To believe that breaking up this family is unjustified

(52 Posts)
TheBitchInTheHouse Thu 06-Dec-12 13:54:04
FancyPuffin Thu 06-Dec-12 13:55:22

What is it about?

Have learnt not to just click links <bitter>

TheBitchInTheHouse Thu 06-Dec-12 13:57:32

and here's the science bit:-

Firstly, I would like to emphasise that I am in no way suggesting an “open door” policy on immigration. I respect the right of the UK to implement immigration control.

I respect that there is a need to ensure that people who enter the UK as the fiancé, spouse or civil partner of a UK citizen are not a burden on the taxpayer, and that their relationship is genuine.

I would also like to point out that I agree with the family route immigration controls for spouses and civil partners that were in force prior to July 2012. I have been through this process and I believe that it is sufficiently rigorous.
When challenged regarding these new rules, The Home Secretary and UKBA always respond that the new rules are there to prevent sham marriages and to protect the taxpayer. However, partners sponsoring a non eu spouse had to prove their relationship was genuine prior to the new rules being brought in.

Whether a relationship is genuine or not does not depend on how much the partners earn. In addition, non eu spouses are not allowed to claim benefits, they have no recourse to public funds, and this is stamped clearly on their passports. In order to claim benefits, they have to have worked in the UK and paid taxes into the system for at least five years.
Before July 2012 the sponsor had to show evidence that they were able to live with their partner without relying on state benefits by providing their bank account details, pay slips, savings account balance etc, and show that they could provide accommodation by sending in their mortgage statement or confirmation from their Landlord showing the partner had permission to live with them.

Now, they have to prove that they earn at least 18.600. If given permission to come into the UK they have to prove at they still earn this income after 2.5 years. Then they may be given a further temporary visa of 2.5 years, at which point they have to prove the income once again. If at any point they become unemployed and find a new job, they then have to show that they have an income of at least 18.600 in employment that they have held for six months .

So, for example, if I am earning 18.600 when I apply in August 2012. I lose my job in September 2014. I find another job paying 18.600 in December 2014 and I apply for my partner’s temporary leave to remain in January 2015, I may be refused because I have not been earning 18.600 for long enough.
If the applicant and Sponsor are both in the UK at the time of first applying, both their incomes may be counted. IF only the sponsor is in the UK, only the sponsor’s income is counted.

Under the old rules, any savings were counted. Since July 2012, if you don’t earn 18.600 the first 16.000 of savings cannot be counted. On top of this, you need to have the shortfall X 2.5.
So, if I earn 18.500, I have to have £16.250 in savings to make up for the £100 shortfall.

There are very few people in the UK, even high earners, who have such a large amount of savings, and it’s unlikely that anyone on a low wage has that. So this is almost an impossible obstacle to overcome.

Under the old rules, it was necessary to pass an English test with classes in citizenship OR if you thought your English was good enough, a Knowledge of Life in the UK test. A high level of English is needed to pass the KOL. Whereas before July 2012, spouses could take either one or the other, depending on their level of English, everyone now has to pass both. All new applicants have to pass an English test BEFORE entering the United Kingdom.
I agree wholeheartedly that when moving to another country, it is necessary to know the culture and to try to speak the language. I speak five languages and have lived in two other countries, and I would not move to the other country without attempting to learn the language. However, I do think that the best place to learn a language is within the country itself. Experts in teaching English as a Second Language do not agree with the new language requirements and believe that rather encouraging integration, they are a barrier.

Some campaigners who oppose the new rules disagree with the extension of the temporary spouse visa from 2 years to 5 years. They believe that employers are reluctant to hire someone on a temporary visa. It could be argued, therefore, that it’s unfair to expect someone to earn 18.600, a wage much higher than the national average in most regions at the same time making them less desirable to employers for five years. It should be noted that UKBA themselves do not employ people on temporary visas, not even to clean their floors, and this is stated on their website.

It’s not only the content of the new rules that have received criticism. The rules were brought into effect without a debate in Parliament. Instead the “negative resolution” procedure was used. Given the potential impact that this has on couples and families, one would hope for a proper debate to have taken place before the rules were introduced.

More details are provided here.:-
Any new rules that are brought in have to undergo an impact assessment in order to minimise people unfairly falling foul of them. The Home Office’s own report admits that the personal cost “may be significant” but glosses over it.
There is evidence that since July 2012, a significant number of people have already been affected. Enough concern has been shown to trigger an inquiry on the new rules, and people who have been affected and their advocates have been invited to submit their evidence to the inquiry before January 2013.

A campaign petition in circulation includes many comments from individuals and their families and friends.

and there are two Facebook groups which provide emotional support to people affected and for campaigners to share information

quoteunquote Thu 06-Dec-12 14:02:52

That is appalling, thanks for sharing, I hope those boys get their mummy home soon.

TheBitchInTheHouse Thu 06-Dec-12 14:06:12

Wow. That was quick Fancy Puffin! Impressive! See also my second message.

It's about a Dad and his two kids who is having to be separated from his wife until he can earn 18.600, under the new family route immigration rules that have come into force in July 2012. They've been married for years and have two kids so are obviously a genuine couple. He now has a job earning the right amount, but didn't find it in time after returning to the UK to avoid her being sent back to China.

Any more questions please ask. I know my second post is long and boring, but I've tried my best to explain the rules before and after July 2012 the best I can, given that I'm not a legal expert. I hope that helps.

TheBitchInTheHouse Thu 06-Dec-12 14:08:56

Thank you so much for your kind words, quote unquote.

FestiveWench Thu 06-Dec-12 14:36:44

that made me cry sad

quoteunquote Thu 06-Dec-12 16:15:07

skype mummy should join MN, she needs to tell her story.

I thought there was a right to family life, I'm quite shocked that they are not allowed to live together, these children must be really suffering.

TheBitchInTheHouse Thu 06-Dec-12 16:27:40

I thought so too, quoteunquote, but Theresa May has other ideas! That's probably why the rules were rushed through the back door.

Probably also the reason for the attempt to repeal the Human Rights Act recently, which thankfully was defeated.

I'm not sure if she would have access to MN in China, but I'll let her husband know.

Thanks for the warm welcome. .

TheBitchInTheHouse Thu 06-Dec-12 16:28:56

Thanks for the empathy, Festive Wench. Unfortunately it's in short supply at times given the feelings against immigration in this country.

MrsHoarder Thu 06-Dec-12 16:40:27

It made me cry too. And did a petition link flash up? I missed it if it did.

LRDtheFeministDude Thu 06-Dec-12 17:10:33

It bothers me too. Well done you for highlighting this.

DH has a degree from Oxford (UK) and has lived here ten months out of twelve since he was 7. His English accent is posher than mine and his language skills are such that no-one ever knows he is not from the UK. He has studied English culture for years and frequently knows more than I do - and I'm doing postgrad study on it!.

He still had to revise for the life in the UK test and I could tell I would have failed it. This test discriminates against ordinary people who want to contribute to society. It is designed for those who can jump through hoops.

quoteunquote Thu 06-Dec-12 17:24:21

It doesn't make sense, surely he would be able to work more and earn more if the other parent of his children were here, It's hard juggling small children and work on your own.

tell him to join MN.(no idea why I suggested just skype mummy)

TheBitchInTheHouse Thu 06-Dec-12 17:46:29

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to advertise petitions, but I mentioned it because there are loads of comments by the people who have signed that can demonstrate the potential scale of the problem and the numbers affected. Given that it's only four months since the rules came in, and given that one petition is very much the tip of the iceberg. Here it is again.

If you want to sign and share by social media, that would be fantastic.
Thanks for your support.

TheBitchInTheHouse Thu 06-Dec-12 17:50:23


I wish you and your DH all the best. I really hope that you have a good chance of being approved? If you're not sure, or if you just want to support or find out more, please do join the Facebook groups.

Thankfully, my husband came in under the old rules. We're not out of the woods yet, and until his ILR is approved it's going to be hanging over us, but we're very fortunate.

LRDtheFeministDude Thu 06-Dec-12 17:52:29

That's very kind of you, thank you! We seem to be doing ok so far.

But I am glad to see other people drawing attention to it all, as it really is a bad situation.

I hope the rest of it goes smoothly for you and your DH.

TheBitchInTheHouse Thu 06-Dec-12 17:58:08

Thanks Quote Unquote. Yes you would think so! I know several mums who are now effectively single parents, having to claim benefits because their husbands have not been allowed into the country. They even get refused visit visas to visit the children in the UK, so the families are left with two options: separation for long periods of time, or exile for the British partner, with no idea when they would be able to return home permanently.

It's madness if you consider that with the partner there, the family could be off benefits with one or both parents working, and the non-eu spouse not allowed to claim benefits in any case.

That's how the gov wish to reduce net migration figures: not only by controlling who comes in, but by forcing low earning Brits to leave.

TheBitchInTheHouse Thu 06-Dec-12 17:59:32

Thanks, we're receiving more information each day, so when interesting things come up I'll add them here.

JaquelineHyOnChristmasSpirit Thu 06-Dec-12 18:11:57

My husband is from Zimbabwe and has been in the UK for 10 years. He has full PR of his daughters and their birth mother isn't allowed any contact with them.

We are married and I am expecting our 4th child. Yet in February we have to begin to fight against his deportation as his temp visa is up and we have to begin the process again.

He could be forced back to Zim to apply from there (where he would be at risk of attack from local government forces as his Dad was brutally beaten a few weeks ago) but I would never be able to earn the amount of money needed to get him here as I am a social work student and will then become a single mum to 3 with a 4th due in a matter of months.

I have no idea what it going to happen and I'm disgusted that any family can be put through this kind of distress purely so that the coalition government can try and win votes from Daily Fail readers. It makes me so angry

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Thu 06-Dec-12 18:13:07

She should have instructed a decent legal representative. First thing that should have been lodged, if they couldn't meet the immigration rules, is a decent set of article 8 representations. If they failed, a judicial review, as frequently judges are a lot more understanding than home office reps. Finally, why didn't they move to a different EU country where they could have lived together with him exercising his treaty rights? Surely that's better than them being separated?

TheBitchInTheHouse Fri 07-Dec-12 00:38:00


I'm sorry to hear about your husband. If you need some support, please think about join the facebook groups (assuming you haven't already heard of them you may have done). We're doing lots of things to try to get these awful rules overturned, including some families who are thinking of taking legal action as a group.

No one should ever have to face stress like that and have to worry about their family being broken up at any time, but for you to be going through this while pregnant is just terrible.

I do hope that things work out for you, in the meantime it'd be great to be able to help support you through these tough times.

TheBitchInTheHouse Fri 07-Dec-12 00:48:52


I can't really speak for the family, but I am sure they are aware of all of these possibilites and have done all they can do to keep their family together. It's not easy to just relocate to another country, especially as the dad had to find that all important 18.600 job and do it for six months before Mum can join them again.

In any case, it is appalling that any British Citizen should be exiled to another country - even temporarily - or be separated. No one living in a supposed democratic country should face a decision like that in the year 2012. It's the insane rules which have forced this family apart, not any decision they have made.

That's one of many reasons why they need to be overturned.

It's not just about this family - there are thousands who are going through this.

It's maddening that EU citizens are able to bring their non eu spouses to the UK so easily while British families are being torn apart. The UK government has made British Citizens second class citizens in their own country. That is not acceptable.

(I'd like to point out I'm not anti EU, don't want to take their rights away, just wish we had the same!)

TheBitchInTheHouse Fri 07-Dec-12 00:50:15

@ Fancy Puffin

I promise you it's not a Rick Astley video smile

TanteRose Fri 07-Dec-12 01:10:52

the new rules are absolutely and utterly unfair

this could be me - if I had to move back to the UK (lets say, there is another massive earthquake in Japan and we became homeless here), my DH would not be allowed to go back to the UK with my DCs and me.

I've seen a FB page, but will check out the petitions etc.

thanks for posting, TheBitch smile

fenix Fri 07-Dec-12 03:29:01

I agree that the changes are unnecessarily draconian and unjust. My DH and I had to go through the visa process for a different country, and that was tough enough. If we had to deal with these impractical rules, we'd be buggered.

These requirements are clearly designed to offer a façade of open immigration, but ultimately one which severely restricts the class of people who are able to come. It's a sleazy way to draw in educated, English speaking people - if that's what they want, then they could up their game on skilled working visas.

I went through this process in Canada. It is horrible and heart-breaking even with a form full of ticks (languages, money, support). The worst thing was when they wrote to us and said that our relationship wasn't genuine or long-lasting enough. 5 years later we are together with our beautiful DD. I wonder if their marriages could stand the scrutiny like ours did.

TheBitchInTheHouse Fri 07-Dec-12 09:46:40

Thank you, Tante Rose, your support is much appreciated.

TheBitchInTheHouse Fri 07-Dec-12 09:56:17

Mrs Terry Pratchett. That is awful. I am so sorry you had to go through that. I wonder by what criteria they go by to make assumptions like that.

In addition to silly requirements, there is also a "secret blacklist" of countries where they can subject families to extra scrutiny. Blatant discrimination. Guess how countries get on to that blacklist? By the number of refusals that UKBA issue to ppl from that country the previous three months. How countries get off the blacklist is a mystery to me. Also, the UKBA refuse to publish it knowing they can't afford to piss off some of the countries on it. So when you apply, you have no idea if you are going to be subject to this discrimination.

If they want to deter people from falling in love with foreigners - which is clearly their aim, why don't they publish the goddam list and be done with it? They expect people to make personal life choices based on their stupid rules so why not.

Rant far far far from over :S

TheBitchInTheHouse Fri 07-Dec-12 10:02:55

Thanks Fenix. Their skilled working visas and student visa system are similarly shambolic, but that's a whole new thread, and although I'm aware of the problems, I'm not an expert. They cheated a large number of international students by promising them a two year work visa after finishing their studies, and then reneged on that promise by sending them all home three months after their studies finished.

NameGotLostInCyberspace Fri 07-Dec-12 13:34:45

Appalling! We too would have been affected by this. How fair is it to penalise people who happen to fall in love from different countries??
I understand the need for strict rules on this but think the current rules, having been through the process, are strict enough.

How the hell does someone prove they will earn acertain amount when it would be practically impossible to gain employment in the UK from another country??
As it stands, DH is hoping to apply for Citizenship soon as currently has ILR. After lots of headaches, worry and heartache we can finally 'relax'. If we were applying next year initially, God only knows what would have happened sad

JaquelineHyOnChristmasSpirit Fri 07-Dec-12 19:25:57


Thank you for starting this thread and for the sympathy for my own situation.

It is unfortunately one of those issues that you sometimes fear speaking out about in public or new company because sadly some people really do believe everything they read in the papers about those bloody foreigners! So it is nice to know that there are people out there who understand and have compassion for the situation.

I have popped a request in for each of the facebook groups and will signpost someone else I know who is in a similar situation if that is ok?

TheBitchInTheHouse Fri 07-Dec-12 21:28:58


Thanks for your sympathy and I'm so glad that your hubby was able to apply under the old rules and has ILR. My hubby and I are putting in at the beginning of next month and the papers are with the solicitor. Even though ours is a straightforward case and there shouldn't be any hassle, I have heard of people who have been separated because of UKBA's incompetence, so I am still worried. If it's hard enough with a straightforward case, I really cannot imagine how those families get through it. It's a real testimony to true love and those couples are so strong.

I really hope we can get these rules changed, as that's the only way justice will be done. I'd be so grateful if you would sign and share the petition and if you know anyone who needs help tell them about the group. You're welcome to join as a supporter too of course.

TheBitchInTheHouse Fri 07-Dec-12 21:41:49

Hello JaquelineHyonChristmasspirit

Yes, I know exactly what you mean. I told the gentleman who made the video about the lovely comments on the thread and the calls for him and his wife to join but he's being cautious now after having a very unpleasant experience on a site with a name very similar to this one ;) I had assumed all social media was the same and that would always happen to a certain extent. That's always been my experience so far. However, this thread and the amazing amount of compassion and support is a very welcome change from what I usually see.

Whenever one of the campaigners gets a story in the press (local papers mainly - nationals are not bothered) then there are always nasty comments posted on the online articles.

I am really happy that you are joining the group. Yes, please do signpost your friend to join. It may be worth letting her know about the APPG inquiry. I'll find the link and post again. The more evidence they get from people affected, the more chance there is of getting the rules changed.

We're really grateful for any support and signposting to people who are affected. There must be thousands out there by now and I hope we can reach as many as possible.

TheBitchInTheHouse Sat 08-Dec-12 20:21:54

Here is a link to the inquiry - probably the best way to fight these unjust rules.

TheBitchInTheHouse Sat 08-Dec-12 20:22:06

InNeedOfBrandyButter Sat 08-Dec-12 20:29:38

My sons hasn't seen his dad since he was 4 months old sad he's 5 now.

He got deported after his visa ran out sad and it's only now his 4 years are up he can apply again. He spent months and months in a detention centre like a criminal, He was working, a good dad, payed his taxes and contributed to society but probably will never see his dc again.

NameGotLostInCyberspace Sat 08-Dec-12 22:07:51

The changes include:

introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner, or fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored; £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child;

Haven't read this on the thread ABOUT CHILDREN, so thought I would throw that in!!
I had one child at the time of application of 2yr spouse visa, I could not work as no childcare and family circumstance (unofficial caring). DH was earning around 150 pounds in his home country (with some savings) so we would probably still be apart.
Yes I will be joining groups and signposting people who this is relevant to. This issue needs to be highlighted.

NameGotLostInCyberspace Sat 08-Dec-12 22:12:05

By the way, TheBitch, we have never used a lawyer for any application and we are by no means, legally fluent.
We actually appealed an initial refusal (on the grounds that our marriage was fake) by ourselve and won! Just wanted to share as I know it is pricey and not always necessary. Good luck with your application smile

TheBitchInTheHouse Sun 09-Dec-12 10:07:20


That is awful. I don't know how these stories get ignored by the national press while the anti immigration hatred is spewed out daily.

Please join the facebook groups and get some support, because the more people we have fighting together the more able we will be to stop families from being broken up. There are some lovely people on there and there's a lot of useful information. I've learned so much and it's great to have new friends who understand what we're going through.

TheBitchInTheHouse Sun 09-Dec-12 10:10:12


My Gawsh, you're brave! I wouldn't dare to do it without a lawyer, even if my case is straightforward. but it's good to know some people did it alone and still won.

TheBitchInTheHouse Sun 09-Dec-12 10:12:22


Yes please do join the groups and signpost. I'm trying to reach as many affectd people as possible. If you know any other social media parenting groups etc where I should be posting let me know. Open to any ideas.

AntsMarching Sun 09-Dec-12 10:28:11

I went through the system a few years ago. I can tell you that at that time (2006), it was most definitely about what you earned. I was fortunate that my husband and I both had high earning jobs and a good savings.

I was at the embassy applying for a fiancée visa and did not have a notarised copy of my (now) DH's passport. The officer started to lecture me on this and how important it was, even though none of the paperwork stated it needed to be notarised. He was still lecturing when he got to the paperwork on our finances. The lecture stopped and I was given the visa the same day.

I called DH to complain that if we'd not been so fortunate in our finances then I feel certain he would have turned my application down.

InNeedOfBrandyButter Sun 09-Dec-12 10:43:32

OP We're not together anymore, 5 years apart was to much for me (I was only 19 when I had my son). Sad for my son though, until he's of an age where he can go on a plane by himself (and 5 is to young to go and stay with a stranger which his dad is) he's never going to see him.

natation Sun 09-Dec-12 10:55:49

The only (possibly short term) solution is for the family to move to another EU country. As someone who has come across many sham marriages, interviewed 1000s of failed asylum seekers, it does make me angry when the rules are changed like this, I fully agree that any British citizen who brings a "controllable" spouse to the UK must be able to support them without recourse to public funds, in the same way as other EU nationals must do when they bring their "controllable" spouses and children. I also agree that the time limit of LLE needed to be lengthened. The financial minimum is just too much though, the other EU nationals do not have this financial limit, just to prove support without public funds. It makes me ashamed.

TheBitchInTheHouse Sun 09-Dec-12 15:08:47

InNeedofBrandyButter I am so sorry for you and your family. Words fail me. I wonder how many others have ended up this way. Makes me so angry..

InNeedOfBrandyButter Sun 09-Dec-12 15:38:38

Thank you OP,

TheBitchInTheHouse Sun 09-Dec-12 15:41:58

natation. The family's aware of that option, but for their own reasons, it's not viable, but thanks for suggesting it.

I think it's lunacy that British citizens face the option of moving to another eu country for a period of time, or just staying in the spouse's country forever, with no possibility to come home with their partner easily, not even in an emergency. Both forms of exile, even if the first one is short term. Especially as, as you say, EU nationals living in Britain are not subject to the same strict requirements.

Natation, may I ask what work you do/did?

The extension to 5 years is not great when you have to live with uncertainty for 5 years and being less desirable to employers etc, but I think it's a change that most people could live with, even if it's not ideal.

However, for me the 2.5 plus 2.5, having to show that you earn 18.600 for at least six months at each point and spend thousands applying for visas and paying for solicitors at each point to me looks just like a money making spree at our expense, and a way of designing a system that will catch majority of british people out at some point in their lives - no matter how genuine or hardworking.

I think it would be better to give a spouse visa for five years and see if they were still together at the end of it, and see if they were still supporting themselves at the end of it but not be so prescriptive how.

It also doesn't allow for circumstance to be taken into account. I don't think sudden unemployment should be a reason to wreck a family and separate children from parents.

Nor do I think it's fair that my husband pays tax and works very hard but can't claim jobseekers if he's made unemployed through no fault of his own.

I can live with it, though, I'm so relieved and thankful we're at least together and I don't want their bloody money anyway. I've never claimed anything other than CB. My solicitor told me I could possibly claim some tax credits while on mat leave but I just can't be arsed. I am too proud to take their money, they can keep it.

I'm interested to know.. how do you know if a marriage is sham or not? It's very rare for me to get the opportunity to talk to someone on the "other side" so to speak, and I've always wondered. I don't know what evidence you can submit to prove your feelings for another person. Lie detector? If that were even possible, then no one would ever have a bad relationship would they? I know how to prove my income, and how to prove i've been in touch with my husband or living under the same roof, but how do people prove their actual feelings, especially as all you have to go on is a load of paperwork, maybe photos, and perhaps a meeting for an hour or two with the couple...?

Have you ever come across a couple who you felt to be genuine but had to refuse for a different reason eg financial, and if so, how does it feel to be on the other side of that?

TheBitchInTheHouse Sun 09-Dec-12 16:27:12

natation, I don't like adding smilies to show that my message shouldn't be read as being an angry one, but due to the amiguity of the net here is one. smile Are you working for UKBA, if so, would you be willing to sign the petition anonymously and add a comment, or to submit evidence to the APPG inquiry?

TrazzleMISTLEtoes Sat 29-Dec-12 09:27:15

Hi, I appreciate that I'm raising a zombie thread, but just wanted to explain to the poster who asked why the couple didn't get decent legal reps to bang in an Article 8 application.

It's not so simple anymore - when the Immigration Rules were changed over the summer, Article 8 applications were also tightened up and they are now pretty tough too.

MulledVodkaAndXmasMincePies Sun 30-Dec-12 10:34:35

Holy mother of. If they had brought these changes in just a few months sooner I would have been sent packing with 2 small children (one a new born) and left behind a husband to ill to work, let alone earn that kind if money.

How very very lucky we were!

hazleweatherfieldgirldetective Sun 30-Dec-12 10:50:00

I have to admit, I was shocked when I came back to work after a year on maternity and saw the rule changes. But I still think, with decent representations submitted along with an FLR(O) application, they would have been successful. I've never had a refusal in these circumstances and, on the face of it, can't see any reason why this case would have been different.

TheBitchInTheHouse Sun 13-Jan-13 11:00:56

Hazleweatherfieldgirldetective. The campaigners are hearing of many couples/families who have been refused even when they meet all the criteria under the new rules, and people under the old rules who are being refused for silly reasons, forcing them to appeal and have many months of waiting and insecurity. People who have been following immigration news for years have noticed an exponential rise in such cases.

In any case, this horrible thing has already happened to this family, and it's happening to many families. Coulda woulda shoulda advice is not very helpful at this point in time, I'm afraid. The rules need to be scrapped.


I don't know if anyone is still watching this thread, but there is a new website and blog where most information regarding the rules and campaigns against them is collated in one space.

Please do let me know if you have any ideas on where I can post this to raise awareness and reach people who may be affected.

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