Susan’s storyPosted: 05/01/2012
Dear Family Immigration Alliance,
Thankyou for the email address to tell you my story. It’s good to know there are others out there who understand the frustration encountered by UK immigration rules.
My story begins in August 2009,when I first started using social networking to keep up to date with friends and family and make new friendships around the world.
I wasn’t looking for love–I had long since given up on dating–and never expected to find it. But one man stood out from everyone else. He was a Nigerian and much younger than myself.
For those 2 reasons, I kept quiet about him to my family and friends. But never had I been treated with such love and respect. This sounds very ”Mills and Boon” I know, but indeed we were in love.
Never a day did we miss to chat–usually online due to phone costs–or by text.
To cut a long story short, I travelled over to see him last summer, by which time I knew most of his life story and about the good and bad points of Nigeria. Not once did i feel unsafe. On the contrary, I felt safe and cared for, as well as respected and loved. More so than in my own country.
We married out there on June 30th. When I eventually told people, they were horrified. I said Nigeria has a bad name, yes, but not to tarnish everyone with the same brush. Just like not ALL teenagers are bad, or elderly people, or any other general group of people.
My husband is a student, who obviously for that reason has little money of his own. Despite that, he paid for everything while I was out there, even when I insisted on paying my way.
After he finishes uni, he has to serve a year in the Nigerian army.
After I came back home, I had my eldest son’s wedding to prepare for in November. My husband has spoken to each of my children on the phone while I was in Nigeria with him, and has my elder son as a facebook friend. My son invited my husband to the wedding. After all, they are now stepfather/stepson. My husband was overjoyed, so I wrote him a letter of invitation which I sent to him with all the relevant documents required.
The plan was to stay on through Christmas and into the New Year.
That was the beginning of our problems. It all went wrong, thanks to UKBA.
They refused him on 2 very petty reasons. One was that his funds mainly comprised of sponsorship money from one of his family members. I checked this out, and nowhere on the UKBA site does it say where aforeign visitor’s money should come from or that the person cannot be a student. Only that the person has enough money to support themselves. WHICH HE HAS!
Reason number 2 was that he has no children back home in Nigeria. What the hell is that all about?? Again I checked this out, to find it’s another rubbish made-up policy.
My husband has had to borrow money to go to a lawyer, having spent all he had on the visa (no refunds on a refusal of course) and paying someone to prepare all the documents. It’s not a simple online/courier service like here in the UK unfortunately. He then had to pay out again to travel to Lagos to deliver the documents. All he has left is the sponsor money, which he cannot use because he needs to hold on to that in the event of visiting here. So now he is broke. Thanks to UKBA and their ridiculous rules.
They know full well he has to go back home. He has university to finish and army service to complete. He did not ask for settlement here; just a visit so he could meet my family, like I have his.
On 20th February, I somehow have to find money to get to Feltham near London to attend the appeal hearing, which they have told me could last all day. I am currently unemployed,and also registered disabled. I cannot ask for help with travel costs because I cannot register my marriage here or change my surname without the marriage certificate–which of course I had to leave with my husband in Nigeria so he could apply for his visa, as it was one of the required documents. The intention was to bring it with him when he came over and deal with all the legal stuff together.
Thankfully, at the moment, I receive over the minimum funds required to sponsor a visitor. But I know the government want to change this soon. That then means there is no hope of me ever seeing my husband again, because I am a lone parent unable to earn such fantastic sums of money while paying out for childcare too. I really think UK do not want us to marry anyone outside their precious EU – and this is against what the Human Rights Act says. They have broken many of the rights in my case.
I dread the tribunal. The expense, the time spent travelling and any time there (I have an 11 year old daughter still at home to consider), the humiliation and anger I am bound to feel, besides which, had they done their job properly, there would have been no need for all this stress. Truly it has made me so ill. And I know my husband feels the same way.
That is my story. It’s sad I cannot even use my legal married name here, though I do use it on daily unofficial correspondence.
I wish you success in your own battle with the bureaucrats, and indeed anyone else in the same boat as us. Here’s to a successful blog site; it feels good to have a gripe.
Susan should-be Fakorede