James’ story

My US citizen wife and I married in October 2009 and after applying for a spouse visa, she entered the UK in December of 2009. She lived and worked here until March 2012. Her spouse visa was up for renewal and she was needed to go back to the US to help care for her mother who had kidney failure. We chose not to apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain as we assumed we’d have no concerns with obtaining another spouse visa when she was ready to return. As her mother’s condition improved, we sought immigration legal advice in order to extend her expired spouse visa or apply for a new one. Little did we know the new changes would force us to endure such sadness and hardship in order to live together as a family. As we don’t qualify for the spouse visa at this time due to the financial requirements, my wife is attempting the work visa route. My wife has had several job offers but unfortunately all are from independent opticians or high street opticians that are not on the work visa scheme with the government.

While previously in the UK, she earned an income of £40,000+ and paid a substantial about of tax and national insurance. She provided a vital service of optometric eye care to the areas of Berkshire and Hampshire counties. During her time here, my self-employed income profits before tax were below or just at what is now considered the minimum threshold of £18,600, most notably over the last year as I was travelling to America to see my wife and her poorly mother. Never once during that period were we trying to access public funds in any such way. And yes, we could live in America away from my young children. But my wife and I, despite the hardships of this new immigration struggle, wish to have her return to this wonderful country that became her new home and is home to the ones she loves.

Jade’s story

I am a British Citizen and live in the UK with my 16 month old son, my husband has missed out on over half of our son’s life. We are married and have been together for over 5 years. After a visit visa to the UK we applied for a settlement spouse visa; this whole process took 6 months and I even appealed in court. I was told my rights to a family life were not being interfered with as I could take my son and go live with him abroad.

Is that the answer for all British Citizens with foreign partners? It must look good for statistics and bring down the number of foreigners entering the UK if we (the partners) all just left! I am not giving up a fight. This is our life, but just an application in a pile at an office. I will continue to support migrants rights as my family is affected. One rule for the rich and another for the rest of us.

The figure: £18,600 …. Is that the price to put on a family life?