S & J’s story

Like a lot of people my husband and I have been affected by the new financial rules for spouse visas. I met my husband in Australia (I was working, he was studying) in 2008 – I am British he is Brazilian. In 2009 we got married and moved to the UK – I wanted to be closer to my family. He was granted his indefinite leave to remain visa and from 2009 until 2011 we lived in the UK. My husband had been apart from his family for over 4 years and was missing them terribly so we decided to move to Brazil and therefore did not proceed with the second part of his residency visa because (a) we were not intending to return and (b) we thought if we did we’d be able to apply for the same visa as they had granted it once and we were now even further into our committed relationship so we never dreamed it would be refused.

Unfortunately, our time in Brazil was not as we had hoped. It was impossible for me to get work. I teach English as a foreign language but the schools I applied to work for wanted American English only (slightly confusing but if I only speak British English what can I do!). My husband was also struggling with living back in Brazil. After 8 months we made the decision to return to the UK. I was very lucky and managed to find work immediately. My husband was in the middle of helping his father modernize his shop so we agreed I would go to the UK so I could start work and he would follow. With the Olympics in June/July 2012 we knew flights would be expensive so we were looking to apply for his visa after the Olympics for him to join me September.

I returned to the UK middle of May 2012.

When it came to apply for my husband’s visa I was shocked at the new rule. To be honest we didn’t know what to do. I did not meet the financial requirements of earning £18,600 the previous 12 months because for 8 months of that I was living in Brazil and not working. We decided we would apply anyway and explain our exceptional circumstances and provide financial evidence dating back even further to show the money I DO earn when I am working. Also, in the meantime I was offered a permanent job with a salary of £35,000 which I started in November 2012. My contract for this job was enclosed. I would have thought current earnings would mean more than past earnings.

The application was refused as we did not meet the requirements. So now we have to choices (1) wait until November when I can then show payslips and bank statement showing the money I am earning or (2) appeal. Both options mean we are to be apart for a significant period of time. I have not seen my husband for 9 months and luckily I have magnificent parents who are letting me live with them. However, neither of us was expecting it to be as long as this. My job is working from home so I am waiting for my husband to return to the UK so we can visit some towns before deciding where we will set up home. My husband even has inheritance which we can use as a deposit for our first home! We want to bring money into this country and yet we are being told no!

I find it ridiculous – as I know you all do – that I am a British citizen asking for my husband to join me in the UK. I am working, with a decent salary and pay my taxes. He is not entitled to benefits anyway and during the two years he lived here before he was always working and also paying taxes and National Insurance. EU nationals can enter our country with their families no questions asked. I appreciate the government need to be strict with immigration laws but they are targeting the wrong people. As a British citizen my family – my husband – should have more writes than EU citizens. We were going to start a family this year as I will be 35 in November and am worried about my eggs, but this will now have to go on hold. They are playing with our lives and it is an overtly stressful situation for people affected.

Surely if we (Britain) are pro-family then the visa should be decided on the legitimacy of the relationship and not how much money they have/have not earned. And if they financial requirements are not met surely reasons why they have not been met need to be taken into consideration rather than a refusal given. Looking at individual cases and their reasons would create a much fairer system.

I am just so lucky to have such a connection with my husband, despite our distance. I won’t lie, it is incredibly hard and many tears have been shed at my loneliness but I know we will get through this and it will make us stronger. My heart goes out to everybody affected and we must all believe that justice will prevail!!

Good luck x


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.