S & J’s story

Like a lot of people my husband and I have been affected by the new financial rules for spouse visas. I met my husband in Australia (I was working, he was studying) in 2008 – I am British he is Brazilian. In 2009 we got married and moved to the UK – I wanted to be closer to my family. He was granted his indefinite leave to remain visa and from 2009 until 2011 we lived in the UK. My husband had been apart from his family for over 4 years and was missing them terribly so we decided to move to Brazil and therefore did not proceed with the second part of his residency visa because (a) we were not intending to return and (b) we thought if we did we’d be able to apply for the same visa as they had granted it once and we were now even further into our committed relationship so we never dreamed it would be refused.

Unfortunately, our time in Brazil was not as we had hoped. It was impossible for me to get work. I teach English as a foreign language but the schools I applied to work for wanted American English only (slightly confusing but if I only speak British English what can I do!). My husband was also struggling with living back in Brazil. After 8 months we made the decision to return to the UK. I was very lucky and managed to find work immediately. My husband was in the middle of helping his father modernize his shop so we agreed I would go to the UK so I could start work and he would follow. With the Olympics in June/July 2012 we knew flights would be expensive so we were looking to apply for his visa after the Olympics for him to join me September.

I returned to the UK middle of May 2012.

When it came to apply for my husband’s visa I was shocked at the new rule. To be honest we didn’t know what to do. I did not meet the financial requirements of earning £18,600 the previous 12 months because for 8 months of that I was living in Brazil and not working. We decided we would apply anyway and explain our exceptional circumstances and provide financial evidence dating back even further to show the money I DO earn when I am working. Also, in the meantime I was offered a permanent job with a salary of £35,000 which I started in November 2012. My contract for this job was enclosed. I would have thought current earnings would mean more than past earnings.

The application was refused as we did not meet the requirements. So now we have to choices (1) wait until November when I can then show payslips and bank statement showing the money I am earning or (2) appeal. Both options mean we are to be apart for a significant period of time. I have not seen my husband for 9 months and luckily I have magnificent parents who are letting me live with them. However, neither of us was expecting it to be as long as this. My job is working from home so I am waiting for my husband to return to the UK so we can visit some towns before deciding where we will set up home. My husband even has inheritance which we can use as a deposit for our first home! We want to bring money into this country and yet we are being told no!

I find it ridiculous – as I know you all do – that I am a British citizen asking for my husband to join me in the UK. I am working, with a decent salary and pay my taxes. He is not entitled to benefits anyway and during the two years he lived here before he was always working and also paying taxes and National Insurance. EU nationals can enter our country with their families no questions asked. I appreciate the government need to be strict with immigration laws but they are targeting the wrong people. As a British citizen my family – my husband – should have more writes than EU citizens. We were going to start a family this year as I will be 35 in November and am worried about my eggs, but this will now have to go on hold. They are playing with our lives and it is an overtly stressful situation for people affected.

Surely if we (Britain) are pro-family then the visa should be decided on the legitimacy of the relationship and not how much money they have/have not earned. And if they financial requirements are not met surely reasons why they have not been met need to be taken into consideration rather than a refusal given. Looking at individual cases and their reasons would create a much fairer system.

I am just so lucky to have such a connection with my husband, despite our distance. I won’t lie, it is incredibly hard and many tears have been shed at my loneliness but I know we will get through this and it will make us stronger. My heart goes out to everybody affected and we must all believe that justice will prevail!!

Good luck x


Phoebe’s story

I met my husband four and a half years ago, after a 2 year long distance relationship we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and were fed up seeing so little of each other. We got married in October 2010 and I moved out to Turkey to live with him March 2011, his work was only seasonal and we would have struggled during the winter months. As such we decided to move back to the Uk, which would allow us both to work and to live closer to my family who I’d missed alot, to prevent us eating into to our savings I moved back in with my parents in the UK November 2011 while we sorted out all the paperwork and my husband took English lessons to enable him to pass the English requirement test. The first few months were hard but bearable, we thought it would only be for a year, two at most before we would be able to continue our lives together in the UK, it was this belief that allowed us to come with the separation by making plans for the future. Unfortunately the new regulations were brought in before we were able to submit our application, I work full time but make significantly less than the £18600 and have no where near the amount of savings required to meet the requirements. Suddenly all our future plans seem impossible and we had no idea what our options were. The support we can offer each other while we are coping with this is limited because we are living in different continents! I was made to feel like I was being forced out of my own country and you’re only entitled to your human rights if you earn enough. At the same time the government claims to be family friendly, pro marriage, pro human rights yet they are forcing families apart, why isn’t the media highlighting these double standards? After over a year living apart we have had enough and I am now preparing to move back to Turkey to live with my husband, where our marriage is valued and I can get a residency permit. I have been shocked at how little media attention and support this issue has been given, I only wish I had discovered this site earlier as it is very easy to feel you are fighting this alone and not being heard, it is uplifting to see some positive steps are being made and I hope the regulations are changed to be more fair and value everyone’s human rights!