Connie and Paul’s story

I’m an American who came to the UK in 2009 to broaden my horizons through a graduate art program. I earned a partial scholarship for the program, quit my soul-sucking job, and moved half-way around the world for a year. Despite being completely out of my comfort zone, transitioning into the British lifestyle clicked almost instantly, some of my fellow students ended up being close friends I’ll have for life. And despite my great reluctance, I fell in love for the first time, with a Brit. Paul was a part-time student in the same masters program; we bonded over films, American fast-food and British comedy. He was just the icing on the cake to this awesome experience I was having.

Fast-forward to the end of the program, I, along with a few cohort members, failed the last phase of the program. We weren’t given any warning or proper explanation as to why our projects weren’t “up to standard.” I fought long and hard with the administration, even opting to have the decision appealed. It was denied, simply because I hadn’t submitted a form, which was something the administration failed to tell me when I went to them for help about the procedure. I wasn’t getting my degree and more importantly, without the degree I couldn’t apply for a visa and would have to return home.

Saying goodbye to all my friends and Paul was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Upon returning home, I had troubles picking myself up again and fell into a deep depression. The arbitrary and corrupt nature of the university left me feeling pretty hopeless and then when July rolled around, the new immigration rules felt like being kicked while I was already down. Combined with the recession, both here and in the UK, coming by work was (and still is) an uphill battle. So basically, we’re stuck indefinitely until someone can find work, and in Paul’s case work that pays above the pointless bar the Coalition has set.

The constant misinformation and attacks upon immigration are entirely counter to the history and strengths of both the US and the UK. Immigration has been a fundamental building block of the countries, both socially and economically, and to see politicians and media commentators refute this in the face of the facts they are presented with is disgusting and disheartening. For us, and for so many others, these actions keep us locked apart for petty and unsubstantial reasons.

A parent’s story

Are British laws made for people with money?


Government law states that the new minimum wage is £6.31

Government law states that a working week should not be more than 48 hours.

United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) requirements for a British subject to bring their spouse into the UK are that they must be earning £18,600 a year.

Now £6.31 multiplied by 48 equals £302.88

£302.88 multiplied by 52 weeks equals £15,749.76


Therefore if someone was to earn the Government minimum wage even if they were able to work 48 hours per week for 52 weeks, they would still not be able to reach the UKBA requirements. (Note 52 weeks means no sick leave for casual workers no public holidays and no leave unless it’s paid leave)


It is the UKBA that allows students to enter the UK and although they cannot stop them from falling in love, young people seem to do this.


Such is the case for my son and his partner who are married.


A British student who leaves University in today’s economic climate finds it hard to get work so they end up being waiters or packers and therefore end up on the minimum wage and more often than not do not get to work 48 hours a week. If they are lucky they get 30 to 35 hours. Their foreign partner is not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week. So if the British subject is lucky enough to get 30 hours and the foreign partner gets 20 hours giving a total of 50 hours between them, this is still not enough. ((50×6.31) x52=£16,406)


The British student’s parents are prepared to house the couple and feed them but this is not taken into account by the UKBA.

In the case of these two students the foreign student’s parents are residing in the UK with right to remain but their support is not taken into account as well.


I would suggest that the UKBA stop all foreigners from coming into the UK as that is what they seem to want.



A very unhappy parent.

Upcoming debate

‘A Dividing Issue: The Immigration Debate in Context’ (1.00pm, Saturday 2 November 2013, Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Site, Cambridge)

Link to tickets (free):

This panel discussion for the 2013 Festival of Ideas brings together experts from a wide range of backgrounds and positions, who will cut through the slogans and politicking to reveal a more objective picture of immigration policy in 2013. David Goodhart (Director, Demos), Habib Rahman (Chief Executive, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants), Michael Kitson (University of Cambridge), and Sarah Fine (King’s College London) will consider the immigration debate from a diverse variety of angles. Panel discussion and Q&A chaired by Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe (University of Cambridge).

More details and tickets can be found here:

Facebook event page:

For any further information on the event, please contact Ed Anderson (

A story from Syria

I am a British citizen, I was born in the UK in 1977. My family left the UK when I was eighteen months old, I grew up in Syria and qualified in cardiology. Because of the conflict I decided to come to my second home in GB, only to discover that it is not allowed for me to bring my Syrian wife, who is the mother of our three Children, two of whom are British. We got married in 2005 and I came to the UK in June 2013. After eight years of marriage now I am here in the UK, and my three British children and their Mum are in Syria.

My wife is Syrian, she  cannot apply for the visa because of the financial requirements. I am a cardiologist, qualified in Syria. I have to pass the IELTs English test and PLAB medical test to register in the general medical council and get a job later on.

I have three children:
Amin 7 years old, British Citizen
Nawal 6 years old, British Citizen
Naya 10 months old, who I could not register as British citizen because I am not in Syria.

The conflict in Syria destroyed my life and the UK government has broken my family. I feel that in any time I could lose my family. When I came here I did not know about the financial requirement, and if I knew at that time I would not have come.
I am under stress and I think daily about leaving the UK and looking for a job in the gulf area. I am not able to go back to Syria because the regime would probably arrest me. They consider any Syrian who left Syria to be with the opposition and they leave the names of travellers at the border.

How many families are in the UK depending on  benefits in their life? I feel that if I was an asylum seeker or an EU citizen in the UK, it would be better than being a UK citizen.