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.

A sponsor’s story – Christmas 2012

For British/non-EEA families and couples, Tuesday the 25th will mark the first Christmas under the new family migration rule changes – and a painful reminder of what is missing most this festive season. For our contributor, Christmas 2012 is another separate experience from her son.

Here’s hoping 2013 brings about progress in the courts for a genuinely happy new year.

– Chris, FIA

Christmas is a time for family, a time to be happy but mine serves as a reminder of the six years that I haven’t seen my son. People wish me a happy Christmas and I smile and wish them a good one as well but I know mine will be filled with worry and a sense of helplessness. What mother fails to provide for a child she brought into this world. I would give anything just to hold my son in my arms again. I have missed the milestones in his life and it breaks my heart. I find it difficult to sleep everyday because I can’t stop thinking. It’s after 01:00am and even if I tried I couldn’t sleep. Friends and family ask me to look after their kids while they go to work or run errands and I say ok for the company but its a catch 22 situation as their kids just remind me of the time I am not spending with my son. I pray everyday for a miracle that one day the home office will say you are a free person and you can work and provide for your family. This year the UKBA has really shown me who is boss, I have to sign on exactly on Christmas Day, I thought England was a Christian country, but i can’t think about going to church because I am supposed to be at a police station signing on. All my life I have lived a straightforward life but now I feel like a criminal, I feel like a prisoner even though am not actually in prison. I am worse off than a prisoner because at least they know when they will be free. Sometimes I cry but then I dry my tears again. Should I leave my husband and just move back home so I can see my son, if I do that I bet that’s the last time I will be seeing my husband again because he doesn’t earn enough to sponsor me to come back here. I can’t ask him to leave his job and son and daughter here to come with me when I don’t have a job in my home country. I have a bachelor of science degree but now I am now just a housewife . I have nothing against housewives but I just thought my life would be different from my mum because my mum was born in a generation where it wasn’t deemed important or necessary for a woman to have a carrier. I pray that my anguish will stop because I fear for my sanity. I look fine on the outside but I am burning inside. I pray for a miracle otherwise I don’t know how long I can take this pain for.

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.