Martyn’s story

My name is Martyn a British Citizen working as a teacher in Cambodia. My wife is Thai and we have two sons who are also British citizens one boy is 5 and the other 1 year who is still breast fed. As we had bad news that my mother is not going to live long we decided to take the boys to the UK so my wife tried the English test, but failed. The next step we applied for a family visit visa for 6 months thinking that would give us time for my wife to learn English and then take the test again. My sister has enough income to support us. My wife has been refused on the grounds that she does not intend to return.

I am devastated of the outcome. How do I take a breast fed son who is British without his mother? Six months in the UK he will be settled but it is impossible to travel 20 hours on a plane without his mother although I will try. I don’t know what to do now. My work over here is without a contract and the immigration wants me to show I will return to Cambodia with my two children. Is this against all human right laws? I am British born and my mother and father are the oldest married couple in the UK – with three letters from HM Queen.

Four people were shot at the end of our street in Cambodia this week it is not safe here. I am 62 and can no longer work as a teacher so we have to part our family with great stress and upset.

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.


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:



Ben’s Story

20130810 Ben Goodier

Ben and his family

My name is Ben Goodier, and my two children and I are British citizens. I was born in Prestatyn, North Wales in 1973. However, my wife is Indonesian and this has led to my current predicament. My wife’s application for a settlement visa has been put on hold as we don’t meet the current income requirement threshold. Even though I, her sponsor, have forty thousand pounds in savings and have stated my intention to secure employment upon my return to the UK.

I have spent the last eight and half years teaching English in Indonesia and promoting the virtues of Britain and British society, including its laws, customs, diversity and sense of decency and fair play. Now upon deciding to return to my homeland to spend more time with my parents and for my children to learn and experience more about the UK I am faced with an unenviable decision. As my working visa for Indonesia will end in a few weeks I must return to the UK. My eldest child, a daughter aged six, will have to return to the UK with me as she is already enrolled in a local primary school in the town of my birth.  My wife, whose visa application is on hold due to the legal case and appeal currently in the High Court will not be able to join us. Our youngest child, a son aged two, will stay with his mother. Therefore not only will husband and wife be separated also brother and sister.

If my wife’s application is refused solely because we do not meet the income threshold requirement, do I decide to return the UK permanently with my daughter but without my wife and youngest son, therefore splitting up a happy and loving family. Or do I decide to return if it’s possible to Indonesia never to be able to live in the country of my birth again and therefore be denied the right to spend time with and help my parents as they grow older. Both of these decisions are abhorrent to me, and I wonder why I am forced to choose between my country and parents and my wife and children. Is it such a crime to fall in love with someone from another country?

I started part-time work at the age of 13 and since I started full time employment in 1995 I have never received or requested any help from the state in regards to unemployment or housing benefit. I have always paid my own way without recourse to public funds. I left the UK in 2005 to teach in Indonesia, a country I knew very little about and didn’t know the language. In the last eight years, I have risen from Teacher to Head Teacher and then to Director of Studies in a busy and successful private language school. I fell in love and married and we were blessed with two lovely children. During this time I have supported my wife and children without any government help. However, I must say that throughout my stay in Indonesia, the British consulate in Jakarta have been extremely helpful especially when I had to register my children’s births.

I do not intend to ever ask for unemployment or housing benefit upon my return to the UK as this goes against the ethos I was brought up with as a child, that one must work hard and pay one’s own way in life. I would be willing to sign any document that the UK Border Agency would like to produce waiving my right to unemployment or housing benefit, if this would placate their worries and enable my wife and youngest child to join me and my daughter in the UK.

I fully understand that there are rules that must be abided by, but surely common sense would dictate that after looking at my personal history that I am not the sort of person who plans to sponge off the state. Surely, someone who can make a successful life in a foreign country where he had to learn the customs and language from scratch, would be able to replicate that in his home country where he is familiar with all and has support from family.  My parents live in a property that is paid for and are willing for my family and I to stay as long as is necessary.

I hope that common sense and decency will prevail and that my family will not be split up and that we will be allowed the right to enjoy a family life like any other UK family. Surely, that is the least to ask for and be granted.

James’ story

My US citizen wife and I married in October 2009 and after applying for a spouse visa, she entered the UK in December of 2009. She lived and worked here until March 2012. Her spouse visa was up for renewal and she was needed to go back to the US to help care for her mother who had kidney failure. We chose not to apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain as we assumed we’d have no concerns with obtaining another spouse visa when she was ready to return. As her mother’s condition improved, we sought immigration legal advice in order to extend her expired spouse visa or apply for a new one. Little did we know the new changes would force us to endure such sadness and hardship in order to live together as a family. As we don’t qualify for the spouse visa at this time due to the financial requirements, my wife is attempting the work visa route. My wife has had several job offers but unfortunately all are from independent opticians or high street opticians that are not on the work visa scheme with the government.

While previously in the UK, she earned an income of £40,000+ and paid a substantial about of tax and national insurance. She provided a vital service of optometric eye care to the areas of Berkshire and Hampshire counties. During her time here, my self-employed income profits before tax were below or just at what is now considered the minimum threshold of £18,600, most notably over the last year as I was travelling to America to see my wife and her poorly mother. Never once during that period were we trying to access public funds in any such way. And yes, we could live in America away from my young children. But my wife and I, despite the hardships of this new immigration struggle, wish to have her return to this wonderful country that became her new home and is home to the ones she loves.

Kelly’s story

Hi, my name is Kelly Walker, im a 27 year old British women and am married to a man called Mohamed (26) from Egypt. We met in December 2009 while I was on holiday in Egypt. After meeting Mohamed I spent almost a year traveling to Egypt for 2-3 weeks at a time to see him, and to meet his family. We got married in October 2010 and have just celebrated our 2 year anniversary, but sadly we was unable to be together this year to celebrate. After we got married I returned to England to tie things up at home to be able to move to Egypt to be with my husband. As I was self employed this took a little time and was unable to move to Egypt until October 2011. We lived together at his families home in the village that he grew up in, although I had visited on a number of occasions I don’t think I was really prepared for what life would be like to live there. It was a huge culture shock but tried my best to make it a home, but that wasn’t as easy as I would have liked. In a village where everybody knows each other and being the only white non muslim there I felt very isolated pretty much the whole time. My husband would try to make me feel at home as did his family but in a place you don’t feel comfortable even to step out the front door on your own which I cant do it is very hard. Even when I venture out with my husband I feel very conscious as I know that I will constantly be stared at and feel very uncomfortable.
Soon after moving to Egypt I fell pregnant, although I was extremely happy to be pregnant and was so excited about becoming a mum for the first time I couldn’t enjoy the pregnancy like I would have hoped. For the first 3 month I had a doctor that I was unable to communicate with although I did eventually find a doctor that spoke English and that made it a little easier. I had made the decision to go back to England to have the baby and my husband and I applied for a visit visa so my hubby could be there with me, but unfortunately the visa was refused. At that point I had doubts about going home as I didn’t want to deprive my husband of being there for the birth of our first child. But in my seventh month of pregnancy I developed a DVT that took almost 4 weeks to be diagnosed correctly and was hospitalized in Egypt for a week, so at that point my husband and I decided that I had no choice other than to go home to the UK to make sure I received the proper treatment in case there could be any complications.
Our son is now 3 and half months old and is still yet to meet his father, it is a very hard situation to be in knowing that not only my husband is missing out on our sons life but my son is also missing out on getting to know his father.
I would like to return to be with my husband but am having to finish treatment, and am very cautious about raising my son in a place that I know he wont be able to have a normal childhood. As it stands at the moment I am facing the prospect of being a single mother having to raise my son away of his father. With the current immigration rules I will find it virtually impossible to ever be in a situation where I could earn the £18,600 i would need to be able to sponsor my husband for a visa. It really saddens me that my family is being torn apart because our government is putting a price on being a family just because I fell in love with someone from outside the EU, and am know being forced to either live without my husband and only visit a couple times a year or move back to Egypt where I my son wont have the life he deserves.
I am now at a point that I don’t know where to go from here. I spend all day thinking of a way that we can be the happy family that I have always wanted us to be but am running out of options. All I have left is hope that one day these rules will be relaxed so that I and so many others will have a chance at the family life we so desperately want.