Toni’s storyPosted: 17/08/2012
I am a Canadian woman married to a British national. I am sure our situation is similar to many out there but of course when it affects you directly it seems more urgent. The situation for my husband and myself is very hard for us as we have been in a relationship for so long, but apart for a long time now. We met in 2004 and were married there in the UK in 2005. Myself and my two children from a previous relationship came to the UK in January 2005 on a fiancé visa and went back to Canada in 2006 so I could go to university.
The decision for us to come back to Canada was a hard one from the beginning but as my husband and I are both on a lower income we felt it would be the best decision for our family in the long term. We thought it would be a period of three to four years at most. Finally after two years he had managed to get all the required documents to get his Canadian visa and he came over. After a year away from his family and especially his kids from a previous relationship he was having a very hard time. Again we decided as a married couple that the best thing for our family was to be in the UK, he is very close with his parents and they are getting older and rely on him for help. My husband arrived back in the UK in August 2010 and it took him until this past spring to find work but over the past year and a half I have been sending any extra money to him as he has been slowly buying the household items we need to set up our home there in the UK. We were finally ready to fill in the marriage visa application on July 10, 2012 and when I opened the Home Office’s web site immediately broke down into tears as I didn’t know how we could proceed.
I come from a very broken family and have been on my own away from my parents since 1987 at the age of fifteen. I then got myself into a very abusive relationship for over thirteen years. The only good part of my life had been the two children I have from that abusive relationship, the love I received from my children is the only love I have ever had in my life….. until I met my husband. Craig is not just my husband, he is my best friend, he is my true life partner and he is really and truly the only family I have ever had in my life. Because of my husband I now have a wonderful future filled with friendship and love to look forward to. My husband is all I have in this world and the decisions we made as a couple we thought would benefit us in the long run. I am so completely devastated about these new immigration rules. My life right now seems hopeless and I just do not understand how the government is allowed to keep our family ripped apart.
I completely understand and agree that the government has to control immigration, stop fake marriages/relationship, stop radicals and criminals but how can they keep honest and real families ripped apart? I make the equivalent of £40,000 annually here in Canada but the cost of living is so high that I have only been able to save up enough money for our visa fees, airplane tickets and the money sent to my husband. When I come to the UK I can get a job working in the insurance industry making £18,000 – £24,000. I will be a productive member of society… paying tax and contributing to the economy. I have never been on public funding, my husband has received some help over the years but not when he was previously supporting us in 2005 – 2006 nor would he when we are with him again.
We may not have money in savings and my husband may earn under the current threshold but if a married couple decides that they will sacrifice and cope until both of the partners are working, if that married couple decide that they can live off of the income that one partner makes that should be their decision, not the government’s. And if a person in the UK on a visa with “no recourse to public funds” stamped across their passport/visa cannot access public funding how does that make a difference to the government? Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights states that the government cannot interfere with a person’s right to have family but these rules do just that. How is this possible? I have also read that these new immigration rules have already been found unlawful. How can they still be in force in a country that practices democracy? I am so confused and so heartbroken.
Our original plan was to send in our visa applications by mid-July, be on an airplane by mid-August so my children could start the new school year in their new school in the UK. When we came to the UK in 2005 on a fiancé visa we got our visa’s in 3 weeks and were on a plane the forth week, my husband was making less money in 2005 than he is now and we managed just fine with no public funding. Our relationship at that time was only seven months old but we got our visa….. now eight years later and we are being kept apart after we thought we were doing the right thing for our children. By going to university I would have better opportunity to get a good job in the UK, which only means more taxes collected than if I stayed and was making minimum wages.
These changes in rules affect so many people in so many ways. My children were told that they could start school in the UK this autumn; they were excited for our family to finally be together. As children they do not understand the reason why they can’t see their stepdad – they do not know their own father and think of Craig as the only family they have besides me. They do not understand that we just don’t make enough money to be together as a family. Even though I tried to teach my children the importance of doing the right thing, the importance of family and the importance of not judging people by what they own or how much money they have……I cannot explain it to them in a way that makes sense – because these immigration rules don’t make any sense.