’t frown upon her debt when this young couple applies for a settlement visa. Laura visits Mohamed every few months, but her current job only allows for 11 consecutive days holiday, meaning they cannot see each other as often as they did before. The length of time and paperwork required for a UK family visit visa previously meant it was easier for Laura to visit Mohamed in Egypt. Mohamed has also visited Laura in the UK (on a family visit visa) for a period of 2 months, not overstaying on the 6 months permitted, in order to honour his own career commitments. Had they however been aware of the new rules, they would have maximised their time together, and Mohamed would have stayed for 6 months. This couple has tried so hard to do everything by the book – following the guidelines set by UKBA in order to be reunited and live together as husband and wife. They saved all their spare money for a spouse visa, only to come across a hike in the fees. So then, they had to save more. Laura has gone hungry some nights; she doesn’t go out socially, doesn’t shop for new clothes to save money for visas and flights to see her husband, while also paying off student loans. It is incredibly frustrating that the income requirement is such that even someone with a degree working as a Laboratory Veterinary Scientist is still unable to meet the required income level; it’s shameful that Laura has had to take on a second job, working in Pizza Hut, to reach the £18,600 level. When the government introduced the English language requirement, Mohamed sat and passed the exam in the UK - with distinction. They were so happy, thinking they had overcome the final hurdle – only to find that the government has now changed the requirements yet again, making it harder to harder to not only deliver on what this government wants, but even to understand what they want. It is not feasible for Laura to move to Egypt to be with her husband Mohamed. She has a degree and a good job with great prospects here in the UK. Were she to be forced to move to Egypt, everything she has ever worked towards would be taken away. Laura does not speak fluent Arabic, meaning it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find a job, especially in the science field.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Laura wants to start a family in the near future. She has cysts on her ovaries, so fears kids may not be an option were she to wait very long. Concerns of poor education and conditions for her future children, things other British citizens have a right to, also makes moving to Egypt undesirable. Laura would never wish for her worst enemy to be in the situation she is in now; she feels like she is being told that she doesn’t have the right to love who she wants, or to start a family when she wants to. She is being discriminated against for not having a “well enough” paid job and her life has been put on hold because of these changes. Laura is on anti-depressants to combat her depression and at times, suicidal thoughts as a result of her frustration at finding that each time she thinks they have satisfied the criteria the goal posts have been moved yet again. How many people will have to sacrifice their life before this government realises the devastating impact of these rules on British families?

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Kelly
“All I have left is the hope that, one day, these rules will be made fairer, so I have a chance at the family life we so desperately want.”
Kelly is a 27-year-old British woman married to an Egyptian man, with whom she has a son (British). They met in December 2009 while she was on holiday in Egypt, following which she spent a year travelling to Egypt for weeks at a time to see him, and to meet and spend time with his family. They got married in October 2010 and have just celebrated their second wedding anniversary albeit, sadly, not together this time. After they got married, they lived in Egypt, but it was a huge culture shock for Kelly; despite her numerous visits there is a big difference between visiting and living there. While they tried their best to make it a home for her, she just couldn’t fit in with the lifestyle and the culture there. Soon after moving to Egypt she fell pregnant; although she was extremely happy and excited about becoming a mum for the first time, she couldn’t enjoy the pregnancy as she would have liked. Thus Kelly and her husband decided she would go back to England to have the baby and her husband applied for a visit visa to be there for the birth. Unfortunately the visa was refused. At that point Kelly decided to stay in Egypt for the birth, as she wanted her husband with her for the birth of their first child. But in her seventh month of pregnancy she developed DVT and was hospitalised in Egypt. For her and her child’s safety, Kelly and her husband decided it would be better if she went to the UK, without him, for the birth to ensure she received proper treatment in case there were any further complications. Their son is now three and half months old and has yet to meet his father. It's a very hard situation to be in, knowing that not only is her husband missing out on their son’s life, but that their son is missing out on getting to know his father. Kelly would like to be reunited with her husband but is undergoing medical treatment and is cautious about raising her son in a place that she hasn’t been able to adjust to herself. Under the current immigration rules though, she’s finding it impossible to envisage a situation where she, her husband and their baby could live together. For her, a salary of £18,600 for her might as well be £186,000 it is so difficult to attain. It’s sad this family is torn apart because our government puts a price on being a family and Kelly dared to fall in love with someone from outside the EU; so now she is being forced either to live as a single mother, without her husband, or to move to Egypt where she doesn’t want to live, despite the fact that both Kelly and her son are British and thus, effectively, being kicked out of their own home and their own country. Kelly spends all day thinking of ways that they can be the happy family that she always wanted to have, but she is running out of options. All she has left is the hope that one day these rules will be made fairer, so that she will have a chance at the family life she so desperately wants and should have the right to.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Joel
“My parents are much older than my wife's and we wanted to be closer to them, so my wife, our son and I could see more of them and help them out in their old age. Not too much to ask, is it...?”
British citizen, Joel, lives in Forest of Dean (in Gloucestershire) and his MP is Mark Harper, Minister for Immigration. Joel’s wife is American. They’ve been married for five years, with a four-year-old son, also British. As Joel’s parents are much older than his wife’s they decided to relocate from US to UK to be closer to Joel’s parents, spend time them with them, allow a bond to develop between their son and his grandparents and afford his parents the respect they deserve by looking after them in their old age. All these are noble intentions the government should encourage. Instead, Joel and his family are being penalised. Ironically, Joel used to work for UK government departments in various locations in the world as an Entry Clearance Officer. So he had sound working knowledge of the immigration rules, having processed thousands of visa applications himself. However, not having worked in immigration for over two years, it was only when they came to look into making an application for his wife that Joel discovered how drastically the rules had changed. Previously you had to demonstrate you could 'adequately' maintain and accommodate your spouse. It was a common sense decision that the Entry Clearance officer could make themselves. Third-party support (i.e. from parents, etc.) was perfectly acceptable; there was no statutory minimum income for the sponsor to earn (although it was very loosely based on the level of income support amount for a couple over 18, i.e. £111.45 a week). Also taken into account was the applicant's ability to find employment in the UK and ALL savings were admissible, not just those over £16,000. The new rules take all powers of discretion away from the Entry Clearance Officer. If you don't meet the rules, you get refused. Simple as that. Joel does not believe, in his extensive UK public sector service and immigration experience, that these rules are lawful, or understood by politicians themselves. Joel has had excellent jobs in the past, while his American wife has a post-graduate degree, an MBA in Finance, has worked as an investment banker and is currently working for the US government i.e. she is extremely well qualified and not someone who is going to switch countries to claim meagre welfare benefits. Clearly, her chances of getting a job in the UK, with these qualifications, are very good, and indeed she is exactly the kind of candidate we should be seeking to attract. But that's no longer taken into account. So, Joel has moved here with their son, and is living with his parents in Gloucestershire. Meanwhile, his wife is on her own in Washington DC. Joel is desperately trying to find a job that will make the required £18,600 a year. That's not a realistic amount to find easily in this area, so he is looking for work in London. But then he faces the problem of who will look after his son and elderly parents. If his wife were here, then the duties of looking after their child and his parents would be shared. The burden would be halved, and the family would not be torn apart. The ludicrous nature of this situation and the rule changes mean that, in theory, Joel could earn the required amount but probably end up spending a huge proportion of that on living in London and paying for care for his family. Yet he could find a job paying around £15,000 a year, live with his parents, wife and child and not have the carer expenses to pay for. And his wife could find gainful employment.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Suzanne
“UK puts a price tag on love”
Suzanne is British, with an American fiancée, living in the north-east of England. They’ve been together for nearly three years and planned to marry this year. Suzanne earns £16,600. She earns less than £18,600, a salary she is unlikely to earn for a long time, because the average wages in northern England are lower than in the rest of the country. Their only recourse is to try and save up over £20,000 in cash – a figure the government has plucked out of thin air, to make up for the £2,000 income deficit from the £18,600 per annum salary requirement. An amount that will take years to save, if ever. Suzanne cannot move to the US because the American government does not recognise same-sex unions. So, their lives are on hold, and their right to a private life is held in check by two countries with equally discriminatory laws. UK puts a price tag on love, and America has a gender requirement. Since they have no idea when they will be able to be together, the separation is slowing chipping away at their sanity as they struggle to stay on track; relationships are hard enough to maintain at the best of times. However, enforced distance results in additional frustrations, distress and depression.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Tom
“Expat in exile.”
Tom is a British citizen living in Asia for the last seven years. When he went there on holiday, he succeeded in obtaining an internship, after a year of unsuccessful post-graduation job-hunting in the UK. Through the internship, Tom met the love of his life and got married. Tom’s wife’s career as a sales and marketing executive in the hospitality industry took off. So they stayed there instead of moving to the UK. However, the rules in his wife’s country are such that Tom needs sponsorship from his employer to work there, despite being married to a local for so long. This sponsorship comes at great expense and hence companies don’t tend to sponsor foreign workers, especially at the career level Tom is at. While Tom writes for magazines and gets some consulting work, it’s very ad hoc; he is unable to get a steady job because of the visa situation. As their daughter was born last summer, Tom spent more time being the stay-at-home dad. However, like any parent, he wants what is best for his child. His main concerns are on the grounds of: - Work (for the reasons explained above, and to bring some equity into the relationship – there are also a lot more jobs in Tom’s field in the UK); - Health (hospitals there aren't as good as the children’s hospitals in the UK); - School (schools there are very expensive and state schools are not good); - Social life (wanting his child to grow up in a healthy multicultural environment, where she will have exposure to both her parents’ heritage). In April 2012, Tom relocated to the UK. His mum would look after her granddaughter while he jobhunted/worked and it all looked so doable. The family was excited to have Tom back, with his new family, and they were all looking forward to a new future together bringing up their baby in the UK. Tom’s mum’s disability meant that he had no one to look after his daughter while he looked for work or for when he actually found work. It was now his wife's responsibility to get a solid job offer, which was still allowed under the old rules. Tom’s wife came up with a brilliant idea to work as a representative in the UK for Asian hotels. This is already being done by a couple of English salespeople but they had the unique quality of being a local, speaking the local language and familiar with their customs. This meant getting paid by hotels in Asia, which meant her actually bringing money into the country. In fact, they believed it would be so successful they’d be able to employ people in England as well. Bringing money in and creating employment – how could that be refused by the UKBA? In the meantime, the baby began to teeth and got more active. With no news on the new rules, they made a decision for Tom to return to Asia while his wife continued to try and develop the business. Ironically, on the plane (on Sunday June 10th) a fellow passenger told him about an article she'd just read in The Mail on Sunday about the new rules. Tom was stunned. There wasn't much detail in the article but they soon found out that the door was well and truly shut. They had until July 9th to get their application in but they were unable to get enough clients in time. They have reached the stage where they think it's time to give up, for now. As an expat, Tom has no MP to complain to. They can't afford a doomed-to-failure application and a Judicial Review to charge May with abusing her power, nor to question the legality of making expats such as Tom exiles, so they have to look at making the best of what they have overseas – even though it breaks his heart knowing he is unable to provide for his family because they can't move back to his own country.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Sarah
“As a result he missed the birth of his first-born child.”
Sarah is a British citizen from Bradford. Sarah met her husband in the UK, and they lived together as a family in England for 18 months before his visa expired. They should qualify for the right to live together under the Zambrano ruling but delays on the part of UKBA are keeping this family in limbo. Sarah has two kids from a previous relationship, and a child with her husband (this is her first marriage) who she is trying to sponsor to move to the UK from Turkey, so their family can be together. Her two eldest kids call her husband dad, even though he is not their birth father. That is how close this family is. Sarah does not satisfy the £18,600 income threshold. She is in receipt of benefits, including income support and child tax credit. However, this will change when her husband joins her, as once he is working (there is already a job lined up) Sarah will cease to be eligible for benefits which are means tested (although she will continue to receive tax credits in respect of the children). Sarah relocated to Turkey with her family and eventually decided to move back to the UK for her children’s education. They applied for a visitor's visa for her husband, so that he could be here for their child’s birth, but the visa was refused on the grounds that because his family was in England they thought he may not return to Turkey. As a result he missed the birth of his first-born child. It has not been an easy time for Sarah, what with having to give birth alone, raise not one but three kids alone, and then have a faulty toaster set their house on fire. Sarah, her husband and the three children stay in touch using MSN, a webcam and Web chat every day. They have applied for a spouse visa for him; however, under the new rules, they may as well just donate more money to the British government which seems intent on tearing apart this family rather than understanding that being with her husband is what would be best for Sarah and her three children.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Rob
“They rejected the spouse application because of a technicality, knowing I would not meet the income criteria under the new rules, in another attempt to extort more money.”
Rob is a British professional musician, with a first class degree in music, and has taught music and performed at concerts. Paul has an eight-year-old son and lives in a detached house in Huddersfield. Rob has worked hard for everything he has and hasn’t received help from the state in the form of benefits. However, Rob is not rich. Rob fell in love with an Indonesian woman, and married her. They believe they are each other’s soulmate. They made vows to each other, with God as their witness, to be together, for richer and poorer. Rob is a standard Brit, never having needed to worry about the UK immigration system. In battling for a spouse visa application, however, he realised how bureaucratic the process is, and indeed how unfair and weighted towards the rich it is, given the application fees. Rob and his wife applied for a spouse visa on June 26th, weeks before what he terms the ‘ethnic cleansing type rules’ came in. They submitted accounts for three years (he is self-employed – not rich but better off than many), bank statements, originals and copies, everything as requested ... no stone was left unturned. For over two months, the message from the Embassy was ‘Application under process at the British Embassy’, and then, in early September, they received an email asking her to take a SELT English test. The message in the email indicated that if she did not submit this within seven days her visa would be rejected. Despite the short notice, the managed it and this was submitted on time as well. About a month later, they received a message saying the application was ready for collection; however, it was refused because of the English test. This struck Rob as bizarre as his wife’s English is fantastic. Delving further into it, the authorities said she had passed the reading, writing and listening requirements but had not submitted the speaking part. Although they put in an appeal, called a lawyer and asked what to do, they were advised that the appeal would probably be rejected; and applying for a new visa would fall under the new rules requiring submission of another £900 fee. Rob was bemused, surely the authorities could just have said, ‘Hey your application is ok, but you just need to do the speaking test, we'll give you another week’? Instead they rejected the application because of a technicality, knowing Rob would be unlikely to meet the income criteria, in yet another attempt to extort more money. Rob’s uncle fought in Burma in WW2, fighting the Japanese for the UK. He himself has worked hard and paid his taxes. His great uncle was just a name tag when he came back from France in WW1. His great grandfather died from the repercussions of WWI, also fighting for the UK. Is this the UK that his family went to war for? Rob now very much has to come to terms with the fact that he will need to sell his house in the UK and relocate himself and his son to Indonesia. Another plus towards the immigration target but another loss for Britain, our economy and our people.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Alice
“We’re not asking for hand-outs, just the chance to live as a family unit.”
Alice is a British citizen living here in the UK, in Norfolk. She is 34 years of age, with an 8-year-old daughter from her first marriage. In May 2010 she met a lovely man who happened to be Tunisian, and more than two years later, in June 2012, they got married in Tunisia. They previously applied for him to come here for a 6-week visit in December 2011 and were refused entry, even though they had a guarantor (Alice’s reasonably well-off father) AND had savings to pay for the visit. The reason for the refusal was that the UKBA felt he did not have enough reason to return to his country following the visit! They subsequently decided to apply for a spouse visa following the marriage but missed the deadline for the rules changing. Alice lives in a small town in Norfolk where a salary of £18,600, particularly in retail – the industry she works in – is very difficult to obtain. The language requirement is not an issue – her husband speaks fluent English and even has a TEFL certificate. Alice is a single mother and has been using her savings to visit her husband in Tunisia (last year she managed three visits) because he can't come here, even for a visit!! Like countless other families affected by these rules, Alice spends most of her life on Skype and is regretfully beginning to accept that she may never be able to be with her husband, because otherwise it would mean keeping her daughter away from her dad. She is at a loss, she feels discriminated against by the British government. Alice is not asking for handouts, just the chance to live as a family unit. Alice, and hundreds like her, is exactly the sort of person we and UK politicians should be protecting.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Juliet
“I am keen for my small family to be near my parents, to gain recognition of our family as a legal unit and be around to look after my parents as they get older.”
Juliet, a British citizen and a qualified teacher, lives in Thailand. She is hoping to sponsor her civil partner, a qualified chef, to return to live in the UK with her and their twins. The couple, who met in 2009, planned to live with Juliet’s parents in West Sussex, but are unlikely to be able to secure work in the area prior to arriving in the UK. Juliet’s family’s local MP is Peter Bottomley (Conservative). “We had the most amazing year – finally, success in our attempt to become pregnant and our wedding in Hanoi, Vietnam. We had no idea about the new visa rules because we’d been tied up starting our new life together and supporting Great Britain in the Olympics. We never planned to raise this family in Bangkok – we were conscious that we could not be a legal and protected family here. After a year of trying to get pregnant, once it actually happened I felt very strongly that I wanted the twins to bond closely with my own parents. We discovered the impact of the new rules and felt like we’d been hit in the face with a sledgehammer. Absolutely devastating.” Juliet feels people – including politicians – simply don’t understand the implications of these new rules. She realises she is one of the lucky BritCits, in the sense that she is currently living with her spouse and employed abroad; but, despite her earning over the £18,600 threshold, it is unlikely they will be able to move to the UK as planned. This is especially problematic for them because, as a same-sex couple, they cannot stay together indefinitely in Thailand where their civil partnership is not recognised; with kids in the picture this is especially important – UK law allows for Juliet’s partner to register legally as the second parent of their children at birth, but not to live where these laws apply! For ex-pats, returning from abroad is a period of great adjustment and the arrangements can be timeconsuming. Juliet was aware that, under the previous rules, she could return to the UK and allow herself some time to adjust to family life. Juliet and her partner would have been able to look for work with her parents offering support in the form of childcare and living costs. They would have been able to demonstrate no need to access public funds as the couple have modest savings of their own and a property in the UK. Juliet’s parents were more than happy to provide third party support if required and were delighted Juliet wanted to raise her children close by. They will also need Juliet close by to look after them, as they get older. All these plans were thrown out the window, however, with the changes on 9 July 2012. The new rules require a job offer to be signed and sealed in the UK before allowing a successful spouse visa application. As a primary school teacher with 9 years’ experience, in theory this poses no problem and just a slight change in the couple’s approach. But getting a job offer as a teacher from abroad is not easy – most schools will require lesson observations as part of the interview and give preference to those applying from within the UK. If Juliet wants to move to the UK with her family, her options are now: a) Find a teaching job in advance, not easy; b) Move with their children and look for a teaching job, facing at least six months apart from her partner during the twins’ formative years; c) Stump up £62,500 in cash and demonstrate that she would not need access to it over the next few years.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

In the case of (a) or (b) this would mean a probable move to London, without support from her family; (b) would mean being a single parent trying to meet the £18,600 income criterion while looking after two children. London makes proving secure accommodation problematic. Are the couple expected to take out a rental contract on a London property they have never seen while they await the visa result, throwing money down the drain? Would they be penalised for applying while using the homes of friends with a spare room, or a couch for Juliet to sleep on, while she is job hunting? The 1985 Overcrowding Act states that living rooms DO count as bedrooms, but the rules’ qualification of ‘for their exclusive use’ may rule this out. Another example of the measures put in place for no reason other than to present an obstacle and prevent decent hardworking Brits from exercising their right to live in their own country. In London, Juliet would also lose the family support she moved home for and her parents would lose the support they will increasingly need from her. Additionally, she would have to spend half her salary on expenses such as childcare. In this case, she would qualify for working tax credits – benefits she would not be in need of if she were just allowed to be here with her partner!! How is breaking this family apart better for the British economy? As Juliet’s brother is in the same position – working in Tanzania, with a Tanzanian partner – the future is quite grim for Juliet’ parents, both British, both getting old, and both alone in the UK. For now, they can handle the long-haul flights to Asia and Africa, but this will become an increasing burden. They are being denied the right to see their grandchildren and being denied to have, in their old age, their own children around them. Juliet’s parents were tax-paying public sector workers throughout the whole of their working lives, until retirement. Why should they too be denied such basic rights by our politicians, who are being paid to look out for British people's interests? Juliet has been employed without a break since she qualified as a teacher in 2004, is a graduate with not one but two postgraduate qualifications, and worked in UK state schools for five years. Like many others, she is now being prevented from returning to her home just because she fell in love with a foreigner. Juliet’s partner is also a graduate and has also been gainfully employed or managing her own business for ten years without a break. Juliet says that if the rule changes had come with fair warning, discussion and publicity, she could have planned her life around them. She never imagined when she left on a two-year work contract in 2009 that she would be prevented from returning to her own country. The very core of fairness for all applications has been removed: assessment on a case-by-case basis of couples’ demonstration that they won’t need state help. Whatever the government says, people’s whole circumstances demand proper consideration. By their very definition, the new ‘Fixed Requirements’ are utterly unfair. Juliet suspects removing the use of discretion and assessment of individual cases results in a reduction in processing times, thus giving the impression of improved efficiency. Better for Britain? Better for MPs' propaganda! Tearing apart families causes untold suffering at the most personal level, and the welfare of innocent children should be properly prioritised. For children, the security and love of their family is of vital importance and destroying or interrupting them can cause irreparable damage. The Conservatives said this themselves in their pro-family pre-election spiel … but is it a qualified importance that can be disregarded on the most arbitrary technicality? What hypocrisy! What damage they will do! This isn’t a couple coming to the UK to sponge off benefits. This is a couple coming to the UK to give their kids – British kids – a better life, and to provide support and care for ageing British parents. They are not asking for anything more than British citizens have a basic right to already.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Naila
“This government will be remembered as directly and indirectly attacking the most vulnerable in society....”
Naila is a British citizen living in Bradford. She got married last year on April 29th and had to wait until she turned 21 to apply for a spouse visa. As she didn’t have a job here she moved to Pakistan to live with her husband there, rather than spend the time immediately after her wedding living apart. Naila is British. She was unable to adjust to life in Pakistan – the culture, expectations and rights of women are very different to what she is used to. So she returned to the UK. She is now working full time in a newsagent's, and has been doing so for the past three months, but then the rules came in requiring her to earn a salary of £18,600 for at least six months. So now she has wait even longer until she can apply for a visa. Under the new rules her right to live happily with her husband has been taken away from her. It seems to Naila that now, in order for a British person to marry someone from outside the UK, you have to be as rich as the government. Naila insists her husband is very hard working; he owns a sports shop in Pakistan and they intend that when he is in the UK, he will also work very hard here to support Naila so that they can live a happy life. There is no way he will just sit back and do nothing – he would not qualify for benefits so that’s not an issue either. Naila has been married for nearly 16 months and still has not been able to apply for her husband’s visa. The new rules for Naila and others in her position are unrealistic and unachievable. They are just causing pain, misery and heartbreak across our country.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Amanda
“Why is it that there is one rule for Europeans and another for British citizens, in Britain?”
Amanda is a British citizen who has been unlucky in love. Her brother died a couple of years ago, followed by her mum, auntie, grandmother and cousin. Her ex-husband was violent and abusive towards her. And now the government wants to keep Amanda apart from her husband. Amanda and her husband, Imed got married in a ceremony in Tunisia with her family and best friend in attendance. Imed is lovely and is very different from her ex-husband. Amanda earns £16,200 a year. £2,400 short of the magical £18,600 figure. So the government tells Amanda that she cannot live with her husband in the UK. Amanda understandably feels like she is being punished by her own government, for marrying someone whose religion and race don’t fit in with the correct ‘image’. She doesn’t believe that the stringency of the rules have anything to do with being in the interest of the economy. Indeed, it can’t have anything whatsoever to do with that, given the government and UKBA have stipulated that anyone from outside the EU has no access to public funds. Amanda’s husband is not asking for handouts. He has always worked, and worked long hours, for wages that some in the UK would not even get out of bed for. All Amanda wants is the right to live in the same house as her husband, in the same country as her husband...and for that she feels like a criminal. People have asked Amanda, ‘why don’t you go and live with your husband in Tunisia’? Her response – she has a home in the UK. She has two children who live with her. She has two grandchildren. She has a great job. It’s not right that she is being forced to choose between husband and the rest of her family, her home, her career. Especially not right when as a British citizen she is facing this choice in her own country, but those from elsewhere in the EU have no income criteria to bring their spouse, parents, grandparents, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and even cousins to the UK. Amanda just wants her husband.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Emma and Driss
“I don’t know how anyone could expect me to be separated from my baby’s daddy ... until I get a job the UKBA agrees with, we miss out on special family moments and our baby misses out on his daddy.” “My son deserves the best in life I can give him ... I hope I can give him his daddy as his first ever Christmas present.”
British citizen Emma is 24 years old, with a beautiful son, born recently, with her husband Driss, a Moroccan citizen. Emma met Driss while working as a store manager in the international departures terminal at Eurostar. Emma signed up to a language course to improve her French, which is where she met Driss. Driss helped Emma with French and she helped him with English. Over time, they became friends and a year later, fell in love in Marrakech. Driss makes Emma feel secure and she recalls the night she realised she was in love with him, “ ..the night I fell in love was the world cup final. We were in a restaurant watching the match, when I started to feel ill. Driss took me home, staying with me until the pain passed. I knew then that any man who loves football yet would give up the final for me is special." They met regularly after that and finally, on Valentine's Day 2011, Driss proposed. In July 2011, Emma moved to Morocco and got married, with her family attending their wedding; they moved into a traditional house, without electricity or running water, sharing it with Driss’s family. Not speaking Arabic, Emma found it difficult to adjust. Driss bought Emma a puppy so she’d have some company while he was at work. Emma missed her family and returned home in January to visit her mum, and found out she was pregnant. Emma was advised against travel by the doctor during pregnancy because of the risk to her and her unborn baby’s health for various reasons (including the conditions in Morocco and Emma’s medical history). Emma accepted the medical advice and remained in the UK, trying to find a job so Driss could join them. However, she discovered that jobs were few and far between for a pregnant woman, especially in roles for which she had experience, i.e. store management positions. The pregnancy started to affect her health and Emma, terrified at the prospect of having the baby without her husband, had Driss come over for the birth. A few weeks ago, they were blessed with a beautiful son, Aymane Ben. As any parent will confirm, on holding her son, Emma knew she’d give her life for her son in order to offer him the best upbringing she could. How could she raise her first baby in an environment she wasn’t happy in – wasn’t it her responsibility as a parent to give the baby the best of everything she could, to protect him? Emma isn’t sure she can quickly leave her baby to find a job paying £18,600 – at a time when a baby needs his mum all the time. Realistically therefore, this family is looking at a separation of at least 12 months; in his first year, baby Aymane is forced to be part of a single parent family because of this government. Weight gain during pregnancy put a lot of pressure on Emma’s legs; now, she can’t climb the stairs of her property without a helper and is dependent on him. Emma has also seen mental health workers who believe splitting up this family puts Emma at grave risk of post-natal depression. Emma and Driss are applying for compassionate leave to remain, for Driss to be here with the family. The solicitor they have hired believes they will be refused, despite the family staying together being what is in the best interest of the child and Emma’s health.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Paul
“My life now is just about work, work, work ... and when I have time off, I am too fatigued to do anything but sleep... .”
Paul, a British citizen, married his partner in May 2012, in the Philippines. She is Filipino and the decision to marry was based on the assumption that having met the visa requirements they would be able to make a life together in the UK. Suddenly though the rules changed, leaving Paul and his wife devastated. The massive increase in the amount Paul had to earn before he could sponsor his wife has made it impossible for them to be together. He works full time in retail and doesn’t claim a single penny in benefits. Recently, he changed the branch of the store he worked in to reduce travelling costs, and is taking on as much overtime as possible, including working night shifts. Despite this, however, he cannot meet the income criteria. His life now is just about work, work, work ... and when he has time off, he is too fatigued to do anything but sleep and cope with the relapse of the depression he has suffered from, on and off, for many years. Paul is not asking for handouts, he just wants to be able to live with his wife in the UK. Paul’s wife is not entitled to any benefits, so the message being put across in the media by Theresa May that the presence of non-EU spouses would be a drain on the benefits system is intended blatantly to mislead the British public, as their rights are chipped away. Paul does not have a fancy accountant. He has paid his taxes diligently for years. It is Paul and others like him who have contributed to the system, and yet he is being told he cannot be with his wife as they are a threat to the system. MPs get a huge salary, they can claim all manner of household expenses ranging from food and their TV licence, to interest on their mortgage and rent payments (blatant abuse of expense policies) and yet they have the nerve to put restrictions on the lives of ordinary British citizens, and accuse us of being a threat to the British economy?

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Rhys &Natacha
“All we want is the opportunity to live permanently together; we are a family, even if it is just the two of us.”
Rhys is a British citizen, and Natacha a Canadian citizen; together they are common law partners. They met whilst Natacha was studying in England as part of her undergraduate university degree; now they are both in Canada, Rhys is working there. Four years later, they are trying to figure out a way they can stay together in the UK to be close to Rhys’s family, who are desperate to have them move back here.
Rhys has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and is working full time in Canada, whilst Natacha is completing a Masters degree in Sociology from Queen’s University. Of the two of them, Natacha has the greater earning potential; however, under the new rules, Rhys must be earning £18,600 for at least six months before his wife can join him, regardless of the fact that Natacha might earn much more. Indeed, Natacha was accepted by the University of Birmingham with a full fees bursary worth $20,000. If a leading British university sees Natacha as someone worth paying to have her in the UK, why does the British government see her as a burden? It strikes them as bizarre that Natacha’s earnings in the UK, and hence her taxes, are completely discounted, as is any help from their family. If the aim of the policy is to reduce the burden on the state, why not let Natacha’s earnings be counted too? Why not let them show they won’t be a burden on the state? Why not have requirements such as mandating private healthcare cover from migrants? This would boost the healthcare system and UK companies, whilst reducing the reliance on the NHS. Their view is that if the issue is about migrants being a burden on the system, then restrictions should be placed on work permits, rather than on British citizens wishing to live with their family. Rhys and Natacha are pleading with this government to understand and appreciate the difficulties these new rules are producing. All they want is the opportunity to live permanently together; they are a family, even if it is just the two of them.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Andrew
“What if my 92-year-old grandfather dies, without ever having met my wife, and she can’t even pay her last respects at his funeral?!”
Andrew, a British citizen, has lived in Spain with his South African wife for four years. They had a great beach ceremony and some members of his family from England attended the celebrations, and all was well. Despite being British and South African, respectively, they did not encounter any problems with the Spanish authorities regarding issuing a family member spouse visa, and his wife is now a Spanish resident. She has had a residence card for 5 years, which clearly states on the back: “Family Member of EEA National”. With this card they are free to travel around the whole of Europe. They can even enter the UK's overseas territory of Gibraltar, where Andrew works. They just can’t enter the UK (the country of which Andrew is a national!) – and where the rest of his family is. EU law states in 2004/38/EC that any family member with an EU-issued residence card of more than 3 months duration does not require a visa to enter any other EU member state. But the UK does not recognise EU-issued residence cards, it only recognises its own residence cards. As such, in order for his wife to come to the UK with Andrew – even for a two-week visit! – they have to apply for an EEA Family permit. And thus the red tape, and the farce, begins. To obtain this family permit, Andrew has to prove that he is working in another EU member state. So if he was unemployed it would be impossible for his wife to visit the UK without applying for a regular visa at a cost of £250 for South African nationals. Fortunately he does work, and as such he is able to provide such documentation. The EU rules require that there be no prohibitive cost or process for the issue of an EEA Family Permit (indeed, it must be free), yet the UK tries to circumvent this legal requirement by referring to it as a visa. In the past, they have had to fill out a 12-page form requesting financial details, relationship history, 10year address history, etc. Then they had to make an appointment at the British Consulate in Madrid – 500 miles away – necessitating a 7-hour drive and a hotel stay, i.e. substantial further expense. Given that the next available appointment was 2 months after filling in the visa application online, there was undue delay on top of the expense! Also, they charge €15 to return the passport and documents via DHL and it can take 3 weeks to process an EEA Family Permit, which is referred to as a “decision”. This might not seem too bad if that was it, and Andrew’s wife was then clear to enter the UK to visit as often as she wished. But no! After all this, she can only enter the UK as long as Andrew is with travelling with her, and the permit only lasts for 6 months. After this time, they have to go through the entire laborious process again! They wanted to visit the UK in August. By the middle of October they still hadn’t received the ‘decision’. They are determined to go for Christmas, especially as many of Andrew’s family have not yet met his wife, including his grandfather, a 92-year-old war veteran who is quite poorly and may not be around for much longer. And there are nieces and nephews who want to meet their new auntie too.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Andrew is keen to show his wife where he grew up, his home town, his school, his friends. These are all perfectly reasonable expectations and something that he never thought would prove to be so difficult in his own home country, given that they were welcomed with open arms by the administration in Spain. The UK's policy of forcing them to apply for an EEA Family Permit falls well outside the Free Movement Directives of the EU, so much so that the EU challenged the UK to change these laws back in April or face court action. However, this UK government seems intent on remaining defiant and is willing to pay millions of pounds in fines. using taxpayers' money, rather than be a law-abiding government that has respect for its citizens, i.e. British voters. Update, end of October 2012: Andrew’s wife was refused entry clearance and an EEA Family Permit. The UKBA’s view was that Andrew and his wife did not provide sufficient documentary evidence that Andrew was working or self-employed in another member state prior to returning to the UK and therefore the regulations do not apply. In fact, Andrew submitted: o letter from his employer, on a company letterhead, stating that he had been employed for the o evidence of last 4 years permanent employment, with a salary over £30,000; o copy of his work contract; o payslips from preceding three months. It is likely the refusal was on the grounds that Andrew works in Gibraltar but lives in Spain – we don’t know. No explanation was given, and there’s no one to contact to clarify the reason for the refusal. Having checked with EU Commission, Andrew received confirmation that the UK government has acted illegally by refusing his wife a family permit. Will Andrew’s 92-year-old grandfather ever get to meet Andrew’s wife? Will this family be able to gather together for Christmas? Ask the British government.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Christopher
“I believe in my marriage vows, and am firm in my commitment to my wife.”
Christopher is a British citizen, 62 years old, father of three and grandfather of two. He was born in Brighton, and married for 39 years to Andrea, who passed away on New Year’s Day 2010 after battling multiple sclerosis for over 20 years. During that time, Christopher was her principal carer, their children and family, while also working for the Probation Service, within the Community Service team. Christopher shares his home with his daughters, Tara and Clare, and his beautiful granddaughter, Ebony. They designed the house to cater for the care of Andrea in 2006, which now, though partitioned into three living areas, is in fact one house. All three adults have their own private space, divided by one room, but they are all accessible to each other. A little quirky but it works very well for them. After a year spent in a state of adjustment, with lots of support from his family, Christopher joined an organisation "GVI – Global Vision International" and signed up for a year of volunteering in Kenya. The role involved teaching in a slum near Mombasa, in a place called Bombolulu. This was a life-changing experience in many ways. A young woman he came into contact with whilst carrying out this work was to change his life even more. Christopher had no intention of remarrying – he had settled in to teach English to the most enthusiastic bunch of children one could imagine, when he met Christine – funny, happy, intelligent and with a strong warm heart. Christine has a 6-year old son, Michael, who is an adorable little bundle of trouble. The birth father has never been in Michael’s life and knowledge of his whereabouts is known. Christine and Christopher became friends, then more. In August 2011 they married in Bombolulu. Christopher’s children, grandchildren and friends came to Kenya for the wedding along with all the children from the two local schools, 200 local friends and volunteers ... it was a wonderful wedding. Christopher carried on with teaching, until he fell ill and was advised to return to the UK. After treatment he returned to Kenya in the hope of bringing Christine and Michael home with him. Visa Application At some expense they engaged UK VISA and IMMIGRATION to prepare the visa application which was presented in Nairobi in January 2012. However, Christine was diagnosed with TB and thus followed six months of treatment. While the family is now blessed Christine has been given the all clear and is in good health, they face devastation under the new rules, as their new application in August 2012, was refused. Employment Christopher works for Enara Community Care as a domiciliary care worker. He cares for elderly in their homes, starting work at 6.45am and sometimes until as late as 9pm. His annual salary is c£15,500 which, combined with a pension of £3,746 from Probation Service, gives him an annual income of £19,246. He is considering employing a local solicitor who has indicated there is a case for appeal with fees over £4,500. Christopher’s savings are being depleted by having to finance life in Kenya for his wife and stepson, maintaining his life here and the additional cost of maintaining regular contact with his wife. Christopher believes in his marriage vows and is firm in his commitment to his wife. He is lucky to have a supporting family and friends who are praying for Christopher to be reunited with Christine and Michael. Like other BritCits, Christopher is realistic about why we have immigration rules; but he feels that the draconian way these have been imposed, without regional income tolerances or respect for British citizens being taken into consideration is just plain unfair. He believes the rules brought in make a mockery of the Conservative party’s manifesto commitment: “Strong families are the bedrock of a strong society. They provide the stability and love we need to flourish as human beings, and the relationships they foster are the foundation on which society is built – Britain’s families will get our full backing across all our policies … We need good, strong families to help our society work well. We will support families to stay together.”

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Kev and Barbara
“I never ever thought the day would come that I felt ashamed to be British, but that day has come.”
Kev is a British citizen, 68 years old, retired, living in Yeovil and in love with his American fiancée, Barbara, 65 years old and also retired. They met on a pen-pal site about 18 months ago, and soon finding that they had a lot in common, such as Barbara’s love of everything British, i.e. our history, castles, cathedrals, landscape and, indeed, us, the British people. Barbara has been to the UK a few times to visit Kev, each time staying with him. They fell in love and decided they wish to spend what remaining years they have together, as husband and wife. Kev and Barbara have been sensible. They haven’t rushed into marriage, they have assessed their finances; with a pension totalling £1,200 a month between them plus their savings, they have enough funds to provide themselves with an adequate standard of living without recourse to public funds. This was more than adequate to meet the Family Immigration Rules prior to 9 July 2012. So they decided to get married in late 2012 or early 2013. However, these new rules have played havoc with their dream of spending their retirement together, with the person they love. As a British citizen, Kev has worked here and paid his taxes diligently, yet now he is having his British and human rights stripped away from him. Barbara is finding it very difficult to understand how the British government can do this to one of their own citizens, after a lifetime of work. Indeed how they can do this is beyond Kev’s comprehension. Kev understands that we can’t have an open-door immigration policy; but restricting non-EU family migration in this manner is not acceptable, especially when it represents such a small percentage of all migration into the UK. The fact that EU citizens can come into our country with their spouse, children, parents and grandparents, even aunts, uncles and cousins, with none of the financial restrictions that are placed on Kev, has made him realise how this government has turned him into a second-class citizen in his own country. Although he never thought the day would come, he now feels ashamed to be British.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Katie
“What married couple wants to spend twelve months – maybe more – living in separate countries?”
Katie is a British citizen directly affected by the new immigration rules. Katie moved to Cape Town, South Africa, in February 2010 to be with her partner, Cliff, a South African citizen. He visited England on three separate occasions but has never lived in the UK. They got married in October 2010 in Cape Town after a 3-year relationship. Katie’s father passed away in April 2012 after a long hard battle against cancer. Katie and Cliff feel that now is the right time to move permanently to the UK to be with her mother, who is living alone in Norfolk and needs the support of her family. Katie is a qualified primary school teacher with three years full-time experience. She is also a qualified Health and Social Care worker, having gained an NVQ Level 3. Cliff has many years’ experience in the finance sector and has just gained his degree in Business Administration. They both have skills and experience to offer the UK. In the course of their in-depth research plus guidance from immigration consultants, they were shocked and saddened by the implications of the new rules. They meet all of the criteria for a settlement visa; however, they believe the financial requirements to be totally absurd and incredibly harsh. Katie already has an offer of employment in the UK and, as it is their intention is to live with her mother for the interim, there is no need to rely on any public funding. Katie has been working in Cape Town as an au pair for the past two and a half years, earning a reasonable salary. However, taking the fluctuating exchange rate into account and the fact that salaries are considerably lower in South Africa, it has not been possible for her to command an £18,600 gross annual salary. She is aware of the need for savings to cover the shortfall in salary but the amounts of money are totally absurd – how many people have tens of thousands of pounds lying around in cash that they don’t need to rely on for five years! Katie has been told by an immigration consultant that she, as her husband's British sponsor, must take full financial responsibility, a situation which seems totally hopeless at the moment. She has also been told that, under the current rules, she will have to work for six or more months in the UK in order to earn the required salary while her husband remains in South Africa. What married couple wants to spend six to twelve months living in separate countries? Where is the logic in these new changes?! Katie is livid that virtually overnight people are expected to have thousands and thousands of pounds in savings if they do not meet the annual gross salary requirement. These requirements are quite frankly ridiculous and will no doubt cause some partners and families to break up if they are forced to live separately!

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Lionel
“In the Conservative pre-election waffle Mr Cameron made a great deal about his views on the sanctity of marriage and family values.”
Lionel is British by birth, married his wife, Svetlana in May 2010. He has been trying to have Svetlana join him in the UK, ever since. English Language – constantly changing requirements Soon after their wedding Lionel was made redundant, so they delayed her spouse application until he found a new job, by which time the English requirement had been introduced. This in itself wasn’t a problem as their intention had always been for Svetlana to take English lessons, and where better to learn English than in England?! Despite the change in the rules, his wife continued with her lessons and took a test at "Expert Language Schools" in Kaliningrad. It never even occurred to them that it would need to be taken at an approved centre as this wasn’t clearly indicated, and the immigration ‘expert’ they sought advice and assistance from, at considerable expense, didn’t tell them about it until an hour before Svetlana was due at the visa centre in Moscow. Needless to say her visa was refused because her B1 certificate was not issued by an “approved centre”. The only place in Kaliningrad that is approved to issue a certificate only supports the IELTS test. In March 2011 Lionel’s wife sat the exam, following some tuition. Since her previous test her use of English has been limited and she achieved an overall band score of 4. At the time the UKBA website's Approved Partner list stated that grade 4 was sufficient. However, now the new list states that for IELTS the minimum is grade 4 in all disciplines; Svetlana achieved grade 4 in listening but obtained a grade 3 in speaking. The question for her speaking test was utterly ludicrous and of an academic nature, dealing with politics. As Svetlana indicates, she could not have answered the question adequately in her native language, let alone in English, and Lionel believes he may well have struggled to provide a suitable answer as well, despite being British born and bred!! It was and still is the view held by Lionel that if a grade 4 is equivalent to level B1 then surely grade 3 is at least level A2., Now, because of this government, he and his wife are regularly forced to converse on Skype, in English, and they communicate without any issues at all. Svetlana is unable to study towards the English language requirements at present. She works from 9am to 7pm every day, only having Sundays off, to earn a meagre £350 per month. English classes are not available outside these times. Of course supporting two homes and visits to Russia has severely depleted Lionel’s savings as well, giving UKBA yet another reason to refuse. On a daily basis we meet non-British EU citizens who can barely understand a word of English, yet they are freely permitted to enter the UK and seek work, what about their need for integration? Insufficient funds Since the initial denial in early 2011, Lionel and his wife have been forced to have an online relationship apart from the times he has visited her in Russia. The expense of the initial application and the fact that he has since supported two homes, one in the UK and one in Russia, along with the cost of visiting his wife in Russia, has resulted in his savings being severely depleted which would now result in a denial on the grounds of insufficient funds to support her. They are being denied the right to be a family because of this rule. Lionel is being discriminated against because he dared to marry someone from outside the EU.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

While they have explored other options, they are being blocked every step of the way. They considered a family visit visa, where he would support his wife during her stay in the UK and enrol her on an English language course. Then she would return to Russia and make another application but – and there’s always a but – it is not permitted for Lionel’s wife to study while on a family visit or tourist visa. Manifesto a farce In the Conservative pre-election manifesto Mr Cameron made a great deal about his views on the sanctity of marriage and family values. This rule makes an absolute mockery of his views. It effectively prevents people such as Lionel and Svetlana from living together as a family. This rule is ludicrous; the majority of couples who are affected by this rule have every intention of learning English and studying for the Knowledge of Life in the UK test in order to apply for ILR. A better solution would be to make enrolment on an English language course, once in the UK, a condition of the visa. This couple has tried to do everything correctly; they considered the fact that Lionel was made redundant and decided it would not be correct to make an application until he had secured employment. Now, the government has implemented a minimum gross income which, fortunately, Lionel can currently meet. However, with the future checks and the current economic climate, there is no guarantee he will continue to meet it in the future, for five years. Family visit visa They applied for a family visit visa but were unsuccessful. Svetlana’s parents live in Russia and her daughter (Lionel’s stepdaughter) is studying at Kiel University; the UKBA felt that this wasn’t sufficient to guarantee that Svetlana would leave, and therefore refused her the right to visit her husband. As time goes by this couple’s only solution is to accept enforced exile and for Lionel to look for work in another European country. Yet another Brit being exiled from his country. This is what these UK politicians have brought this country to.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Kirsty
“This is not how I expected my married life to be, a fight to be with my husband… .”
Kirsty is a British citizen, married to Karim, from Tunisia. Kirsty and Karim have known each other for over 11 years, since childhood, having met at a family wedding. Over the years, they kept in touch and their relationship blossomed into something more serious; they were always aware of the uncertainty of distance long-distance relationship, knowing Kirsty did not want to live in Tunisia and it would not be an easy or cheap process to have Karim move to the UK. However, love triumphed and they married in July 2012, after accepting that they could not live without each other. At the time, they were unaware that the new rules recently brought into force would require Kirsty to be earning at least £18,600 per annum. Kirsty could not believe it – how could such rules be brought in so suddenly?! Upon meeting with two solicitors, Kirsty and Karim were told they had no chance –the visa would be refused again and again and again, until the government was taken to the High Court. They advised her they would help her fight the rules, but if they lost, the financial cost to Kirsty and Karim would be astronomical. So this young married couple are stuck. Their only option at the moment is to continue as they are, spending their spare money on visiting each other, not allowing them to save for their future, for a deposit. It is clear to Kirsty that this breaches her human right to a family life – the financial criteria discriminates against those hard-working taxpayers who earn an average salary, and as this law stands, she feels very much that when it comes marriage to someone from outside the EU for someone who wants to live in the UK, is now only for the rich or EU citizens who are not British. Kirsty feels frustrated – why is it that her husband’s potential income in the UK is not considered? Karim has international diplomas in engineering, as a technician and in mechanics, as well as speaking many languages, so he has a much better chance of getting a high-earning job than Kirsty. Karim speaks English perfectly and has passed an English test at the British Embassy. The couple has accommodation available from Kirsty’s parents, their aim being to live there to save up for their own place. But none of this is taken into account. Kirsty is angry. EU citizens can walk into this country and claim benefits even if they are unskilled and can't get work. Her husband, with diplomas and a strong work ethic, is not welcome in the UK, because he married a BritCit rather than a French, German or Polish citizen.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Anne
“Are these the family values the government wants to promote? Keeping parents and children/grandchildren apart ... breaking up husbands and wives?” “It’s ridiculous that British people now have fewer rights in Britain than even those from outside the EU... ”
Anne is the British mother of a British son who, by this government’s account, should not have fallen in love, married and had a child with a lovely woman, because she happens to be American. Anne is also the British wife and main carer of a British man who is disabled. Anne recognises that, as she gets older, she will need assistance from her son, for herself and her husband. The new rules now in place mean that her son is forced to live apart from his wife and daughter. They also mean that she is not permitted to be with her son and daughter-in-law and is prevented from spending time with her granddaughter. NOTHING is right about this situation. They are a proud, if not rich, family. They missed the wedding of their son to a woman who is now a much loved member of the family. While it was painful missing her son’s wedding, the financial and practical constraints of Anne’s husband’s disability meant they couldn’t travel. They do, however, expect their son to be able to live in his home country, with his new family. £18,600 is a lot of money for him and Anne, on top of the daily expenses of living and substantial visa application fees (we do not all have parliamentary salaries, generous expense accounts and cushy pensions – Anne pays for and travels in standard class). Anne’s son has been saving money for a spouse visa and paying rent in the UK while also maintaining and paying for accommodation for his wife and child. Babies are expensive, as anyone with a child will tell you. Yet he managed for a long time. Until these rules came in. The stress of being apart from his wife and child is, in itself, difficult; but the impact of the rules, which suggest to him that he may never be with them, were he also to be here for his parents, caused a meltdown, leading to the loss of his job. So, overall, this is now a worse situation for everyone, her son, his wife, their granddaughter, Anne’s husband, Anne and the entire extended family and community. They now can’t even afford to fly to America to see the child unless friends and family help. ARE THESE THE FAMILY VALUES YOU WANT US TO ADOPT? Meanwhile this whole situation is taking a very bad toll on everyone's health. Anne is now on antidepressants and blood pressure tablets. Their fifteen-year-old daughter is feeling the stress of the situation – she can't understand why she can't see her little niece and sister-in-law. Their other daughter has their son living with her as he has now also lost his home, so has no choice but to move in with family. The government needs to realise there are real people affected by these changes, not just government statistics. The rules were already hard to meet in the first place, the fees of hundreds of pounds were already a lot for the majority of mainly working people.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Anyone from the EU can move to the UK with their spouse and children without having to satisfy any income criterion. Not only that, but they’re able to bring in their parents, grandparents, in-laws, siblings and cousins. Yet now British people, IN OUR OWN COUNTRY are being torn apart from their families!!! What has this government done to our country and why? Who will look after us as we grow old? Who will look after us when we have breakdowns? And who will answer the questions the next generation asks about why discriminatory and racist policies were allowed to be put in place, policies preventing Anne's son's children getting to know their father and grandparents?

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Kevin
“I haven’t seen my wife and son in nearly a year and my family in Britain hasn’t met or held my son.”
Kevin is a British citizen who met his wife while travelling and they have been together for five years, though they were in no hurry to move to the UK. After being made redundant by his insurance-company employer, they decided to live in Asia for a couple of years. While in Hong Kong, they were blessed with a beautiful son. As Kevin does not have a degree, finding a suitable job in Asia proved to be near impossible, but with a child to look after it was imperative that Kevin have a good job and provide for his family. So Kevin decided to return to the UK and six months later he obtained a permanent job with a basic salary of £16,000. Two months into this job, however, the government brought in the minimum threshold, meaning that his target earnings would keep him way below the threshold. With bonuses the £18,600 may be achievable, but given the volatile nature of sales, there might be the odd month where he cannot maintain the annual average required, which means that his wife’s visa application would be rejected. Kevin has been living apart from his wife and near-one-year-old son for almost a year. He has already missed his son’s first Christmas; he will miss his first birthday, and he will only see his son’s first steps on Skype, rather than in person. Kevin is close to a nervous breakdown; whenever he sees a family together with a toddler his heart sinks and he is unable to put aside everything he is missing out on. Kevin’s wife’s family think Kevin has chosen to leave his wife and son in their home country rather than bring her to the UK. This has brought shame on his wife's family as well as embarrassment. Kevin’s immediate British family have neither met nor held his son. His son does not know his British family. The new rules are a prison sentence for Kevin and his family. Even if Kevin were to find a job paying £18,600, the visa process requires that he wait six months before applying for a spouse visa. This is far too long, especially when you have been living apart for a year already. This Tory government is demonstrating how out of touch it is with the people of Britain today. For the sake of everybody’s sanity, welfare, physical and mental health, these rules must be scrapped sooner rather than later.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Paul and Thon
“UKBA is happy to take the visa application fees, and find spurious reasons to reject visa applications, in order to take yet more fees....”
Paul is a British citizen and 59 years old. He is a seventh child and grew up in a loving family. Paul’s wife, Thon, is a good woman, and Paul, a good man, good husband and good dad. Paul and his wife are being forced live apart, surviving on emails and phone calls. Paul does not need to work, having paid off his mortgage. Yet he works, yet he pays his taxes, and yet he is kept apart from his wife. To be together in the UK they must now embark on further unnecessary onerous bureaucracy to satisfy a cold heartless agency doing this government’s cruel callous bidding. Family friendly? Paul and Thon think not; to the UKBA they are just two more pawns contributing towards statistics showing what a good job 'they' are doing to protect ‘our borders’ and ‘the taxpayer’. But Paul too is a taxpayer. Thon has never been married before, nor had any children. Thon would prefer they live in Thailand, near her mum and four sisters, but Paul prefers the UK, where his home and children are. So Thon is prepared to give up her family, friends and career so that Paul doesn’t have to give up his. Paul is very accomplished having attended university not once, but four times. He has been self-employed most of his life, and was a professional photographer for about 25 years, in the Cumbria area. He has worked hard, worked long hours and made many weddings and other events memorable for many British families. Indeed, when his work expanded to include a letting agency renting out holiday homes in the Loire Valley, Paul’s photos were even featured on the front cover of Chez Nous. The work was very successful and Paul and his first wife contributed a lot in taxes to the British government. To help develop the business further, Paul went to study French: conversation classes, A-level at night school, a BA at university starting at age 47, at every level he was encouraged to go further. He soon closed his studio and rented it out as half shop, half flat. All however wasn’t to continue smoothly. In 2002, two years into his BA degree, Paul’s wife of 24 years admitted to an ongoing affair. Paul was shattered and subsequently diagnosed with severe clinical depression. As one must do, however, he learnt to move on, going to work in a BT call centre before completing his degree at university where, despite the upheavals, he succeeded in obtaining a 2:1, a hair's breadth away from a first. With his qualifications, he was offered work at a university in Brittany (France), as a language assistant. Paul spent a year in France while also completing the divorce proceedings. Many of his students were the children of families from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, and all delightful students. He was able to retain his house and studio ... and a hefty mortgage; his other assets, including his share of the French business, went to his now ex-wife. Paul knows all about beans on toast and no heat, better that than claim benefits. He is a proud man. Paul went on to complete an MA TEFL course, again at university, just six weeks after burying his mum, aged 97 years. Both Paul’s uncles (John and Thomas) died in World War One, in 1917 (Ypres) and 1918 (between Arras and Cambrai), aged 21 and 20. Paul completed the MA, along with students from Greece, Iran, China and Taiwan, for whom he did some proofreading. He worked so hard he got a distinction for his dissertation. Being over 50, Paul found obtaining work difficult. He spent some savings on renovating his home. In the summer of 2007, he worked as a postman for a short period, followed by some proofreading work. Then he spent several months helping his elder son renovate the house he had bought in north Manchester – hard unpaid physical graft. Paul had planned to sell his house, pay off his mortgage and perhaps move to France, but helping his son meant he got caught up in ‘the crash’, and missed the boat.

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09.12

So he rented out his renovated house and went to France on the off chance that some work would come his way. He succeeded in obtaining a language assistant job in Lille. As before, he paid all the deductions in France and living/ travelling expenses (not tax deductible), more tax on his French salary in the UK, and tax on his rental income. He came back to find the flat he had rented out trashed, not for the first time, and had to spend several weeks sorting that out. In late 2009 Paul was fed up, lonely and disillusioned. However, finally, things were to take a turn for the better; the mortgage was nearly paid off and Paul met his now wife, Thon. They spent a lot of time together in Thailand and UK. Last year Thon applied for a visit visa in Bangkok, but was turned down, with the usual ‘insufficient reason to return’, despite having a long-term job to go back to and proof of same. While querying the decision, Paul contacted his MP’s office and other individuals. Mysteriously, the decision was reversed and no explanation was given. Paul wanted Thon to marry him while she was here, but Thon had promised her boss she would go back, and so she did. The plan last December was for Paul to spend more time with Thon, his fiancée, and proceed to marriage if and when they were both sure. She always was, he became so, despite and perhaps because of some cultural differences. Finally, one fine day, they got married. The intention was Paul would return to UK with his wife, but they were hit by the English test requirement; it had to be taken and passed before applying for a visa, along with the health checks. Paul firmly believes, in line with various studies, that the place to learn English is in an English-speaking country, by immersion (acquisition), not just in a classroom. Soon it became apparent that they would not be travelling together as Paul had urgent matters to attend to at home. Paul did at least hope that his wife would be with him in time for the Olympic torch coming through his village. Alas, it was not to be. Thon sat the English test in March and passed first time, although it took until May for the certificate to arrive. There was then an IOM query over her TB test, and it took another two months for the all-clear to be received. All these delays meant that they could not submit a spouse visa application before 9 July. Finally, in August, Thon was able to apply for a settlement visa, pay over £800 (Paul reimbursed her of course) and wait up to 12 weeks for the UKBA to decide if this married couple could live together. Worse was to come. Thon’s application was rejected as the UKBA wanted a vast array of additional documentation. No chance was given to respond. It was a rejection, and probably another £800+ to be paid before they would consider this spouse's application again. The UKBA appears to be happy to advise what they want after they turn you down; then, on subsequent applications, they may find something else, and so it goes on. They don’t ask for more information during the waiting period, which is scandalous. What does Paul think of all this? He thinks it’s appalling. What should have been a happy joyous time after a decade of misery turned into an edelweiss trampled on by jackboots. HMRC is happy to accept the thousands he pays in taxes, meanwhile the UKBA is even happier to take the visa application fees, and find spurious reasons to reject visa applications, in order to take yet more fees. This government doesn’t care how long they keep married couples apart, they don’t care about British citizens and their spouses, they don’t seem to respect marriage or family. Article 8 is just a thorn in their side. All British citizens hear about are scam marriages, terrorists, drug dealers and people-trafficking. They somehow seem to have forgotten that there are still many decent honest citizens who just want to live their lives.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Clara
“It's about love. It’s about respect. And it's about responsibility.”
Clara is a British citizen, she has been living in the UK for over 12 years. She worked for the British government, paid her taxes and never claimed a penny in benefits. Clara wants the right to live with her Australian parents, who have no other family there. Clara is happy to provide financial guarantees to the government. She is happy to provide a bond. She is happy to take out private healthcare cover for her parents to reduce their reliance on the NHS. Her parents would bring their assets to the UK as well, if they were going to live here, thus boosting our economy. Clara’s parents would not be entitled to a UK pension nor would they be entitled to any other benefits. (incidentally, Clara has never claimed a penny in benefits). Despite this, the government will not allow Clara to live with her parents. But this isn’t about money. At least, it shouldn’t be. It's about respect for those who gave us life, education and opportunities so we could have a better life. It's about love. And it's about responsibility. Clara will not dump her parents in an old people’s home, halfway round the world, when they need her the most, where she can’t even meet them once a month let alone more frequently. And she will not let this government force her into abandoning her parents – nor however will she be forcibly exiled from her home. “If they didn’t want my parents here, they should have told me 10 years ago and I'd have planned accordingly, rather than suggesting they could join me here they were 65, or earlier if circumstances deemed it so. Doing it at this stage, blocking the route off so spectacularly and suddenly (when the route to retired people of independent means has also been closed off), when I have worked so hard, invested everything in the UK, bought a house and made a life here is not acceptable.” The New Rules The new rules are such that if both your parents are alive and together, they can't join you. They have to be completely alone – no family and friends in their home country. They also have to be so incapacitated that they can’t dress, wash or cook for themselves. But even that’s not enough. To put it bluntly, if a British citizen earning a very good salary had a parent who was paralysed halfway round the world, they would still not be able to move their parents to the UK to look after them. So if your parents are healthy, they’re not welcome, if they require help to do basic things, again they’re still not welcome. An example Clara received from Mark Harper, Minister for Immigration, cites the cruelty of the rules: “A person (aged 85) lives alone in Afghanistan. With the onset of age he has developed very poor eyesight,
which means that he has had a series of falls, one of which resulted in a hip replacement. His only son lives in the UK and sends money to enable his father to pay for a carer to visit each day to help him wash and dress, and to cook meals for him. This would not meet the criteria because the sponsor is able to arrange the required level of care in Afghanistan.”

Clearly, there is NO value placed on the peace of mind that comes with being able to look after your parents, giving them company when they need it most, seeing them regularly, taking care of them yourself. There is no respect allowed for those who often are the ones responsible for these Brits being here and contributing so fantastically to the economy and society. Despite Clara having made several requests to various politicians, not one has been able to give an example of a situation where someone satisfies the criterion under the new rules, yet is physically able to get on a plane. The rules have been designed so that no one qualifies. Those with a foreign spouse have a seemingly arbitrary income threshold of £18,600 to satisfy. On an

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09.12

income of five times this, a British person could now sponsor a foreign spouse and over 20 of their children to join them in the UK. But it’s somehow not enough to bring in ONE parent. It’s absurd, insulting and rude. It’s discriminatory, ageist and racist. It’s an indirect method to force first generation British citizens to leave the UK. Alternatives The need to manage immigration is understood. But penalising British citizens who have never claimed benefits, just because they are first generation British, is not okay – and having a criterion in place that even this government can’t give examples of anyone satisfying is certainly not acceptable. This government did not do any research in coming up with these rules – indeed they ignored the advice in the Migration Advisory Committee’s report when it comes to parents of British citizens – a report they quote to justify the £18,600 income level for spouses. They just selected bits from the report to suit them, not considering alternatives, such as: a) Mandating private healthcare insurance for parents; b) Requiring the sponsor / parents to pay a bond to be held against the parents accessing welfare benefits, similar to the system in Australia; c) A quota system, limiting the number of people a citizen can sponsor every X years. Australia has this in place for the sponsoring of a foreign spouse, to prevent abuse; d) Reserving the right to sponsor parents as one for British citizens only, rather than just residents; e) Requiring financial guarantees from sponsors that they will look after their parents; f) Having a minimum income criterion for the sponsor. What is required g) Clarification of situations – case studies showing how someone can satisfy the rules to sponsor their parents who are still physically in a condition to get on a plane to come here. h) If the intention is to prevent parents from coming here altogether, amend the policy so that this is clear, so there is no farce or pretence, and explain why. i) Explain why we British citizens have fewer rights in our own country than the non-EU spouse of an EU citizen, who can bring in their parents, siblings, children, grandchildren and grandparents, and even aunts, uncles and cousins, without any guarantees or private healthcare cover. Yet, these rules have been brought in that completely close off the route to a Brit having their non-EU parent here, even where guarantees are provided. It's preposterous that this government has placed we British citizens in a situation where we are second-class citizens in our own country! j) Disclosing information on the consultation and research carried out to show that amending the rules in this fashion is justified, and this would address the concerns of NHS and social care costs that can't be met by other alternatives. k) An explanation of why £18,600 is considered sufficient for a spouse with a few thousand more for each kid, while even a salary of five times that – which under the new rules allows UK sponsorship of a foreign spouse and over 20 children – isn't sufficient for a British citizen to sponsor one parent. How does the research carried out – if any – justify this? l) Explanation of why British policy on parents is so different from other countries with a similar way of life to ours: Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. The government’s response cannot be that they don’t comment on policies implemented by other countries, as the rules in place in other countries for foreign spouses were used to justify the income threshold brought in for the spouses of British citizens. m) Why isn't reciprocity with countries like Australia, the USA and Canada considered? More British parents move to these countries than the other way around.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Sierra
“ The message we are getting from the UK government is that we are not rich enough to love... ”
Sierra is a British citizen married to a US citizen, and they are aged 21 and 25. They got married after two years together, in the UK, and then the world of immigration horror opened up to them. They foolishly believed that, being married, they would not be kept apart whilst arranging her husband’s work visa. They were wrong. Sierra’s husband became an overstayer on 2 July this year. They learnt that they would have to spend £1,500 on application forms, and on a lawyer's fees, to help them through this maze, applying for his Discretionary Leave to Remain. As a legal secretary, Sierra earns £12,500.00 a year, with her savings having been spent flying back and forth between the USA and the UK, and for the visa process. Sierra has never claimed benefits. As her husband is an overstayer, any potential application is likely to be declined. What however is this couple supposed to do? They saved up £1,500 for the application only now to be told, ‘No, it’s not good enough, you’re not rich enough to be in love.’ They are however lucky to have family members who have always been willing to help, monetarily, but now the rules even disallow co-sponsorship. They have nowhere to turn! Sierra is terrified that she is going to get a knock on the door in the middle of the night and be forced to spend months or even years apart until she is able to earn £18,600, or whatever the new higher income threshold might be. She feels desperate and that she is being punished for being in love, for daring to get married whilst being young and poor, despite not being on benefits. These new laws put a price on love and they are disgusting; they are inhuman and carry no respect for the sanctity of marriage. Theresa May should be thoroughly ashamed of herself for abusing her power and misrepresenting British citizens.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Sandra (1)
“I am being punished by my country for exercising my right to marry who I want . I can’t be with my daughter and grandchild – I can’t look after my grandma and parents because of these rules.”
Sandra is a British Citizen, she married her husband Aftab, an Egyptian, in Bournemouth. Sandra and Aftab decided to try out life in Egypt; accommodation was organised and Aftab had work. However, Sandra did not fit into life in Egypt and she missed her daughter and grandchild, who were still in the UK. Aftab agreed to move to the UK – while home for him is Egypt, he liked the UK and wanted Sandra to be happy, understanding the importance of her family ties. Soon after Aftab enrolled on a business studies course, Sandra found out she was pregnant. They applied for a spouse visa for Aftab before 9 July, with £4,000 savings in the bank. Additionally, Sandra’s father provided a guarantee, acting as a third-party sponsor, with a healthy bank balance and proof of the deeds to his bungalow. Sandra and Aftab therefore had shown they had no intention to access any welfare benefits. Sandra succeeded in obtained a job in telesales, which was good as it did not put too much strain on her body. Shortly after, Aftab found work in a restaurant, though he could only work 20 hours per week because of legal restrictions. Between them, they earned £18,600 although this was not the requirement at the time of application. It became more and more important for the spouse visa to come through; Sandra was finding the pregnancy difficult. Further complications meant she could no longer work full time and sadly they lost the baby. It was a traumatic time for them both, but somehow, together, they managed to carry on. More bad news was to follow, with the spouse visa being rejected because payment from Aftab’s bank in Egypt didn’t go through. Sandra and Aftab were not given a second chance to make payment by alternative means; and so, because of a fault of the bank, Sandra and Aftab now have now moved back to Egypt. Sandra doesn’t feel she can earn £18,600 at this point and has been through a lot already, with the loss of the baby. She has secured a teaching job in Sharm El Sheikh at least. So their situation is this. Sandra cannot return to her own home with her husband because she doesn’t earn enough. She feels she is being punished just because she chose to marry someone ‘different’. She is being forced to choose between being a wife, and being a mother, grandmother, daughter and granddaughter Sandra is pleading with whoever reads this to do what they can to change the current law to help British citizens. She is a British citizen but now she cannot live in her own country.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Les and Becky
“My wife is eminently employable, and would be a genuine asset to this country, yet we have to face choices no one should ever have to consider in a so-called "civilised" country – or any country for that matter!”
Les is a British citizen, married to Becky, an American and an academic theologian with a PhD. Les and Becky met in mid-2008, a couple of years after she arrived in Scotland to study for her doctorate. They quickly realised they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together and spent every spare moment in each other's company, as lovers do. They clicked in a way neither had with anyone before. Les and Becky are best friends, lovers and partners. At the end of 2010, they moved in together and eventually married in February 2012. Becky submitted her PhD in July (ironically a matter of days before the new rules came into place). Originally, Becky had intended to submit her thesis six months earlier, but due to more work being required on the content, she had her student visa extended to allow for this, until November 2012. Indeed, in hindsight, had Les and Becky been made aware of the new rules (which were brought in so suddenly!), they could and would have applied for a spouse visa under the old rules. However, even though Les works as an adviser with the Citizen's Advice Bureau, they missed the fact that these changes had taken place – something to do with a distinct lack of publicity around the issue perhaps! Les, apart from one or two freelance commissions and relentless job hunting, has failed to secure fresh fulltime employment – the status of the economy notwithstanding, Les can’t help but feel that, in a way, it is his fault they are in this situation. If only he had a job paying £18,600, if only they had applied for a spouse visa earlier, if only, if only... However, life doesn’t flow in consistent and convenient ways – especially in times of austerity – something the government must be aware of when setting a bizarre threshold and requiring cash savings of £62,500. Becky was offered a fantastic opportunity by Prudential; however, due to delays on the part of the Home Office in providing a letter indicating Becky was allowed to work in the UK, she lost that opportunity. Les continues to do all he can to get regular high-paid employment. Becky is doing the same, but in many ways it seems pointless, given the way employers are responding to the new rules which are creating insurmountable barriers for people like Becky. At the moment, unless some kind of miracle happens, Becky will apply for a visa at the end of November, be refused, then appeal, be refused again, and finally have to leave within 28 days. Yes, Les and Becky could move to the USA, as there the income requirement is much more reasonable, at 125% of the poverty level. However, Les has a daughter who lives in the UK, and moving to the USA would inherently damage any prospects of a relationship between father and daughter, so Les must abandon his wife or risk never having a meaningful relationship with his kin.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Lyndsey and Paul
“When you marry somebody you love for richer or poorer, it should mean just that...I shouldn’t have to choose between being a mum and granddaughter, and being in love.”
Lyndsey is 29 years old and a British citizen by birth. She is in the horrendous situation of having to choose between being with her kids and looking after her elderly grandparents, or being with her partner. Lyndsey’s situation: - Two kids from a previous relationship (their father does not contribute financially) Looking after her grandparents – one recovering from bowel cancer, the other with a heart condition. As neither is entitled to an attendance allowance she doesn’t receive a carer’s allowance. However this does not mean she shirks her responsibilities or leaves the State to look after them! Lyndsey and Paul (American) have known each other since 1999; they have been romantically involved since 2009. Her children consider Paul to be their dad and refer to him as such. He considers them to be his own. Paul has made a greater contribution to their well-being – physical, emotional and financial – than their real (British) father. The kids’ actual father doesn’t make his CSA (child support allowance) payments! He has a family of his own, a loving partner, children from that relationship ... a right that is denied to Lyndsey BY THIS GOVERNMENT! Lyndsey is not allowed to move her children overseas, the only option left being for Paul to move here. However, Lyndsey doesn’t earn £18,600 and may never do so. She does not have the time to take on a full-time job, earning enough to pay for childcare, and also look after her elderly grandparents. So, according to this government, Lyndsey can’t fulfil her responsibilities to those she loves, if she also wants to be with the man she wants to spend her life with! What country are we in again?

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Paul’s situation: - owns his own home Would work full-time, allowing Lyndsey to work part time, which would ensure they share and fulfil their responsibilities, like a normal British family.

Lyndsey’s request: - Make the rules fair so that honest, decent hardworking Brits aren’t kept apart from their loved ones Sort out the disgrace of the system called CSA and make absent fathers just as responsible for their children as the mothers. If Lyndsey didn’t have to support her kids fully as well, she could easily be working more, earning a higher income, and thus able to have Paul by her side.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Margaret
“They said I was too old for my husband and our marriage would not be accepted in Moroccan culture and so, refused his visa.”
Margaret is a British citizen, aged 58, who first met her husband, Mustapha, aged 32, online. They became friends when Margaret went to visit her daughters family in Morocco, and the friendship strengthened over time, even when Margaret had returned to the UK. Having come out of a bad marriage that had lasted 17 years and with her own health issues, Margaret was wary of getting into another relationship and trusting again. However, more time passed and gradually Margaret couldn’t deny that she cared for Mustapha, particularly after another visit to Morocco, when Margaret fell ill and Mustapha looked after her. Parting at the airport was horrendous and Margaret realised how much she missed him. She went back a few times, spending time with Mustapha’s family as well, with whom she gets along very well. They sought permission from Mustapha’s parents and Moroccan judges (as is the requirement there) and finally in June 2010, they got married. Two years later, they applied for a visit visa, for Mustapha to be with Margaret for the bypass surgery she was having to help alleviate some of her health problems. The visa was refused. So Margaret had to have surgery without her husband by her side. Post-surgery, Margaret and Mustapha applied for a settlement visa, in order to have her husband with her during the post-op recovery. This too was rejected. The reason given? The UKBA staff member processing their application thought Moroccan culture would deem Margaret was too old for Mustapha and therefore, Mustapha’s intention cannot have been to stay with Margaret, and finally that Mustapha would be able to seek public funds. Given Mustapha would not qualify for public funds for at least ten years, and Margaret and Mustapha had gotten married in spite of age difference because of their feelings for each other, the refusal was not justified..especially in light of the fact that UKBA did not even bother to interview the couple – they just made the decision based on a written application!
For Margaret the issue is not the £18,600. She is a registered disabled person and therefore the income threshold does not apply to her. And so the UKBA creates another barrier by assuming their marriage cannot be genuine. They did not interview him. They did not carry out any research into the marriage. They just assumed.

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09.12

Emma
“I am in despair. My family has been kept apart for many years, despite playing by the rules...which the government keeps changing.”
Emma is a British citizen. She met her future husband in Indonesia in 2001. She returned in 2002 and they stayed together before Emma came back to the UK. They kept in touch via post and email over the next seven months, before Emma returned to Indonesia to marry her husband. Her husband applied for a UK visa, allowing him to move here with his new wife, following which the couple moved here, and had a daughter and son. Both Emma and her husband worked in the UK, without claiming a penny in benefits. This was in 2002. In 2007, the family decided to try living in Indonesia. They set up their own business there. However, some time later, they decided to return to the UK, where Emma felt that she could find better work. However, they were in for a shock. Emma’s husband’s returning residence visa was refused as he’d been outside UK for over two months in a two-year period. The British Embassy in Jakarta advised the couple to apply for a ‘returning visitor visa’ as they were still within the rules. But they were in for another shock! This visa was refused, wasting time and money. They were subsequently advised to apply for a spouse visa – costing £800. This too was refused, on grounds of Emma (the sponsor) not having a job in the UK. The immigration officer advised them in the refusal letter that if Emma were to return to the UK and make provisions for her husband to return – get a job, and a house adequate for family life in the UK – she would be able to make a successful visa application for her husband. Emma returned to the UK with her two children, arranged accommodation, settled the kids into school and started job hunting. This meant, unfortunately, that she was juggling childcare and associated costs, effectively as a single mother, making it incredibly difficult to secure full-time employment, despite securing job interviews! It was ironic, because if her husband was allowed to be with her, the family’s child care problems would cease to exist, as the couple could have organised their time to work and care for their little family without having to claim any benefits. In fact, Emma did everything in her power to avoid becoming a burden on the State. She set herself up as an entrepreneur with her own freelance business, working from home. In desperation, she wrote to her local MP explaining the situation, expecting some help from a person paid to represent his constituents. The MP’s reply was unhelpful, expressing his sympathy for their situation and stating that even another MP had had his wife’s visa refused entry to the UK – difficult for everyone! Emma then wrote to the Prime Minister, receiving a standard letter expressing his sympathy, and enclosing the immigration rules! As if she didn’t already know them! She was featured on the front page of the local newspaper – which had initially contacted her about a mural she had produced for the school, but were subsequently more interested in her family situation. People stopped Emma in the street asking her how she was coping. Like many members of the general public, they couldn’t believe her story – ‘But you are married!’ – and they could not believe how, at this stage, she had been apart from her husband – and the kids from their father – for three long years. Emma’s husband came into some money in April 2012 and applied yet again for a visa, only for it to be refused yet again – this time on the grounds he hadn’t done his English test. They were aware he had to do this test in due course, but the Embassy in Jakarta had informed him he could do it in the UK. They lost another £820. Yet more time and more money lost..yet more heartbreak.

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09.12

Emma contacted a lawyer who told her the couple couldn’t appeal as it’s now a requirement to pass an approved English test pre-visa application. Despite being incorrectly informed by a British Embassy cut no ice – so hard-working Brits are forced to donate money to UKBA because of incompetence of UK government employees. Emma’s husband did his English test on July 20th. As of the end of September, they are still waiting for the result. More time has passed, more money has been lost. And, brutally, the government has changed the immigration rules yet again… . Now, Emma has to be earning £18,600 – on top of whatever her husband earns – if the family is to be reunited. The rule changes were announced in June, and introduced in July – hardly enough time to prepare. As of today, Emma is in despair. The family has been kept apart for many years, despite playing by the rules. What hope is there for them? The government has behaved appallingly. One part of the government (the Embassy) incorrectly advised Emma on the rules. Yet they are prepared to take her money for each application, in a manner which would make a lowlife street conman proud. Another part of the government (the UKBA) introduces rules so arcane that, within a matter of weeks, they would have made Kafka proud – indeed, rules so complex that even MPs getting paid £100,000 have difficulty grasping the key concepts and locating all the hidden annexes. The new rules were introduced by means of ‘secondary legislation’ – meaning the House of Commons didn’t even get to debate them, and doubtless many politicians remain unaware of all the intricate Machiavellian details! What an utterly shameful situation.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Aaron
“I am being pushed out of my own country by this government because I dared to fall in love, have a baby with and marry a woman who is Japanese ”.
A British citizen, Aaron met his Japanese partner, Kano, in Bristol when she was there on a two-year working holiday visa. They fell in love, she fell pregnant and they decided to get married. Aaron has invested all his time and energy in Bristol and is keen to make a life with his wife and child there. Bristol is where all his friends and family live. He wants a stable place to mark the height of his child as the years pass; he doesn’t don’t want to live in Britain to claim any sort of welfare benefits. However, under the new rules, he is unable to give his child the upbringing he so desires in his own country, something which we all as British citizens have and should continue to have the right to. Aaron’s child is also British. Therefore, in fact, two British citizens have had their basic rights eroded by this government. • The right to live with your partner without interference from the State for Aaron; • The right to have both your parents looking after you, for their child. Aaron earns just under the £18,600 mark. Combining his income with that which Kano could earn, they easily satisfy £18,600. But Kano’s income cannot be included, thus highlighting a huge oversight in the rules. Not only is £18,600 too high, it does not allow for geographical differences and is much higher than the income criteria required to be excluded from qualifying for welfare benefits. It also shows a complete disregard for the potential value of the spouse’s income. In practice, both Aaron and Kano would work, each earning a salary that would be taxed and relied upon for their living expenses. Why then is the criterion restricted only to Aaron’s income? Aaron is being pushed out of his own country, by his own government, for no reason other than that its mission is to achieve a poorly selected and arbitrary net immigration target in the 'tens of thousands'.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Lisa
“It is ludicrous and unlawful to put a price on anybody’s marriage and love. We are human and deserve to be together with our loved ones.”
Lisa is a British citizen married to a Moroccan. She has children with her ex-spouse who is British. He has put in place a Prohibited Steps Order whereby she cannot take her kids out of the UK. As Lisa does not earn £18,600, her husband does not qualify for a spouse visa. She is strongly opposed to these immigration rules and wants some justice – she should not have to choose between her husband and her children. Lisa has to keep travelling back and forth to Morocco as a Prohibited Steps Order prevents her from taking her kids from the UK. So now she is left with no choice but to live two lives and split up her family. Lisa demands that Theresa May be made to explain to innocent people here how she justifies such extreme measures and insists that she will campaign until our basic rights as British citizens are given back to us. Lisa’s only family are her kids and husband – her parents and brother passed away. What will happen to Lisa 20 years down the line when her kids are living their own lives? The pressure on and guilt felt by Lisa’s kids knowing their mother had to sacrifice her marriage for them will be insurmountable. Lisa will have given up her youth and her marriage to the man she loves in order to be a good mother; or she will have to give up being a good mother in order to be a good wife. What kind of legacy is being left for Lisa’s family and hundreds like her? All studies show that children are better off in a two-parent family. Common sense dictates that Lisa making sacrifices for her kids or for her husband will not yield good results years down the line, for her own sanity or that of her family. Why is this government putting us in the position where we are essentially faced with a choice that is no choice at all, knowing that whatever decision is taken will leave lives destroyed, with the ramifications felt for years to come?

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Janice
“I have to fulfil my duty to look after my mother in her 70s, and my 12-year-old son, so I have no choice but to fight for my partner to come to the UK. In the meantime I go out to see him as often as I can, nearly 20 times in 5 years!!"
Janice is a British citizen and has been in a relationship with her partner, Erdogan, who happens to be Turkish, since 2007. In February 2008, Erdogan was removed from his place of work without any prior warning by Norfolk Immigration, who admitted their letters to Erdogan had not been received. Erdogan came to England on a marriage visa in December 2005. Nineteen months later, his wife walked out on him, leaving him to run the business (a kebab and pizza shop) they had started together. On several occasions Erdogan tried to contact her to discuss terms of the divorce, including issues relating to the shop they jointly owned. She however avoided engaging in such discussions. Erdogan finally contacted a solicitor to begin proceedings, but the appointment was delayed because the solicitor fell ill, with the next appointment being for two days after Erdogan was suddenly and forcibly removed from the UK. Janice spoke with Linda Manchester, from Norfolk Immigration in Swaffham, who arrested Erdogan at around 7.30 pm to ask why Erdogan had been treated in this way, without any warning? Ms Manchester advised that Erdogan had not responded to letters from UKBA advising him that his visa had been revoked, but she finally admitted that she was aware he hadn’t received the letters as they had been returned to them, unopened. Ms Manchester said their understanding was that the UKBA was not able to locate Erdogan to send letters to him; however, Erdogan worked in the same shop every day and, indeed, the UKBA were able to locate him when it came to arresting him! Erdogan was removed cruelly, losing money on the marital home he had been paying the mortgage on, and on the business he had worked long and hard hours for. He wasn’t even allowed to go to his house, his home, to get his clothes. He wasn’t allowed to sort out his finances. He was just spirited away. Erdogan was even denied legal representation. Janice met Erdogan before he was deported; the well-groomed and well presented man she knew looked like he had been living on the streets all his life. He was a broken man, having lost everything he had worked for, his business, his pride and his respect within the Turkish community, along with the possibility of losing the people he loved and who loved him. Since his removal nearly five years ago, Janice and Erdogan have been trying to get his divorce finalised, so they can marry and start a life together as a family. Unfortunately, Erdogan’s estranged wife was hellbent on making things difficult, but finally, in 2010, the Decree Absolute came through. Janice considered moving to Turkey, but with kids here herself, including a 12-year-old who she won’t be able to take overseas, and a mother in her 70s that Janice looks after, it’s not possible if Janice wants to fulfil her other roles of mum and daughter. So they have no choice but to fight for Erdogan to come here. In the meantime, Janice goes out to Turkey as often as she can; in the last five years, she has gone there to be with Erdogan nearly 20 times.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Ruth
“We live a simple life …yet I am being kicked out of my own country”
Ruth is a British citizen who earlier in 2012, married an Australian. Ruth and her husband are both volunteers with a Christian charity in the UK and neither of them individually earns £18,600. They live a basic lifestyle and don’t feel the need to earn a high salary for material possessions, which they neither need, nor want. They have no reason to claim benefits, given what they have themselves, and the additional support they receive from the church and their family. They’re married, and they don’t want to be apart. They work as volunteers – is there any better way to be contributing to your community? So Ruth feels like she is being kicked out of her own country. A couple who isn’t crazy about the latest gadgets, or having the best house, or designer goods. A couple who because of these rules have endured endless upset, stress, sleepless nights and fear, for what the future will bring. A couple who because of these rules is being forced out of a country they contribute to, selflessly.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Morris
“How do you explain to kids that we just don’t make enough money to be together as a family. We have tried to teach our children the importance of family and more so the importance of not judging people by what they have or how much money they have...”
Morris is a British citizen. He married his wife, a Canadian, in summer 2005. Morris has to live in the UK as he has family responsibilities to his children (from a previous relationship) and his own parents who also live. Now the government wants to keep this couple - married for over seven years - apart or force Morris out away from his parents and children.. Morris was born and raised in South Wales, and grew up in a low income, hard working, but loving family. Morris’s dad worked deep in the coal mines. Morris wasn’t given the opportunity to go to university, and never thought he’d meet and fall in love with his soul mate all the way in Canada, but he did. Morris even became close to her kids from a previous relationship. They married in summer 2005 here in the UK. They were living their lives happily, and like all his life, Morris worked hard doing the back breaking, low paid jobs that most people wouldn’t. Then the family decided to relocate to Canada for his wife’s studies. Morris eventually had to return to the UK in 2010 to be near his own kids from a previous relationship, with the intention his wife would join him as soon as he had obtained a stable job. His wife regularly sent money to support Morris during his job search and help in setting up of what is to be their home in the UK. In 2012, Morris finally obtained a stable job. However, when he went off to print the forms for his wife, he discovered how drastically the rules had changed; they felt like their future had been stolen from them. He is furious that his government is dictating to him what their family budget should be when his wife joins him here again! His wife would get a visa that clearly states "no recourse to public funding" stamped across it, so how could she be a burden on tax payers if she doesn’t qualify for public funding? When his wife joins him here in the UK, she is qualified enough to get work that would pay around £18,000 £20,000, and hence pay income tax. They would be shopping, paying council tax, contributing to society and be active members of the community. How is any of this a burden on the economy? They are in the fortunate position that his wife doesn’t have the same ties preventing her from leaving Canada, given that her only family is Morris and their respective kids. His wife has nothing keeping her in Canada except these rule changes. This is a couple being kept apart when all the time they were trying to be prudent and ensure Morris had a good job before his wife and step children moved here. All the hard working, innocent British citizens who just happen to fall in love with someone from a nonEU country are now paying the ultimate price. We are being ripped apart from our loved ones, our family, by our own government! Our loved ones, who count for a small portion of all immigrants. Morris understands there needs to be changes to the immigration system but not this "one-size fits all" approach and definitely not at the expense of British citizens right to be with their family – tearing apart spouses, parents and children from their loved ones. Indeed, in his view, if the concern is abuse of the welfare system, then make it harder to get welfare benefits, but don’t stop innocent families from being able to be together – this cannot be right legally or morally.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Pete & Karima
“ My wife has made coming home every day worthwhile..and now the government wants to take this away from me…“
Pete is a British citizen, from Sheffield. All his life he had been drifting along, drinking and generally living an unhealthy life. Pete was lonely. Until he met his now wife, Karima. Karima had been a court clerk in Casablanca, hence is well educated and speaks English well. Pete’s heart is however breaking. This government wants to keep Pete and his wife apart – the wife who has made him a better man and made coming home every day worthwhile. Why? Is Pete a criminal? No. Is Karima a criminal? No. This government wants to keep Pete and his wife apart because Pete is a cleaner earning the minimum wage. Pete admits he is not the most intelligent person in the world. But he goes to work at 4am in the morning, works long hours, and pays his taxes. He works hard. He doesn’t flout the law. He believes, especially as a Muslim, it is his duty to look after his wife, not the government’s. It’s a matter of pride for him that he be able to support his wife, without claiming any benefits. Indeed, Karima would get a job and pay taxes herself! Karima is currently with Pete on a family visa, having been here since August. She has interacted well with Pete’s friends and made some of her own, showing she is willing to integrate. However, Karima will have to leave soon. Because she married a man who is on a wage stipulated by the government as being sufficient to live on, yet now the government says it’s not sufficient for him to be allowed to fall in love.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Richard
“My American wife is bemused. All visas for non-EU citizens are stamped with a clear ‘no recourse to public funds’. So she doesn’t understand why the burden on taxpayer is even an issue for the British government.”
Richard is a British citizen. His wife, Kate, is American. Richard and Kate met a few years ago. They fell in love and got married. Richard had no immediate ties keeping him in the UK at the time. Kate had two children from a previous marriage who were partway through their education in America. So Kate and Richard decided the best decision for their family would be for Richard to move to America while the kids were still at school, and they’d move to Richard’s home country after the kids had graduated. When these new changes were announced, Richard was shocked and now feels exiled from his own country. In America, both Richard and Kate have good jobs, earning an amount they live on comfortably. In the UK, Richard’s family is from Grimsby, N.E. Lincolnshire where the job market is far from being at the equivalent level. The median average is £16,500 while local papers and job searches show an average salary closer to £14,000. However, living expenses are also lower than other places in the UK. For Richard, moving to the UK with his wife would be to be closer to his family. However, trying to meet a requirement of £18,600 in such an area is a near impossibility, especially with the ability for family assistance now removed. The savings limit required is near impossible for most workers who earn an average, or even above average wage, to achieve. After all, not too many people have up to £62,500 in spare cash lying around! Richard needs to be living and working in the Grimsby area to be able to provide assistance to his mother. She suffers from a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis and her health is failing very quickly, to the point where she is almost housebound. One of the most common expressions throughout the changes has been that immigrants should not be “a burden on the taxpayer”. With space at his mother’s house for Richard and Kate, accommodation would not be an issue and meeting the previous income requirement would have been more realistic. They want to allow his mother to keep her house, while also providing her with care and aid. Kate is bemused. All visas for non-EU citizens are stamped with a clear ‘no recourse to public funds’. So she doesn’t understand why the burden on taxpayer is even a concern by the government. The new rules prevent Richard, a British citizen, returning to his own country; they force Richard’s mum to rely on assistance from the state. Indeed, it’s embarrassing that after having lived for years in America where he was welcomed with open arms, his wife is not afforded a fraction of the welcome in the UK. Richard and Kate will work together until they can be in his home country, with his family. However they are aware of many ex-pats whose situation is far more complicated or on a much shorter schedule. Friends and colleagues who are being forced to liquidate all their assets, including selling their home in order to meet the requirements. These actions seem to go against the general idea of the immigration policy of bringing families together and strengthening the economy. They, like other British citizens, hope that common sense prevails and there is a removal, or significant change, to these rules that will allow Richard and others like him, to live with their family in the home they love.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

David
“ I want people to know I am not a statistic affected by these new rulings, I am a person whose life has been ripped apart; I can’t see how there is going to be a future for me while these rulings are in place. Time is running out for me, I acknowledge I am not a young man any more and this is my last chance of happiness. Why should it be cruelly snatched away from me?”
David is a British citizen, in his mid-fifties and from the East Midlands. He has been self-employed in the graphics industry, before which he worked for HM Forces. He also has a fiancée who lives in Manila, with whom he has been in a relationship for three years. His fiancée is a qualified accountant. David lived in Manila to assess the way of life there and its suitability for him. His fiancée visited the UK to see what life here would be like, should they decide to live here. They travelled to London, Scotland and the Midlands to give her a better idea, before she had to return to Manila and her job. With the current economic climate finding work has not been easy; David is seeking employment working in the graphic art or retail management fields. David lives in an area of the country where the average wage is nowhere near £18,600. He has signed up with over 30 job agencies spending hours each day on my laptop applying for vacancies paying the elusive £18,600. Until then, he is surviving on his savings. David has also been looking at jobs outside of his home area; any job, anywhere in the UK that will pay a salary that meets the criteria. Alas, it is hard enough trying to secure full time employment at his age without having to continually fight red tape. David’s experience with his MP has not been successful. While his MP was initially sympathetic and seemed keen to help David with the situation, it eventually turned into a ‘rules are rules’ response. Letters he has received from the Minister of Immigration and his MP have not been helpful – they simply state the rules with which David is already familiar. Not much help from those who get paid to represent us, their constituents and the citizens of this country they have an obligation to look out for! David has worked hard all his life; paid his taxes and national insurance (which he continues to pay even now). He just wants to be able to live in his home, with his fiancée – a qualified accountant working in the treasury department for one of the largest companies in the Philippines! She speaks English more eloquently than a lot of British people – surely, but surely, she would be an asset not a liability to this country? David has got to the point at which he doesn’t know which way to turn; this situation is destroying him bit by bit with each passing day. It is making him ill, he doesn’t sleep with all the worry…all he wants is to be able to lead a normal happy life with his partner. Indeed, David is at a disadvantage because he was born in the UK, rather than elsewhere in the EU, and fell in love with a beautiful woman from the South Pacific.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Maliha
“My crime - I fell in love and exercised my right to do so.”
Maliha is a British citizen who met her now husband, Bilal, in March 2011 in Dubai. Maliha was in Dubai for work, and in the process met Bilal through mutual friends. Almost instantly, as in the movies, love blossomed. Maliha was initially concerned about the 6 year age gap, but Bilal was so "with it" and mature, that Maliha this concern quickly faded. She extended her time in Dubai to continue to be with Bilal, however commitments intervened and Maliha ever too soon had to return to the UK. They kept in touch through Skype, whatsapp and Facebook; spent countless hours talking over the phone; each minute apart was like a life sentence. Maliha returned in July 2011 to Dubai to spend more time with Bilal. They had an amazing three weeks together. However, the double impact of the middle-eastern summer combined with the constant exposure to air conditioning to escape from the heat wreaked havoc with Maliha’s asthma, and so she was forced to return to the UK. Both Maliha and Bilal spoke to their families about their love and desire to be married. Both their families were against the relationship, for various reasons, including their different cultural backgrounds – Bilal is a Pathan and Maliha a grandchild of an Indian migrant who moved to Pakistan during the India-Pakistan partition.. Yes a reason that seems nonsensical to many of our generation, but one nonetheless that their families held (and incidentally, one that this government appears to also uphold given the £18,600 £62,500 price on love they have put!). Maliha and Bilal – in a modern Romeo & Juliet – continued their love affair in secret; in May 2012 they decided enough was enough and so decided to elope. "Oh the shame" said their parents; however, presented with a marriage certificate they had no choice but to accept the relationship which had been recognised both, by religious leaders and the government. Bizarrely, Bilal – holding a good job in Dubai - was refused a visit visa to the UK. The couple since have been caught in the £18,600 net, due to a measly six days. Maliha has never claimed welfare benefits – indeed, not even the ones she is entitled to. The "no access to government fundings" law from day one suits her just fine as she believes there are more needy people who deserve benefits. However, she deserves to spend her life in the same country as the person she loves. To Maliha, being in the UK is important. It’s where her parents are – it’s where her mum who is disabled is. It’s where her friends, family, life are. It’s where her home is. Given she doesn’t claim benefits herself, given her spouse would not qualify for any benefits, she can’t help but wonder why the ridiculously high financial requirement? In today’s financial climate this new law is only an excuse to put people down and screams of a class system. All she wants is to have a proper married life with her husband. Be with him. What will the end for this modern day Romeo and Juliet be? If David Cameron has his way, this love story will also end in tragedy.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Mel
“I work, but don’t earn £18,600 and so am condemned to a life in a country where my physical and mental health deteriorate”
Mel is a 22 year old British woman married to Mahmoud, a 26 year old Egyptian man. They have been married for two years, and have lived together in Egypt for over a year. Mel found the lifestyle as a foreigner in Egypt difficult; she became ill, suffered from depression and was harassed when she would go out with locals fascinated by her pale skin and blue eyes. It got so bad that Mel found it easier to stay indoors, therefore isolating herself. Her body rejected the local water, and the bottled water did not suit her either. The stress resulting in problems eating food and subsequently Mel became familiar with the hospital in Egypt, having spent many nights there having tests. Throughout all this, Mahmoud stayed by Mel’s side and tried to help the best way he could. They had not thought about living in the UK before, but with Mel not finding herself adjusting to life in Egypt, they decided to apply for a spouse visa, to allow Mahmoud to try out living in the UK. In October 2011 Mel travelled back home to Birmingham to begin the spouse visa process. She knew she would have to find a job and work hard for 6 months so that she could once again be reunited with her husband. She found a job within two weeks of being home as a Shift Leader in a well known company and began work in November, working extremely hard and up to 60 hours a week in order to earn and save as much money as possible. On top of this, Mel had a home ready for herself and Mahmoud with her family also being very supportive in reuniting this pair. The seven months they spent apart were the worst days of her life. She missed him so much, but understood the rules required her to work hard to have her husband with her. Mahmoud passed his English test with flying colours, also working in Egypt to try and save money so they had the best chance of being successful with the application, and having funds for their life together in the UK. In June 2012 Mel travelled back to Egypt to start the application, just before the rules came into force. At this time, the new rules were only speculation and nobody, not even lawyers were clear on what the rules were, when they would come into force and what they actually meant. Mel and Mahmoud missed the 9th July deadline by days, having been delayed due to requiring collection of Mahmoud’s army release paper so that he was able to travel. As it turns out, the few days delay has completely ruined their lives. Now Mel has no choice but to live in Egypt as she does not, and count not at the present time, ever hope to earn £18,600. Mel has been living once again in Egypt since the new rules came into force; she was forced to leave her job and family in the UK to be with her husband. Her health is suffering again and she has once again been forced to isolate herself indoors. She does not speak Arabic so is completely dependent on her husband. She begs him every day not to go out to work as she now fears being lonely. Very much a case of being surrounded by thousands of people in the city, but being alone in a crowd. They don’t have any choice but to continue their life here, with Mel exiled from her own home because she doesn’t earn £18,600. Her husband won’t get to meet her family in person and her future children, who will also be British, will be living a life of poverty – with the right to a decent education and upbringing, denied to them just because their mother couldn’t earn £18,600.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Sandra (2)
“This used to be a great country but the government’s attitude to British people make us 2nd class citizens. Clearly, they want to force us out to make room for rich people and EU nationals“
British citizen Sandra has been married to Monaam for over two and a half years, having known him since 2006 and been romantically involved since 2009. However immigration rules mean they are being forced to live apart; Sandra in the UK and Monaam in Tunisia. Sandra has been welcomed with open arms by Monaam’s family – his mother, father, grandmother, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. They’ve taken Sandra into their fold. Sandra however has family of her own in the UK, including her son who won’t get on a plane. Choosing to live in Tunisia means leaving her family, friends, home, work, and her dog. She should not have to be facing such a choice. The wages they would both earn in Tunisia would make even visiting the UK financially prohibitive. So she is being told by this government that in order to live with her husband, she has to give up everything else she has, including her family? Just because she happened to fall in love and marry a NON EU man? Every night they have been physically apart since 2009, they have been on Facebook or Skype. Monaam’s visa has been refused on countless occasions. As a visitor to the UK he was refused. When he applied for a visa to come to the UK to marry Sandra, the visa was refused. They are battling the English test as well; Monaam takes English lessons in Tunis, yet he has not been able to pass the English test even in three attempts. Interesting, Sandra – who grew up and was educated in the UK, also failed some of the practice tests (which incidentally Monaam got through!). Indeed, is the best place to learn English not the land of the English – England?! Just when they thought they had all the paperwork sorted, the government has gone and decided to move the goalposts yet again. As the spouse, Sandra being the British citizen has to work all extra hours she possibly can – overwork herself, in order to obtain a wage over £18,600 . Her MP indicated how out of touch with British citizens he is by suggesting the wage she was on – before the extra hours taken on – was for part time work!! The amount Sandra earns for a 40 hour week is below £18,600 which is standard for Dorset and above minimum wage. Just goes to show what politicians sitting with their gilded salaries, pension and expense benefits know! Sandra appreciates nonetheless, the support her MP has shown by providing a letter of recommendation that in his eyes they are a genuine couple who should be allowed to live together in the UK, to submit with their next spousal visa application. However, with the £18,600 hanging over their head and no discretion allowed this letter may not be of much help. So far the costs of applying for visas (visiting, spouse), flights,etc are financially crippling them; indeed, if their marriage was not so strong, no doubt they’d have given up by now. Sandra is heartbroken and on anti-depressants to help her cope with the constant stress and enforced separation . Like others, she doesn’t understand why this government thinks it’s okay to keep husbands and wives apart for years especially when they otherwise profess to be pro marriage and pro family. Sandra is being forced to constantly jump through moving hoops. How can anyone prove that what they share is love for each other or that a marriage will last a lifetime? Sandra’s view is that the government is turning this country into a racist, ageist, sexist state where the right to fall in love and marry a non-EU person is only one afforded to the rich. It’s difficult to contest that.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Phil and Amanda
“As a British student, I can’t live in my country with my wife, because she is American and I don’t earn £18,600 – how many British students do?!”
Phil is a British citizen who met his now wife, Amanda in Scotland. Amanda is American and was studying at Stirling University when they met, nearly three years ago. Their relationship survived a long-distance relationship when Amanda had to return home to finish under undergraduate degree in the US. She got in to the Masters program at Stirling University for postgraduate studies. She accepted this to be with her partner and on the basis that UK provided Post Study Work visas allowing those with degrees from recognised UK universities to work here for two years. Amanda started her course in September 2011. In April 2012, the PSW route was closed, not just to new students, but including those students who had come here on the basis of the PSW. Indeed, students who may have chosen to go to other countries over the UK if this had been made clear to them in advance. Facing a future apart, Phil knew the only way Amanda could stay in the UK was if she obtained a job. However work visas have all sorts of requirements (like the job has to pay £20,000 or more, etc.). They became aware of the income requirement being brought in by the government for spouses; although not married at this point they realised that even if they did get married they would not be able to stay in the UK together. They did however get married in October 2011 so that it would be easier for Phil to go to the US if Amanda had to leave. Unfortunately, they cannot leave for America immediately as Phil is still finishing his degree; so they are facing months or even years apart, as students don’t tend to earn £18,600 (well except for those with rich parents). Because Phil fell in love with an American, he has to leave his family and everything he knows in the UK to be with his wife. They both understand the need to curb immigration, but it is absolutely ridiculous when the rules punish its own citizens to such an extent.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Dell and Valery
“The government is separating me from my wife and stepchildren, just because I don’t earn more than £24,800”
British citizen Dell is aged 50. Dell’s biggest regret until he married Valery was that he was unable to have children. When his only niece died, he felt choked by emotion and unspent fatherhood. Dell and Valery met at the beginning of 2012. And they fell in love. With Valery, Dell finally got to be the father he had so longed for, and finally got to hear the word ‘Daddy’. Both Dell and Valery are joyful that the kids have accepted Dell so readily, further strengthening their own bond. Valery is from Russia and has two children, aged fifteen and three. The biological father of her children died when her youngest was just one. The hurt was multiplied as Valery, an orphan herself, was seeing her own children in the same state. Valery is a lawyer and does not have any financial concerns. But after a change in immigration law, this family is at a loss. Dell owns his own home. He also has some savings and works as a manager of a large department store. His income is less than £24,800, but above average when compared to the earnings of other similar roles in Bristol. They therefore are surprised at the statement made by their MP that the average salary in Bristol is £33,000, showing how out of touch he is. Dell’s sister is extremely glad that her brother has finally found happiness. She owns real estate and is willing to help Dell in forming his own family. But all this is not sufficient for the Home Office to allow this family to live together. The treatment of the UK government violates the most basic Christian ethics - as Theresa May is so fond of stating, we are after all a Christian country, so why not apply Christian principles and afford compassion to children and respect the state of marriage. Indeed, the rules in place breach Article 16 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Perhaps politicians in the UK need a reminder: • Men and women of full age, without limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and found a family. They are entitled to equal rights to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. • Family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and State. • Convention on the Rights of the Child • Article 10 “..applications by a child or his or her parents to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive, humane and expeditious manner. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall entail no adverse consequences for the applicants and for the members of their family. Dell and Valery can’t help but wonder why the income and assets of the foreign spouse are not taking into account? Why not allow for the fact that the foreign spouse will be working, paying taxes and participating in providing for the family?

Asif
BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

“I hope one day I can be with the woman I love, without that love having a price tag..”
Asif is a British citizen. He was born and brought up here, and his home, family, friends are all here. He is engaged to a beautiful woman. Asif is a law-abiding citizen, earning an honest living as a cashier, in a shoe shop called Office, where he has now been working for fourteen years. In that time he has been paying his taxes diligently; and has never taken handouts from the government because he and his family are against claiming welfare. Indeed, they instead donate part of their own earnings to charity. Asif is bemused that despite having done everything right, he is now facing rules which enforce his separation from his fiancée. He doesn’t understand why he should endure this, and the stress that comes with it. His fiancée, Hafsa, is fluent in English; she can read, write and speak English fluently and is a science teacher in Pakistan. Hafsa is very qualified, with an MSc in Hydrology. In the UK, she would aim to continue her work as a science teacher; contribute and integrate, but only if she is given the chance to. Every time Asif speaks with Hafsa on Skype, he makes sure he is jovial, however he is crying from the inside. He knows it will take a long time to bring her to share his life, but this is not the way it should be. Planning their wedding comes with a sense of foreboding..what is the point if they will have to be apart. However imagining a life without her, imagining a life without his love, Asif knows in his bones this is the woman he is meant to be with.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Jade
“As a British Masters student, I can’t live in my own country with my partner, because he is Argentinean and I don’t earn £18,600 – how many British students do?! However, international students coming to the UK from elsewhere in the world can live here with their partner and kids, without needing to earn £18,600. The UK is slamming the doors on its own people, just because we accidentally fall in love with someone from outside Europe’s borders”.

Jade is a British citizen; 28 years old, a graduate and a former advertising professional from Greenwich, London. She is currently living in Argentina with her Argentine fiancé Luis. A couple years ago, she took some time off work to travel. Whilst in Argentina, she met and fell in love with Luis. Jade stayed in Argentina for ten months during which time Luis and his family financially supported Jade (she worked part time as an English teacher but it wasn't enough money to live on). They then travelled together, first living together in Rio de Janerio, Brazil for two months, then six months in London, where they lived with Jade’s family. Jade returned to her job in advertising where she earned £22,000 – over the £18,600 now required. As Luis was on a tourist visa, he did not work and instead, spent his time researching for his thesis. In September, they returned to Argentina for Luis’s graduation. For two years one or the others life has been put on hold, just so they could be together. In Argentina Jade can’t get can't work in a career progressing job, as fluent Spanish is essential and the language and cultural barriers also make it difficult for her to make too many friends (they live in a small city). Luis has a good job in an international winery. He put his university and career on hold to spend time in London because Jade was homesick, and now, Jade is putting things on hold while they are both in Argentina. It's a complicated life but they really love each other and are trying to make it work. Jade wishes to return home to study for a Masters in Sustainable Tourism; she has found the perfect course. However, this is only feasible if Luis can also come to the UK and develop his career, whilst supporting Jade in her studies.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

In Argentina, a good salary is about £500 a month. There is no way she could earn £18,600 a year whilst in Argentina, so it is totally impossible for me to meet that income threshold from Argentina. Neither Jade nor Luis want to get married if it means their marriage begins with a six month separation, while Jade returns to England alone, returns to an advertising career, just to make an arbitrary salary of £18,600. Jade feels that her mother country has closed the doors on her. She is feeling a mixture of anger and sadness; it’s scary to think that were she to fall pregnant, she would have to chose between pregnancy at home with family and friends around her, and the father of her child, the choice is difficult but obvious – she would have to stay in Argentina and therefore be forcibly exiled from the UK. Jade is aware that she could move to Spain where she and Luis would be welcomed with open arms, as part of the EU treaty. However this still means putting her life on hold; dreams of studying in the UK are postponed and she would continue to have to teach English as a foreign language for another few years. Indeed, it’s odd that as a British Masters student Jade wouldn’t be able to live here with her partner because she doesn’t earn the required income, but international students do not face the same restrictions! Jade just wants the UK to keep its doors open to her, welcome her back and not punish her for travelling around the world and accidentally falling in love with someone from outside Europe's borders.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Nikki
“Despite being in a genuine loving relationship, the government has forced me into becoming a single mother, juggling work, being a full-time mum and a wife. Family life is supposed to be a right, not a privilege..but it sure doesn’t feel like it!”
British citizen Nikki is 32 years old and lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. She has a two year old son with her partner, a Canadian. Nikki lives in Aberdeen with their son, while her partner lives in Canada. Nikki and her partner are in a genuine and loving relationship; they have been forced apart due to the Canadian support system letting them down. Since leaving Canada three months after their son was born, Nikki has been spending half her life in Canada and the other here; six months in Canada, six in the UK. Nikki’s partner was refused leave to enter to the UK in 2010 and therefore missed their son’s first Christmas. Subsequently, his application for a visitor’s visa and entry clearance were also rejected, despite their doing everything they were asked to – provided letters from employers, landlords, bank statements and showed their bank balance; but were still refused. Now Nikki’s partner has no right to come here to visit his son which has forced her into becoming a single working mother living on a part time wage and living between two countries. Nikki has to earn at least £18,600 a year and have a home for them to live in before she can apply. This is impossible as at the moment Nikki works just to live every day. Their lives are quite simple with simple goals – they want to work to provide for themselves and their son and to watch him grow. They want to be a family and do family things such as take him to Disneyland, enrol him in a good school and secure a future for him. At the moment they don’t see any of that. The right to live a normal life seem so distant – and living in two countries, they’re not even able to provide their son with stable life. Nikki’s parents live in Aberdeen and have done all their life. They both have secure jobs and have an amazing relationship with Nikki and their grandson. The support and comfort Nikki gets from her parents is exactly what she wants for her son; but she also can’t deprive him of growing up without his father. A great number of fathers and even mothers choose not to be part of their child’s life. However, in this case they choose to love and stand by each other and be a family – yet they are being forced apart by politicians. Nikki and her partner do not want to live here illegally; they are not asking for handouts and they both have clean criminal records. They both want to work and pay their taxes. They just want to be a family. Every year, Nikki has to resign from her job so she can go to Canada for six months. Every year she has to watch her son’s bond with his father being cruelly broken. Every year, she hopes the next will be different.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

William & Noriko
“We want to raise our baby together, in a country where the culture and language are not going to damage my career as I need to financially support my family.”
William is a British citizen, married to Noriko, who is Japanese. They live together in Scotland. They have a baby together, but Noriko’s visa expires in April 2013, raising uncertainty and marking the pure joy they should feel at their new arrival. William is a commis chef, on his way to furthering his career as a chef. At this stage of his career, it is not possible to earn £18,600, despite working really hard and putting in about 50 hours a week. They face two choices - Exile from the UK to go live together in Japan, but face worries over career, money and family. The language and culture are so different from the UK that William will be unlikely to actually make progress in his career. - break up their family Both William and Noriko believe parents should be together to give their baby the best upbringing.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Nicola
“Just when my son and I have found a wonderful man to give us the family life we so desire, UKBA persists in snatching away our chance at happiness..”
British citizen Nicola met her husband Tarik, in 2008 while visiting her parent’s holiday home in Turkey. After returning home they exchanged emails, phone calls and chatted online. In early 2009, they began to speak more frequently as their feelings developed from just friends to something more. They made arrangements to meet in Turkey in May 2009, where they spent two weeks together. Nicola, Tarik and Nicola’s six year old son, MJ, were inseparable. It just felt right. Since then they have been in a long term relationship, with Nicola and MJ going to visit Tarik as often as possible. Tarik also came to the UK in June 2009 where he combined work with a visit to Nicola and MJ. He stayed in the UK for less than eight days – within the visa limit. Nicola is somewhat an entrepreneur. In October 2010 she opened a barber shop, making it more difficult to travel. So they applied for Tarik to come visit them in April 2011 to coincide with MJ’s school holidays, in order to all be able to spend more time together. However, the application was refused! UKBA deduced that Tarik was trying to deceive them, because he had not mentioned visiting Nicola during his 2009 visit. They assumed he had not met his business contact (even though he had). UKBA assumed because Tarik on his initial application said he was divorced then on the next one said he was single, meant he was trying to deceive them. UKBA threatened them with paragraph 320 (7A), mentioning any future applications could be refused under 320(7B) which could attract an automatic refusal of up to 10 years. Despite this, Nicola and Tarik re-applied and addressed the assumptions UKBA had made. However the application was automatically refused under 320(7B) with no reasons for the decision. UKBA stated that as he had previously been refused by failing to provide information, any future applications would automatically be refused for the same reason until 26/02/2019. Nicola felt like Tarik was being treated like a criminal. In July 2012 they heard that the rules had changed and that financially, Nicola would no longer qualify to have her foreign spouse living with her. In August 2012 Nicola found out she was pregnant. Nicola and Tarik are ecstatically happy to be expecting their daughter. They got married in September 2012 with all her family travelling to Turkey from Scotland. It was a wonderful time, despite the stress of knowing they would continue to be apart. They decided as a family to live in the UK to save any upheaval to MJ's life and education. Nicola continues to try and build her business while being a single parent to her son. They were hoping Tarik could join them for the baby scan and return in April for the birth. However, the family visit visa was refused. UKBA said they did not believe Tarik’s bank statement was accurate. They also did not believe that Tarik would leave the UK. It was also noted that as Tarik had the previous refusal under 320(7B), any future applications would also be automatically refused for the same reason. Nicola is bemused. She has planned her daughter to receive her first immunisation and then taking her to Turkey to meet her grandparents. She doesn’t understand how UKBA can make their own judgement and assume what their intentions are.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Which brings us to where we are now. Nicola’s pregnancy is tainted with stress. She will need to take maternity leave, she will need to find someone to replace her to run the business while she is not working and she needs to be a single mum to her son. With her husband by her side, the burden would be shared and halved. Tarik and MJ have built a great bond even through the distance. MJ has been asking since the wedding, "when is Tarik coming?" "Can we put the Christmas tree up as a family this year" (last year they flew to Turkey on Christmas day). After the visit visa was refused telling MJ was heartbreaking. The ten year old was crying and sobbing, and not understanding why he could not be with his step dad, like the other kids at school. MJ rubs Nicola’s tummy telling his baby sister that it will all be ok when she comes. A ten year old child should not have to experience this worry and confusion. Just as he has found this family life he so desires, his step dad is not allowed to be part of his daily life. He was let down by his biological father, now when they both have a wonderful man in their lives, who wants to take care of them, they are denied the right to that family life.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

Sandra (3)
“In order to be with my husband I need to move to Tunisia or elsewhere in Europe..I don’t understand why I can’t live in my home, with my husband..why must I be forced out just to live with the man I have married?!!”
British citizen Sandra and her husband, Ahmed, have been fighting to have the right to live together in the UK since December 2011. Ahmed lives in Tunisia and Sandra in England. UKBA delays and decisions have been playing havoc with their lives. They initially waited three months for an answer on their visa application. Ahmed went to the embassy and they told him they didn’t know anything about his application following which they spent three hours looking for his paper work. This was followed by a refusal letter. They have been to solicitors who said they cannot help Sandra unless she gets a disability or carer’s allowance. So she is being encouraged to go on benefits to live with her husband. They don't know what to do and are badly in need of help. They have been married for two years and the only way they get to see each other is if Sandra travels to Tunisia, which is putting her under a lot of stress and as a result of all this heartache, she has now fallen ill. The excuses that UKBA has given for the refusal are ridiculous. First they said Ahmed’s English wasn’t up to standard, however he has an English diploma and has passed all the required tests. Then they said that Sandra wasn’t earning enough. Sandra and Ahmed are at their wits end and all they want is to live their lives together.

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12

BritCits
Unite Families – Fight for Love BritCits@gmail.com
09.12