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




19 Comments on “Halima and Eric’s story”

  1. david says:

    If your husband has had ILR since 1989 why does he not apply for a UK passport? Your children would then also be able to apply for a uk passport and as such would be exempt from any additional financial requirement. He would then earn over the £18600 required to just sponsor yourself

    • Halima says:

      He is applying for the British passport end of this month. However from what I have read from UKBA and what we have been told by solicitor, our kids do not qualify to apply for British Passport. They say, the child has to have one or both Grandparents as British. My husband himself is half Kenyan, half Austrian. I don’t how that can work for us but we are doing some research.

  2. david says:

    Taken directly from the UK border agency website


    Whether or not you are a British citizen depends on the type of citizenship your parents had. This may be British citizenship by descent or otherwise than by descent (In the case of your husband it is otherwise than by descent).

    British citizenship may descend to one generation born abroad. So if you were born outside the United Kingdom or qualifying territory and one of your parents was a British citizen otherwise than by descent, you are a British citizen by descent. If you were born before 1 July 2006 you may not qualify if your parents were not married at the time of your birth.

    As you can see from the above quote there is no requirement for Grandparents to be British citizens.

    You may be better off going to an immigration advisor rather than a solicitor as it is there knowledge area, but ensure that they have a UK office and are OISC level 3 registered or they could not represent you in an appeal. I would also shy away from no visa no fee services as they tend to not have the best reputation.

    • Halima says:

      Thank you David this is definitely an eye opener.

      • david says:

        i just realised I misred your reply. if he is Austrian you could also apply for a eea family permit, since Austria is part of Europe, and that has no specific income requirement

      • Halima says:

        The only problem in that one is how to prove Eric is Austrian by ancestry. Eric’s father(Austrian) has never been in his life and my husband has never tried to trace him. Do you think the thing they do with DNA trace would be sufficient to prove that ancestry?

      • david says:

        sorry i am not sure I would think that would be difficult your best bet would be to ask the Austrian embassy.

        I also think you probably could get a tourist visa it would just be necessary to be very clear over reasons to return. If you own any property that would help but I would think you could successfully say you will qualify for a spouse visa once your husband has UK citizenship but you want to experience living in the UK before you decide to settle, which is expensive £1,000+. That was the approach I originally took with my wifes family visit visa which was successful.

      • david says:

        I just realised that could have been clearer the reason to return is that you would not want to jeapordise your future application

      • Halima says:

        @Lily Eaton,thank you for the advice. I also though the info on the UKBA website for the above information may apply to only if my husband had ALREADY been naturalized by the time of our children’s birth. However if the sentiments David mentioned above i.e “he was ENTITLED to citizenship at the time of their birth but had not exercised his right to it”, may give us a case to argue, we would still like to know.
        @David, the Surinder Singh route is something we are seriously considering though it will take us some time to get everything organized. Thank you both, I appreciate the support.

    • Halima says:

      Well I really don’t they would even consider giving me a visit visa after being denied spouse visa already. We are exploring all options and the Austrian ancestry thing seems to be such a long shot. However my husband will be contacting an immigration specialist to see how we can go about applying for the kids’ British citizenship. The UKBA does have some confusing information and before you posted that link, I had no idea of the info. Again since they keep interpreting their own rules the way it suits them (or depending on the mood of the HS), we really don’t know what will work out. One thing is for sure though we are not letting them split our family for long. Thanks for all the great advice.

      • Lilly Eaton says:

        I am a Level 3 immigration advisor and I can advise the following.

        As your children were born outside the UK then the fact that the father held ILR makes no difference. The children cannot be British. British citizenship can only be inherited from the father by a child born outside the UK if he was a British citizen born or naturalised in the UK at the time of the baby’s birth.

        Halima you are quite right,it is highly unlikely that a visitors visa will be granted.

      • david says:

        I am not convinced by that he was entitled to citizenship at the time of their birth but had not exercised his right to it. Do you have a link for the legislation or to the border agency policy?

        Also having been refused a visa settlement or otherwise would not preclude you from obtaining a visit visa, unless you were guilty of deception. So long as she can prove reasons to return, i.e. want a settlement visa so long as enjoy staying in the UK and would not want to jeapordise the settlement visa.

        The alternative available to them is the surrinder Singh route after he receives his uk passport, go and work in any EU country for 3 months, apply for a visa for his wife and then apply for an EU family permit so they can move to the UK.

  3. Halima says:

    @Lily Eaton,thank you for the advice. I also though the info on the UKBA website for the above information may apply to only if my husband had ALREADY been naturalized by the time of our children’s birth. However if the sentiments David mentioned above i.e “he was ENTITLED to citizenship at the time of their birth but had not exercised his right to it”, may give us a case to argue, we would still like to know.
    @David, the Surinder Singh route is something we are seriously considering though it will take us some time to get everything organized. Thank you both, I appreciate the support.

  4. Halima says:

    @ Lilly Eaton, what is your organization’s name and are you regulated by the OISC?

    • Lilly Eaton says:

      Halima, I am a level 3 immigration advisor registered with the OISC since its inception in 2001. I have been providing immigration advice and support for twenty years.. My company is Aston Law Practice http://astonlawpractice.com/ Please feel free to contact me and I promise to respond.

      David is right, technically Halima should not be refused a visit visa because her spouse visa was refused. However any visit visa application will be presumed as trying to circumvent the immigration rules and is highly likely to be refused.

      I presume Halima that you did not appeal the decision, in light of recent events if you still have time please appeal.

      By the way David are you a lawyer ? As I agree with much of what you write

  5. Halima says:

    Lilly, thank you yes we will be contacting you once I relay the message to my husband. And no we no longer have time for appeal. The spouse visa was refused in April 2013, so am afraid the 28 days deadline is long past. We did not appeal because a lawyer my husband spoke to told us that it did not matter how little an amount we fell short of, as long as it was below the minimum threshold then the immigration judge would still agree with the UKBA decision.

    • Lilly Eaton says:

      In my opinion Halima the lawyer was not helpful too you. I would have appealed on the basis of Article 8 etc, besides appeals are so slow to come to a hearing that it could be nearly a year before yours was heard. My company are receiving hearing dates for April 2014. By that date the rules could be changed, in light of the new case law and the UKBA appealing the decision.

      I also discussed your children’s British citizenship problem with a barrister and we both agree
      that your children are not eligble for British citizenship due ti the fact they were born outside of the UK to a father with ILR.

  6. Shelly Begum says:

    Dear Lilly Eaton,

    Could I please ask for your advice? I would be extremely greatful as I am falling into depression because I can’t find a stable job earning over £18600 in order to even apply for my husband to come to come and live in the UK.

    Basically I am a British Citizen and my husband is bangladeshi who has been living and working in Italy for 10 years. He can now apply for a Italian Passport but that will take another 5 years and living without him is making me severly depressed knowing that he is alone even after marriage, the fact that I can’t be there to support him and his working hard to pay his own bills and looking after himself. He has visited the UK 3 times this year before we got married.

    I have been endlessly looking for any types of jobs in London where I live but just have not got any responses even with a degree in law I can’t find a permanent job.

    After a whole day of research I have found out about the Surinder Singh approach which seems like a possibilty and a ray of hope to finally be united with my husband. I wanted to know if people have succeded in this route and how I go about obtaining documents if I were to live and study or work in Italy for 3 months. Also where do I go to apply for a EU family permit once I have done the free movement and how long does it take before a decision is made whether he my husband can live and work freely in the UK with me.

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