Lisa’s story

My name is Lisa.
I met my husband to be, an American citizen, in 2008. In June 2010 we married in the States.
We are now approaching our 3rd wedding anniversary, (and we haven’t been together for any of them so far) and my husband and l are still living in separate countries, he’s in the US and I’m in the UK, even though we have been together for nearly 5 years.
I have read the testimonials of so many other people in my situation and frankly it makes me sick! I cannot believe that the government has the right to keep families apart simply because they don’t meet their criteria!!! Who made them Gods? Who gave them the power to decide who has the right to live as a family and who should live apart??
My husband lives in Palm Springs in the US with a good job, l don’t earn £18,600+ a year, but l own my own property with a mortgage, am able to pay all my bills, but according to the UK Border Agency rules, this isn’t acceptable!! Time has shown that this is a genuine relationship; we are both Christians and believe that marriage is sacred and that the marriage vowels are sacred. But this situation is putting a strain on our marriage, as if life isn’t stressful enough.
I have spoken to an immigration lawyer and he himself is sickened by the laws in this country.
What American would choose to swap Palm Springs for the UK without a legitimate reason?? I have 3 children from a previous marriage, they have a strong bond with my husband and miss him like crazy, every time he goes back to the States after spending time with us, they get really upset. My husband is also 8 years younger than me, and yet he is willing to give up his country and family to be with me and the children, all incredible values that you don’t find today, but in the eyes of immigration in the UK, this isn’t good enough, they’re only interested in a family’s finances, it’s so wrong, especially as they’ve opened the floodgates to people who don’t have money. I really hope with all my heart that they re-think these rules and treat everyone as an individual with feelings, rather than a statistic that has to fit in and comply with their rules or live unhappily apart from the ones they love because they don’t meet their requirements. I think it’s absolutely appalling and l truly sympathise with everyone who is living away from their spouse simply because they met and fell in love with someone who didn’t come from the EU.


A sponsor’s story

My wife, applied for her marriage visa in August this year after we got married in June in North America. Originally the plan had been to apply from the UK before the July 12th changes came into force. This would have been possible as at the time as my wife was on a work visa and therefore had the ‘right’ to apply from within the UK. However, when passing through immigration on our way back form our wedding, we were told that her visa had been cancelled and she would not be allowed in on her working visa. Effectively she was only able to get into the country because she is from North America and therefore can visit for 6 months without a visa. However, with regards to the marriage visa this changed everything as now she would have to leave and apply from North America and there was no way we could do this in time to beat the new July 12th regulation changes. My income at the time was £18,000 a year gross, so effectively I was £50 a month short on meeting their threshold. We were told to try and apply anyway, as we would me among the first people trying to get in under the new regulations and there maybe some flexibility, especially in a case where it is so obvious that once she returns my wife would be more than able to support herself (on top of having a degree in Design Engineering, she has access to more than enough funds to meet the savings threshold of £16k+, but as these are her assets and not mine they could not be included in the official visa application). So at great expense to ourselves (well over £2,000 and counting) we sent off her application from North America. On 15th October (a day I will never forget) we got the awful news we had been dreading, the visa was rejected on financial grounds. Personally I have never felt so emasculated in all my life. Some people I had never met were telling me that I was £50 a month short of being able to support my wife, the woman I had promised to make everything right to and someone I have loved for years! These people made me feel worthless, I had let everyone down and especially my wife. I had never experienced proper depression before in my life, but in the weeks after this event I lost well over a stone in weight and felt utterly useless to my wife, my family and my friends. This however, does not scratch the surface of the despair affected upon my wife, 8 years she has lived, worked and studied in the UK and she is on the brink of losing everything.

In the time between my wife making her initial application and the rejection, I had saved some money and was able to visit her for a week in September, which was fantastic. After a period of enforced separation like we had experienced after spending every day together prior, any time together, no matter how short was priceless and we enjoyed every moment together. But on my return to London we were landed a double blow, firstly I lost my job through redundancy the Monday after my return and we were given a month to find a new place to live. I had to find a new job and somewhere that I could effectively move 8 years worth of life in London all at the same time. By working tirelessly night and day for the best part of a month, together (me in London and my wife in North America) managed to find both. The day I accepted both the offer of a new job as well as finding a new place to live also happened to be October 15th. What should have been a moment of joy and excitement for both of us was once again, shattered by UKBA.

The appeal process.

To bring you up to date on our story so far, after the initial application was rejected we decided our next best thing to do was launch an appeal against the decision as this was our right and it was painted and a quick and easy step to take. Wrong! Nearly 3 months into the process and we have only just found out that they have accepted that we even made an appeal and it may take up until 1st of April for them to make a decision on the first stage on the process. Based on all our previous dealings with UKBA I have fullest confidence they will use every one of the 19 weeks they are entitled too, with scant regard of the damage they are doing to our little family. Our appeal is based on the the fact that my father was topping up what my gross income was with a £100 a month cash allowance (supported by his bank statements showing where and when these withdrawals were taking place) as well as a copy of my new contract which showed that I will be earning more than the £18,600 required to sponsor my wife.

All in all this has been the most devastating, hurtful and depressing 6 months of my life and at the moment there appears to be no end in sight. All the while I know that whatever I feel I have lost during this time my wife feels like she has lost 10 fold as the entire life she has spent the last 8 years building hangs by a thread. However, even with all of this hanging over her she has remained a beacon of strength for both of us, she has never flinched from the challenge once and it is undoubtedly fair to say that I love this woman more now that ever before. All we want is to live a quiet life together in the East End of London and I can not for the life of me understand why this is such a threat to Mr. Cameron and his cronies. Thanks to the measure put in place by his government, my wife has not been able to set foot in our new home once.