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Spousal visa refused, family divided

(23 Posts)
bringmollyhome Fri 31-Jan-14 22:21:29

Hello everyone,

I hope this is the right place to post this, I'm brand new on this site and don't know much at all about how you lot run things around here. I only ended up here because my sister told me that you might have an interest in my story. Maybe you've even seen me on the news or in the paper lately, especially if you're in Wales.

Basically, I am a Welsh man who who spent ten years living and working in New York. During that time I qualified as a special eduction teacher and worked for six years in the NYC public school system teaching adolescent students with emotional disturbances and autism. I worked in the famous District 75, the city wide school district that serves students who, for whatever reason, are not able to succeed in the general education setting.

As part of our work on literacy I used to take my guys to the Grand Army Plaza library in Brooklyn every week. While there I came to know a library manager who I thought was especially good with my students. When she finally took her glasses off and let down her hair I also noticed she looked pretty fine and luckily for me we were married not that long after. Soon we had a son. We decided it was time to leave NYC, we wanted to raise him close to family, as a Welshman and applied for a UK spousal visa for my wife. It was refused on the grounds that we did not make enough money and we were essentially the kind of people who might come into the country and start claiming benefits. Our US income, our qualifications and professional experience, our history of having never claimed benefits and our son's right to live in the country of his citizenship were all totally disregarded. I am now in the UK seeking to establish myself but she was forced out of this country and is now back in the US, my son in tow. There is no end in sight for us right now, I don't know how long this situation will continue.

We are victims of a very recent and radical change in British law instigated by the current government so I suppose I am writing this to raise awareness of our case in particular and of the social implications of that policy in general. You will hear much from senior government officials about protecting families and all that jazz but if you take nothing else away from this, just know that all that is a fiction. I have learned at my cost that they don't care about the family at all, it's just noise.

I have started a blog which I invite you to check out:

Tryharder Fri 31-Jan-14 23:25:30

You need to apply for the spouse visa and then if it is turned down, appeal against the decision. I doubt very much your wife will be refused a spouse visa solely on the basis of income as long as you are not claiming benefits.

AuntieStella Fri 31-Jan-14 23:38:22

You do have to meet a minimum income requirement to sponsor a spouse visa. As your DS is a British citizen, it is £18k. Did you have a job paying this or higher lined up when you applied? Or when you say 'seeking to establish yourself' here, do you mean that you are currently job hunting?

VivaLeBeaver Fri 31-Jan-14 23:40:49

TryHarder, they do deny visas based on income. I believe the threshold is an income of 18k?? There is a woman in a very similar position to the OP who's been in the press lately.

OP, will make your link clickable

I feel for you.

bringmollyhome Fri 31-Jan-14 23:51:32

The case is in appeal right now. When I applied I'd been a certified teacher (dual certification, special and general ed) with a masters degree in the NYC public school system for six years. Here's the salary schedule for NYC teachers, it's a matter of public record. You'll forgive me if I don't post the exact step I was on.

I didn't have a job lined up when I arrived, it took a week or two to find one. I fulfill the financial obligations. We were turned down cos of weasel words in the application question process that allow them to use technicalities to deny otherwise legitimate applicants.

I'll be addressing that in detail on the blog but the short version is that it's a simple numbers game: failed applications means less immigrants means less votes lost to UKIP. Doesn't matter if you were born here and you're returning to contribute to your community, you're just an obstacle to be overcome in pursuit of power.

Tryharder Sat 01-Feb-14 01:52:31

Yes but if the application is refused, the applicant has a right of appeal before an adjudicator. As long as you can argue that you won't be a burden on public funds, the appeal will probably be allowed. I would submit a human rights article 8 argument (right to family life).

HollyHB Sat 01-Feb-14 13:40:04

That two week break in employment is what got you disqualified. However, after six months on the job you can reapply and will be accepted. The big burden is the huge cost spent to apply for a visa which is paid all over again if there is a failure to meet the fine print.
Details are at:

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 01-Feb-14 13:42:47

If you're that bothered by the separation why aren't you there with them?

HollyHB Sat 01-Feb-14 14:14:18

Onesleeptillwembley > If you're that bothered by the separation why aren't you there with them?

I'm sure the answer is that he would lose his job in Britain if he moved to NY and the six month timer would be reset.

Incidentally bringmollyhome, you are very wise not to have your son in Britain while your wife's visa is pending. He doubtless has citizenship "British by Descent" and so under Munby's recent pronouncements he would not be exempt from do-gooders jusidiction over his welfare if he were to live with you but without your wife. He would actually have more human rights in Britain if you were to renounce his British citizenship (I'm sure he has US citizenship also under ^Jus Solis^) and get him an immigrant visa.

bringmollyhome Sat 01-Feb-14 20:43:42

Onesleeptillwembley, you'll excuse me if I don't take your question seriously.

Here's something else I don't take seriously, it's from the Conservative Party manifesto:

“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.”

HollyHB, you're right about the two weeks thing, I was saying exactly the same to someone only this afternoon. Maybe you guys have never tried it but it's hard to secure a job from another continent. Funnily enough, in real terms there was no break in employment. My resignation from the NYCDOE came into effect about two weeks after I returned home. There was a two week period where I was in Britain but not employed in Britain but I was still recieving a US paycheck during that time.

If our appeal is turned down either we scrap it, pay another 1000 pounds to apply again and wait at least another six months or try to move it further which could take I don't know how long.

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 01-Feb-14 21:05:53

Why not? No justified answer? You choose to stay here, unable to earn enough to keep your family. My question was a genuine question, but the tone of your post tells me you just expect your own way.

KeinBock Sat 01-Feb-14 21:55:33

onesleep, as I understand it, he is now earning enough to support his family according to the HO guidelines, but was not for a brief period (2 weeks) during which his application was considered & rejected.

HollyHB Sat 01-Feb-14 22:18:10

KeinBock Under the rules you must either (1) hold the UK job for six months before you apply - OR - (2) have previously held jobs in the same lines of work AND already have a job offer when you enter the country.
The practical effect is that he will have to support his wife and child in NY and himself in UK for six months and then the family can be reunited.
Welcome to a compassionate Britain.

Which is a shame but many people have been caught the same way. The rules are very tricky but not a problem for the rich who can pay an expensive immigration lawyer who knows the precise details.

His wife, being American, could be in the UK with the child for six months, no problem, BUT NOT IF HE IS IN THE UK ALSO because then she is not considered to be a bona fide visitor but an prospective immigrant, so she can't be here as thet intend to apply for an immigrant visa.

I'm sorry old chap, put the 1000 wasted quid down to experience and apply again when you have been six months on the job.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 01-Feb-14 22:20:13

OneSleep, he is earning enough to support them. But as on paper there was a two week gap between finishing work in USA and starting work here then he has to wait six months as you have to show six months continuous employment at over 18k.

If he moved back to USA he'd lose his job and never have any chance of moving back here. Why shouldn't he be able to move back here?

Its a shame they don't take individual circumstances into account rather than applying blanket rules to all and showing no common sense.

I suppose on the bright side if you now fulfil the financial obligations you know that in six months time she can come here. I know being separated is hard and I've been there with dh working away for very long periods of time abroad.

HollyHB Sat 01-Feb-14 22:26:46

bringmollyhome > There was a two week period where I was in Britain but not employed in Britain but I was still recieving a US paycheck during that time.

That is exceptional, and if you can prove that there was no break in employment you may indeed win your appeal. Very unusual. Good luck, you deserve it.

For the information of other readers, these terrible family-destroying rules came into effect on 9th July 2012. Before that it was family friendly.

AnneElliott Sat 01-Feb-14 22:26:51

OP I do sympathise and ironically it would be much easier if you were an EEA national rather than a Brit cit.

The rules are strict but if in 6 months you have your job then you should be granted the visa.

KeinBock Sat 01-Feb-14 22:30:46

Good luck with your appeal

Doublemuvver Sat 01-Feb-14 22:37:52

Wishing you all the luck in the world. These immigration rule changes suck big time. It took my Bil 2.5 years to get his spousal visa......

HollyHB Sat 01-Feb-14 22:49:29

AnneElliott > OP I do sympathise and ironically it would be much easier if you were an EEA national rather than a Brit cit.

That is true. If he were Irish instead of British he would not have a problem bringing his American wife over to live in Britain. That is because all EU countries must guarantee human rights to all citizens of all other EU countries. But the do not have to provide human rights to their own citizens.

The recent Munby rulings establish that a British baby can be snatched by secret courts when better parents are found for the child but foreign babies living in Britain cannot.

bringmollyhome Sat 01-Feb-14 23:55:46

Onesleeptillwembley of course I want it my own way. I submit though, that my own way is not a crazy way. It's the way where politicians are accountable for their statements about protecting families. It's the way where elected representatives do some actual representing. Most importantly it's the way where children get to actually live in the country of their citizenship.

Is that not your way? It's certainly not the current government's.

"That is true. If he were Irish instead of British he would not have a problem bringing his American wife over to live in Britain. That is because all EU countries must guarantee human rights to all citizens of all other EU countries. But the do not have to provide human rights to their own citizens."

HollyHB I've been chewing on that fact a lot recently and have found it particularly piquant.

Anneelliot, it might be six months pretty much on the nose, that is if we were turned down tomorrow, decided not to press on with the appeal, organised the new 1000 pound application fee, organised all the supporting paperwork, filled in all the questions, and reapplied all on the same day. Of course, the UKBA would have to operate at something close to stated efficiency too, a topic that for those who've had dealings with them is something akin to a sick joke.

So if we're turned down six months isn't really a best case scenario, more like a pipe dream.

bringmollyhome Sat 01-Feb-14 23:59:54

Oh, and thank you all for your good wishes!

bringmollyhome Thu 06-Feb-14 23:38:00

Just wanted to let you guys know I've completed a series of blog posts on our situation and how it's been handled. They are entitled 'Bits they left out' and you can find them here:

You may or may not find them interesting but if you are planning to have any dealings with the UKBA then I really do strongly recomend them, if I may.

SavoyCabbage Thu 06-Feb-14 23:47:40

I'm in this situation too. I've been married for 13 years. My dc are British and were born here. My dh is Australian and has lived and worked in the uk for over a decade. We have a house in the uk.

We went to Australia and now we want to return and he can't get a visa. The dc and I are in the uk now but we are going back to Australia on Tuesday as I have decided that living without my dh is too difficult.

I would have to live as a single parent for nearly a year and we would have to run two homes. My dh wouldn't be able to see the dc and they him.

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