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.

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.

Perspective: Elderly dependent relatives

In the first of a series of perspectives on family immigration, written by sponsors campaigning against rule changes in the field of family immigration, Sonel from Brit Cits offers her views on how the rules have affected elderly dependent relatives with a counter proposal.

A lot has been said and written about the new immigration rules brought in by the government although I’m not sure how much is being heard or read.

What I do know is none of the politicians – and in this I include all Tory and Labour MPs (Lib Dems have been eerily quiet) –admit how driven these rules are by politicians on power trips, nor do they understand the ramification on British lives of application of ruthless rules more reminiscent of Enoch Powell’s philosophies, than a progressive, western, developed and indeed, ‘Christian’ country.

British citizens have lost all chances of sponsoring their non-EU parents to join them in the UK. I have asked more MPs than I have fingers to give me three examples of when a parent would qualify to join their child in the UK under these new rules and be physically able to take a flight to come here. None have been able to give me one.

According to “Statement of Intent: Family Migration”, dated June 2012 (para 118 – 125), for a non-EEA parent to join their British citizen child all the below must be satisfied:

  1. “Parent must be unable to wash/dress themselves” So parents must effectively be paralysed yet expected to be able to get on a plane, fly for hours and fit into plane toilets to reach the UK. Bear in mind, if the parent is visiting you in the UK, they CANNOT apply from here.
  2. “Parent must not have anyone else in their home country who can help bathe/dress them” So if the parent has access to a nursing home, home-help, siblings, children, siblings or close friends they cannot come over.
  3. “Sponsor to demonstrate that with financial help from them combined with help from any local health/welfare system parent cannot obtain the required level of care, and;
  4. Sponsor must prove their parent will be maintained, accommodated and cared for in UK, without recourse to public funds.” So if you don’t have money, your parent can’t come over.

I stand by what I said. No one will qualify under these rules, making a mockery of Conservative family manifesto of making “Britain the most family-friendly country in Europe” and Theresa May’s declaration that Britain is a ‘Christian’ country. I see no Christian principles applied in her rules. I asked for examples of case studies when people would satisfy the elderly dependants I think is so rigid it’s impossible to meet. Mark Harper came back with a link to the following:

Under annex 6.0, section 2.2.5 three examples are given indicating situations when someone might meet the criteria. However, the criteria is such that the government says the criteria is met, only if a part of the criteria is met!! Essentially tautology, and therefore meaningless. As I have been saying for months now, I can’t envisage a situation where someone could demonstrate they have the financial means to take care of their loved one in the UK (say £x) but that this £x combined with help from the social system in the home country, and any friends or family is not sufficient to buy the care to help wash and dress.

E.g. extracted from the government’s report:

1. (a) A person (aged 25) has a learning disability that means he cannot feed, wash or dress himself. His parents have recently died in an accident and his only surviving close relative is a brother in the UK who has been sending money to the family for some time. The person has been cared for temporarily by family friends since his parents’ death, but they are no longer able to do this. The sponsor is unable to meet the costs of full-time residential care, but he and his family have sufficient financial and other means to care for the applicant in their home. This could meet the criteria if the applicant can demonstrate that they are unable even with the practical and financial help of the sponsor to obtain the required level of care in the country where they are living because it not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it or it is not affordable and other relevant criteria are met.

The cruelty of the rules is shown startlingly well, by this:

4. (e) A person (aged 85) lives alone in Afghanistan. With the onset of age he has developed very poor eyesight, which means that he has had a series of falls, one of which resulted in a hip replacement. His only son lives in the UK and sends money to enable his father to pay for a carer to visit each day to help him wash and dress, and to cook meals for him. This would not meet the criteria because the sponsor is able to arrange the required level of care in Afghanistan.

I plead with ALL of you to contact your local MP – who by law, has to respond – and let them know how disgusting it is that hard working, tax-paying Brits have lost the right to live with their parent under this government – one that none of us elected – especially where the parents have no one else to turn to.

If these rules aren’t repealed soon, predictions for a future Britain are dire – brain drain. Hard working, tax-paying, educated Brits will move elsewhere (in EU or outside) where they can exercise their right and indeed, duty, to live with and look after their parent/s.

If you are not at all affected by these rules, consider the scenario where one of your children moves to Australia, Canada or USA. All countries I’d consider as comparable to our culture, way of life and beliefs. Would the government there allow you to live with your child? A loud, irrevocable, yes. And you wouldn’t even need to be on your death bed.