Lucie’s story

I am a British woman, and have been living in Thailand for about 17
years. 14 years ago, I met my husband, Atsadang, who is Thai. A few
years later we married, and we have 2 children, a son aged 9 and a
daughter aged almost 6.

I have worked for the last 10 years as a primary school ESL teacher.
But, due to new rules saying that all foreign teachers must have a
degree in order to get a work permit, as of next year I won’t any
longer be able to work at the only job that foreigners are allowed to
do here.

Added to this is the fact that I don’t have a lot of faith in the Thai
education system, and don’t want my children to go through it. And
then there’s the simple fact that I have had enough of living here. I
want to go home.

I am earning the equivalent of 8,500 pounds a year, and we live very
well on that, as the cost of living in Thailand is low. I can even
save some for our airfares back to the UK. Where I live, jobs simply
don’t exist that pay 18,600 – or even 13,000. And then there’s the
fact that I would also have to have a job offer in the UK before
arriving. Jobs like that aren’t doled out over Skype, you know.

So I am faced with the strong possibility of having to take my
children back to the UK, and leave my husband here on his own, until
such time as I can get a well-paid job and present 6 months of
payslips. How do you think that makes my children feel? And my
husband, who will be alone for months (or years) on end.

I am in a similar position to many other people – my parents own a
large enough house, and are happy to let us stay for as long as we
need to. I also am quite happy to forego any rights to unemployment
benefits when I arrive. I would rather live with my parents, and
survive on 2 low wages, than tear apart my very close family and claim
benefits while chasing after a well-paid job.

PLEASE, keep the rules that check if it’s a genuine relationship, but
remove the financial requirement. People in many parts of the world
simply cannot make that kind of money.

Lucie

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A wife’s story

I am a wife. I love my husband. I am American. He is British. The UK government thinks my husband needs to earn £18,600 so I don’t sponge off the welfare state, while the average UK worker earns about £13,000. They do not care how much I earn. They do not care that I have health insurance and doctors here in the US. They do not care that I own my own business and work as a freelancer, so my presence in the UK takes zero jobs away from UK citizens, it only allows me to spend money on their economy and contribute to their society through my taxes and just generally being a good person. They do not care that I have a Masters degree from one of the finest universities in the UK. They do not care that I have friends and a life and a home in the UK. They do not care about me. They do not care that I applied honestly and truthfully and with good intent. They care about the £660 pounds we don’t have to make that threshold. My family’s happiness is for sale and it costs £660. I did not factor into this decision at all, nor did my character, or my relationship with my husband. A number did. And that number has told the UKBA that I am undesirable. I am smart, I am kind, I am educated, I love, I work, I adore my husband and miss him and our home. But that doesn’t matter now. Because I am an undesirable. And I am devastated. The right to have a family life has been denied me. I am unworthy even of that. Because of a number. I am not a number. I am a wife who loves her husband. And I am angry.

Halima and Eric’s story

I am the non-EU wife of a British resident. My name is Halima and I am Kenyan living in Nairobi. My family is separated by the UK Immigration rules on spouse visas.

My husband Eric has lived in the UK for 25 years. He got ILR in 1989 . Basically he’s like any Londoner. When I met Eric, he was on a holiday in Kenya and we hit it off immediately. Six weeks later he made another trip to come and see me and we have been inseparable since then.

We have been a couple for 5 years though technically we have been married for two. To us we have beeJPEG Image (6068687)n married for five. We have two amazing kids together, 3 year old daughter and one year old son. Our son has never met his father. Both of our kids were both born in Nairobi.

In the five years we have been together Eric has made numerous visits some as close to each other as two or three months. Until eventually in 2011, he quit his job, left the UK and came to stay with us here.

He was with us for a year and during that year he tried to get a job, even tried his hand in business just to be closer to his family. Though he couldn’t find a job of his worth, he did not want to go back.

But as fate would have it, I got pregnant with our second baby, we started talking about the job and opportunities he left back in the UK. You see, Eric is a high end Chef, and has even once served food to former PM Tony Blair.

Anyway, the point is, he had a great career that he gave up for his family. So with the second baby coming, it made much more sense (financial-security-wise) to go back and pick up where he left. The plan was to have him settle, get a job and have us join him there. I was four months pregnant with our boy.

Two months later (February 2012) he started a job as a Head-Chef in one of London’s schools. We had to wait for him to work at least a year before we could apply; since there was no previous employment record for the year he was here. Our baby was born on 28 April 2012. He couldn’t make. He was new in the job.

On 02 April 2013, we applied for spouse visa. We were denied less than 48 hours after we submitted our application because we were £800 short. Since we were applying with two kids we were supposed to meet a minimum income threshold of £24,800. When we applied, on top of his basic wage of £23,124, he had earned up to £24,000 for the tax year 2012 in overtime and bonuses.

On top of the things telling us we can’t be together; e.g. my family has never approved of him because my family is Muslim, we are being told we can’t really be together because of £800.

My husband is on the verge of depression and if anything happens to him right now I can’t even get over there for a visit since I have already shown interest in settling there.

I have made a you-tube video sharing our story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KrMqtuvcck

sincerely,

Halima.