Lucy’s storyPosted: 31/07/2012
I’m a British Citizen and a full time U.K resident. I’m 29 years old and 6 months pregnant with my first child. My partner is Albanian but has lived most of his working life in Greece. I travel a lot as a languages student and first met him on one of my study trips abroad about 8 years ago. We were just friends to begin with and stayed in touch over the years via the net and mutual friends. We would see each other from time to time whenever I was in town for a coffee and a catch up. I spent the whole of last year on a study trip in Athens and it just so happened that our friendship blossomed.
I found out that I was pregnant in March 2012 and was pretty amazed. I knew straight away that it was the right thing for me and so did my partner, we felt very lucky to have found each other again and to have this wonderful thing happen to us. I read Teresa May’s proposals a couple of months later.
As it was, my partner and I were planning to wait a year before attempting to settle down properly and felt that we should probably stick to that even though the baby was coming. We were going to wait until after I graduate next year and then have him come and join me in the U.K to do the childcare while I completed my teacher training. We were hoping to visit each other in the meantime, him come here for the birth and Christmas and me spend next summer with his family on their farm in Albania. We felt very happy and privileged, even though neither of us have very much money.
Under the new rules all that has changed. My partner will not be able to join me until I am earning £18,600, which could be up two years away for me. He will not be able to support me and be there for our child as I qualify. A scary prospect for me and a sad one when I think of how his and our baby’s relationship will be affected. We talked about extending the length of time that we spend visiting each other; 6 months here and 6 months there for the next 2 years but of course that will cost money and as a single parent and a student I don’t know how I’m going to be able to earn the sort of money that we will need and I won’t be able to spend long periods outside of the country whilst training to become a teacher.
At the moment we are concentrating on getting him here on a visitor’s visa for the birth so that he can meet his child and be there for me during labour but this is starting to look unlikely too. Apparently, now that the law has changed the Entry Clearance Officer will be very suspicious of applicants who appear likely to overstay. For us this is absurd. Why would either of us want to make such an undesirable choice for ourselves and our baby? We are young and have our whole lives ahead of us. If he overstayed we would ruin every opportunity for ourselves to be together in the future. We would never dream of making such a ridiculous choice but it seems that that doesn’t matter, if the ECO feels that he is ‘high risk’ they will refuse the visa. And he will be seen as high risk, because he is Albanian and will be travelling from Greece. Socio-economically, my partner is undesirable. As we are not married nor qualify as Unmarried Partners due to the short length of our relationship we won’t be entitled to appeal any refusal.
We feel trapped by our circumstances. I feel like I’m a prisoner in my own country! I can’t leave, I have a degree to complete, the only chance at my being able to earn the money we would need to qualify to be together. But what will it be like for us, our baby not knowing his father. I feel so guilty that my country is doing this to them, to my partner and my son. Our family has literally been ripped apart before we’ve even had a chance to get started. Together we would be a strong, functioning, happy unit but like this we are in tatters. It’s pure destruction. I really hope we can change this soon for all of our families.