Bassem’s story

My wife and I knew each other in 2005 and we started a relationship as boyfriend girlfriend from 2006. We had our ups and downs, but we managed to get through all of them and we decided to get married in Egypt by the end of 2009. You can say a lot of things about my home country, Egypt, but when my wife applied for her residency visa, they gave it to her in one day. Why? Because she has an Egyptian husband and that was enough. We applied for her citizenship as well, they said come back in 2 years time and it should be ready. Egypt had the revolution in 2011, yet we managed to get her the citizenship no problem. We had 2 children who were born in Egypt by an Egyptian doctor and my eldest son had all his vaccinations in Egypt. But things have gone from bad to worse since 2013. We didn’t feel hopeful about staying in Egypt, so we had to take the hard choice and go to the UK. We both loved Egypt but we both knew that it wouldn’t be a good place for the asthmatic symptoms of our child.
Now i have to wait for six months to can apply for my residency, which I find it strange. My country which has all the problems in the world, still knows more than the UK how important family values are. I can understand where they are coming from, but when you already have two children I think we should get a greater priority and the UK should ease the regulations. My wife didn’t come to Egypt as a tourist, she was working there with me and we are the same age – well she’s 4 months older than me; I tease her every year that I am 4 months younger 🙂
So I quit my job and came across to the UK with my family visit visa. I stay at home, jobless, while I know I could support the house financially. I think they haven’t thought about right and all what they want is to have the right money. We are treated the same as sham marriages and we can’t do anything about it, but to wait, and that is very annoying and aggravating.
Thanks for your solidarity guys.

Mary’s story

In year 2013 I was pregnant for first time (I am a 34 year old British-Iranian ). I like many other first time mothers wanted to have my family with me at the time of birth or shortly after I invited my mom from Iran to come and be with me. As there is no UK embassy in Iran my mom had to travel to turkey to apply for visa. I booked her hotel and paid for her visa application which was about £340 as well as flights. She went there, stayed for three weeks and shockingly she was refused.

She has been to the UK 11 times has always been given two year family visas has always only stayed one or two months and has always returned to Iran. She has a house and a flat that rents and she showed £7000 in her savings account and a regular income. My dad is 74 and he was not even travelling. They said my mom is not trustworthy and might stay in the UK and access public funds. My mom has always brought money to the UK. In fact in 2006 my mom sold one her properties in Iran and brought £165000 to UK. In the 1990s she brought £70000 to the UK. Later in 2009 she sent £40000 and it has never been an issue.

When I heard my mom was refused the visa I gave birth not having any of my family with me. I became depressed after giving birth. My child is the first and only grandchild. My mom has not seen her and neither have any of my family. The story comes more dramatic when my marriage in Iran was not approved and my child counted as illegitimate according to Islamic law. I can not take my child to Iran unless my husband goes to the Iranian Islamic centre in London and convert to Islam: a religion that nor me not my husband believe in or practice. All this in order to be allowed to apply for a visa to take my child to Iran. I feel trapped in a prison  and back in Iran I felt the same I don’t know where on this planet I can go to live a simple life and feel free.

Nathan’s story

I am a 42 year old full blooded Englishman who’s grandparents played active roles during WWII in the RAF. Unfortunately my grandfathers have passed away along with one of my grandmas though my remaining 91 year old grandmother is as strong as an ox and still has the humour of a young woman!!

I was given the opportunity to work overseas at the young age of 22 and have seen, lived & worked in most countries the average UK citizen can only dream about. I have been very fortunate to see a lot of the world and also broaden my mind with all the different cultures I have been involved with.

That being said, being tired of living in rented accommodation for the past 20 years we made the decision to move back to my home country at the beginning of this year with my Thai wife of 13 years marriage and our 12 year old son who is also a British Citizen and currently studying in my former UK Secondary School we have been hit by the mighty UKBA and our governments ‘so called’ immigration policies!

Being completely naive to the current immigration situation I applied for the spouse visa on behalf of my wife in January and quite frankly made a complete mess and kissed goodbye to approximately 1000GBP application costs. Bearing in mind that directly after Xmas 2013 we enrolled our son into his current UK school thinking that we would follow soon after.

I then sought professional advice whom advised me to make a fresh application, so to avoid the risk of a 2nd rejection we applied for only a visit visa which was rejected by the UKBA Abu Dhabi within 48 hours as the case officer ‘assumed’ due to the rejection of the spouse visa that my wife would overstay and remain in the UK illegally!!! How absurd and who gives this case officer the power to call my wife an untrustworthy person?

My wife has held 2 previous visit visas, both of which were honoured as per the immigration requirements. We have never even been asked for a meeting to prove that we are a real family??

I have rented my grandmas house for the past 6 months and shall have completed the purchase in October, I have full time employment and earn an above average salary, my wife has private medical insurance and quite frankly we need nothing from the UK government only permission for my wife to remain living under my roof taking care of our son whilst I continue with my career which unfortunately means spending several weeks away from my family.

We now find my 60+ year old mother & father taking care of my son and our pet dog for the past 8 months whilst this mess is ongoing. All of our furniture has been shipped from the Middle East to the UK. Our local MP Sir Peter Tapsell after 3 separate meetings performed a U-turn via letter to our lawyer suggesting that ‘the boy should be educated in either the fathers place of work or mothers country of residence!!! Our son is an Englishman and has every right to be educated in his country, he also has every right as a human being to have his mother with him during his studies!

I am currently based in Saudi Arabia (not a nice place for a 12 year old boy) and my wife is staying alone in Thailand (also not the best place to be at the moment with the poor political situation) which leaves me only to ask the UKBA if I/we are not welcome in both my and my sons own country then could they advise as to where we can live and will they pay the travel costs for my family to visit us including my 91 year old grandma who loves to see my wife and remembers her name every time!

Whilst on this rant I note that any EU citizen is free to come to my country and also can bring along their spouse who may not be from within the EU and they need only to show a marriage certificate and a passport. No other questions, formalities or documents are required and the visa will more than likely be issued free of charge, within 10 days and cannot be refused??????

I feel I am a second-class citizen in my own country and totally disgusted by how I/we as a family are being treat.

The world is a mess at the moment with everybody killing each other yet the UKBA has split my family thus stopping us from living our normal lives together as a family in my own country!!

I see from your website that I am not alone and feel extremely content with getting my story out there.

Kind regards,


Wayne’s story

I’ve haven’t seen my wife and daughter since 2009, because of a visa issue.

After six months of constant chatting, I hopped on a plane to meet Gerlie, who is also 39, in the Philippines.

We both clicked and I, not wanting to say goodbye, decided to extend my two week trip.

In September 2007 we were married then, just months later, Gerlie found out she was pregnant.

When baby Adam, now five, was born he kept on getting sick – there was a lack of clean water and basic medication.

After two years together, we both decided it would be best for our child’s health to move to the UK. The plan: I would go first with Adam, find a house, and start my wife’s visa application

With the family together, Gerlie would then look after the children while I found another job in technical support. It seemed like the perfect plan, but quickly fell apart …

Just before I flew home in summer 2009, Gerlie found out she was pregnant again. It meant I missed the birth of Angela, who is now four.

Then came another blow … For Gerlie’s permanent visa, I had to prove I had £18,600 in the bank.

As my child’s sole carer, and with no one else to help, it was impossible for me to return to a full-time job.

Feeling desperate, I contacted my local MEP and even Downing Street. But I’ve received no help.

I’ve now spent nearly FIVE YEARS trying to be reunited with my family … And to meet my little girl for the first time.

It’s only recently, with Adam starting school, that I have been free to look for work.

I’m currently completing an ICT training course to ensure my technical skills are up-to-date. But even when finished I’ll have to work around my son’s school day. It means it will be years before I have the money to get my wife’s visa … If ever at all.

For the time being, Adam and I chat online to Gerlie and Angela every day. We’re a virtual family.

Little Adam has only ever met his sister through a computer and can barely remember the touch of his own mum. He regularly asks about Gerlie and when he can see her.

I’m stuck. I can’t get the money I need without my wife with me. But I need the money to do that.

It’s frustrating. There’s a list of countries whose citizens can just come to the UK and stay visa-free, but my wife can’t. My family is literally split in half because of it.

It looks like we’ll never be together, and it’s heartbreaking to think I may never meet my daughter. But despite everything, we’re still in a very happy relationship. Nothing can split that up.

Trying to get someone to sponsor her to come to UK I think is the only way, as I’m unable prove any savings either.

I’m just another statistic – Rene’s story

I’m also battling under the new immigration laws. I have not seen my husband and children for three months. My daughter’s are 11 and two. 
Here’s my story:
I am a South African born british citizen by decent. Things in SA are definitely rocky so my husband and I (we have been married for 12 years) decided that it’s time to get a better life; if not for us, for our girls. We heard of the financial requirement law so decided that I would come to the UK and look for work. To make matters worse my children aren’t even with their father in south Africa because he works 12 hour shifts. They are with my in-laws so my children have LOST BOTH PARENTS. So here I am in the UK three months down the line and just got a job working for KFC. What I need to do now is work seven days a week on the minimum wage of £6.31 an hour, 12 hours a day, to earn 
£25441.92 per annum. This is so I meet the £24800 financial requirement needed when you have two non-EU children. And this I have to do for six months. One is not supposed to work more than 48 hours a week, but I need to work 84!
I have seven years graphic design experience working for a newspaper and magazine publication. But in the last three months I didn’t get one interview because I have no degree or diploma. I thought Britain was better. I thought my children could flourish and one day also contribute to the UK economy because of the great education system. My 11 year old needs to start school in September how am I going to get that right . My husband has worked 12 hour shifts for 16 years of his life in South Africa. Does the immigration authority really think a man of that determination and stature is going to come sit on his bum in the UK and live off of public funds? No, I don’t thinks so. Well I gotta sleep now to start conserving energy, because from Monday my seven day a week job starts. My heart is breaking.

Martyn’s story

My name is Martyn a British Citizen working as a teacher in Cambodia. My wife is Thai and we have two sons who are also British citizens one boy is 5 and the other 1 year who is still breast fed. As we had bad news that my mother is not going to live long we decided to take the boys to the UK so my wife tried the English test, but failed. The next step we applied for a family visit visa for 6 months thinking that would give us time for my wife to learn English and then take the test again. My sister has enough income to support us. My wife has been refused on the grounds that she does not intend to return.

I am devastated of the outcome. How do I take a breast fed son who is British without his mother? Six months in the UK he will be settled but it is impossible to travel 20 hours on a plane without his mother although I will try. I don’t know what to do now. My work over here is without a contract and the immigration wants me to show I will return to Cambodia with my two children. Is this against all human right laws? I am British born and my mother and father are the oldest married couple in the UK – with three letters from HM Queen.

Four people were shot at the end of our street in Cambodia this week it is not safe here. I am 62 and can no longer work as a teacher so we have to part our family with great stress and upset.

Zara’s story

I am British and I met my Dominican husband in January 2011. I was living and working in the Dominican Republic and he had just started working at the Canadian company I was working for. We now have a 16 month old son, who was born in the Dominican Republic. We decided the UK would be the best place for us to raise our family, also I wanted to return due to my mother being very ill. Due to the minimum income threshold being set at £18,600 we were not quite sure how we would do this. We decided in May 2013 we applied for the UK 6 month family visitor visa, to enable us to return to the UK, and for me to try and find employment in the £18,600 area, which proved impossible and I have had to settle for a job earning £14,100 a year. The 6 month family visitor visa was granted and we came to the UK on 15th July 2013, and my husband returned to the Dominican Republic yesterday 7th January, we got to spend out son’s 1st birthday together as a family, to spend Christmas, New year and our 1st wedding anniversary together, which we are ever so grateful for. But now what do we do, we just have to sit and wait until March to see if the government lower the income threshold to £13,400 a year. Last night was our 1st night apart as a family, and our son woke 8 times during the night, our son never wakes during the night, all I can put it down to is that he must know something isn’t quite right. I just wish the government would think of all these families torn apart because they don’t seem to have been born with a heart. I am praying everyday that the threshold is reduced is March, if it isn’t then I am not sure what we will do, because there are no jobs where I live that pay £18,600 a year, unless I work every hour God sends, and I refuse to leave my child not seeing his mother when he already has been seperated from his father, and I also refuse to kill myself, for a selfish government.

Sheehan’s story

I am a 22 year old British citizen who is pregnant with my first child. A year ago I went to Cambodia temporarily where I met the father of my child, fell madly in love and ended up deciding to stay and live there to be with him. We are now expecting the birth of our first child and although we are both extremely happy about becoming parents the new immigration laws have gave me so much stress during the pregnancy (so much I have even had to consider if I can keep the baby or not.) Cambodia is a country where you can only make a tiny amount of money to live and the living standards are nothing compared to what I have grown up with in the UK. I now feel however unless the immigration laws are changed I have no chance of ever living in the UK again unless I am willing to break up my family and leave my partner to stay in Cambodia. I am increasingly worried about my lack of options and have come to realise if we cannot provide for our child sufficiently on a Cambodian wage (which is around £40 a month) I will have to consider leaving my family to come to the UK alone to earn money or rely on my British family for help. If it were possible for us to live in the UK neither my partner or I would rely on government hand-outs but as I have no degree or career it would be impossible to meet the £22,000 a year requirement to sponsor both my partner and child.  I am so happy to be starting my family but feel as though It is causing my exile from the UK.

Connie and Paul’s story

I’m an American who came to the UK in 2009 to broaden my horizons through a graduate art program. I earned a partial scholarship for the program, quit my soul-sucking job, and moved half-way around the world for a year. Despite being completely out of my comfort zone, transitioning into the British lifestyle clicked almost instantly, some of my fellow students ended up being close friends I’ll have for life. And despite my great reluctance, I fell in love for the first time, with a Brit. Paul was a part-time student in the same masters program; we bonded over films, American fast-food and British comedy. He was just the icing on the cake to this awesome experience I was having.

Fast-forward to the end of the program, I, along with a few cohort members, failed the last phase of the program. We weren’t given any warning or proper explanation as to why our projects weren’t “up to standard.” I fought long and hard with the administration, even opting to have the decision appealed. It was denied, simply because I hadn’t submitted a form, which was something the administration failed to tell me when I went to them for help about the procedure. I wasn’t getting my degree and more importantly, without the degree I couldn’t apply for a visa and would have to return home.

Saying goodbye to all my friends and Paul was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Upon returning home, I had troubles picking myself up again and fell into a deep depression. The arbitrary and corrupt nature of the university left me feeling pretty hopeless and then when July rolled around, the new immigration rules felt like being kicked while I was already down. Combined with the recession, both here and in the UK, coming by work was (and still is) an uphill battle. So basically, we’re stuck indefinitely until someone can find work, and in Paul’s case work that pays above the pointless bar the Coalition has set.

The constant misinformation and attacks upon immigration are entirely counter to the history and strengths of both the US and the UK. Immigration has been a fundamental building block of the countries, both socially and economically, and to see politicians and media commentators refute this in the face of the facts they are presented with is disgusting and disheartening. For us, and for so many others, these actions keep us locked apart for petty and unsubstantial reasons.

A parent’s story

Are British laws made for people with money?


Government law states that the new minimum wage is £6.31

Government law states that a working week should not be more than 48 hours.

United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) requirements for a British subject to bring their spouse into the UK are that they must be earning £18,600 a year.

Now £6.31 multiplied by 48 equals £302.88

£302.88 multiplied by 52 weeks equals £15,749.76


Therefore if someone was to earn the Government minimum wage even if they were able to work 48 hours per week for 52 weeks, they would still not be able to reach the UKBA requirements. (Note 52 weeks means no sick leave for casual workers no public holidays and no leave unless it’s paid leave)


It is the UKBA that allows students to enter the UK and although they cannot stop them from falling in love, young people seem to do this.


Such is the case for my son and his partner who are married.


A British student who leaves University in today’s economic climate finds it hard to get work so they end up being waiters or packers and therefore end up on the minimum wage and more often than not do not get to work 48 hours a week. If they are lucky they get 30 to 35 hours. Their foreign partner is not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week. So if the British subject is lucky enough to get 30 hours and the foreign partner gets 20 hours giving a total of 50 hours between them, this is still not enough. ((50×6.31) x52=£16,406)


The British student’s parents are prepared to house the couple and feed them but this is not taken into account by the UKBA.

In the case of these two students the foreign student’s parents are residing in the UK with right to remain but their support is not taken into account as well.


I would suggest that the UKBA stop all foreigners from coming into the UK as that is what they seem to want.



A very unhappy parent.