Emily’s story

My name is Emily and I am 22 years old. I graduated last year with top marks, I found a full-time job fairly soon and all the while have been supported by my wonderful boyfriend of 2 years.

My life now feels like I’m stuck in a nightmare. This is our story.

As I am half British, half Italian, I grew up in Italy, visiting the UK regularly as I have family here. In the summer of 2010 I got a job at my local Burger King here. It was there that I met and fell in love with Pukar, a Nepalese student from Kathmandu.

We got on right away, and when I moved back to Italy to continue my studies (I was currently completing my bachelor’s degree in Milan) we continued our relationship through social media like Facebook. I returned regularly to the UK to visit him, and he came to spend Christmas with me and my family in Italy in 2011.

It never bothered me that he was from Nepal and in an admittedly weaker position than myself, due to his visa status and ineligibility to have a full-time, higher-paid position. I loved him and he loved me, and we both stayed strong during those times when we were separated. We told ourselves that soon we would be together, and finally in September I moved to the UK to be with him. These months have been bliss, to be finally close and in the same country and to be able to have a “normal” relationship.

We made plans, we dreamt of our future, travelling, going out, living together, marrying, having children.

Two days ago, our application to extend his visa as unmarried partners was refused on the grounds of us not having lived together for at least 2 years. We knew this and we intend to move in together soon; we explained this to the UKBA but there seems to be no compassion or human understanding in their decision-making.

If he has to now leave the country because of his student’s visa expiring, what will happen to us? What will I do in this country without him, my reason for being here? How will we ever be together?

I am at my wit’s end. I am 22 and he is 24. This should be the time of our lives, not a horror movie. Our only crime is having fallen in love when he is not a British or EU national.

This is my mother’s country, but I had never realised how cruel a country it could be. What country is this, where two people in a genuine and loving relationship cannot be together because of the nationality of one of the couple? What place is this where people’s lives are ruined and destroyed over their choice of partner? I have read so many stories similar to our own, all equally sad and terrifying.

Why is this allowed here? What about the right to love whoever you wish to love?