"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

If a UK (British) Citizen is resident in the UK, are they entitled to apply for an EHIC for their non-EU spouses who are not resident in the UK, for use when they travel across the EU under Directive 2004/38/EC ?


Freedom of Information request by https://twitter.com/wayne_pearsall of http://singhroute.info/ (highly recommended for all Surinder Singhers).

Monday, 30 December 2013

Express and Star | Couple face spending last New Year together


'Despite marrying 13 years ago at Kingswinford Christian Centre and living in the Black Country for three years – the Borders Agency has refused Adna a permanent visa to stay in the country.

'Adna, aged 35, who met Chris while he worked as a missionary in Sao Paulo in Brazil, is only on a tourist visa and must leave the country on January 23, unless the couple can overturn an earlier decision to refuse her a permanent stay.

'Currently, they await a date for an appeal hearing, but with the visa expiry date hanging over their heads, 38-year-old Chris fears he may lose his wife back to Brazil.

'“We are both exhausted with the situation,” he said. Chris is staying in London working as a church pastor for the First Renewal Presbyterian Church, a non-profit organisation from Brazil.

'... He said: “All we both want is to look forward and have a normal life together – but with this over us we can’t.

'“It’s costing us hours of time and thousands of pounds in money – but everything we are trying to do seems to be coming up against a brick wall. I don’t get why they won’t allow her to stay.” '

Previous coverage of the same case:


Ed & Anya

“I will exercise my treaty rights in order to live with my wife – a right denied to me by my own government.”

Ed is a British citizen from Scotland, married to Anya, from Russia. They met in their early twenties while studying at Edinburgh University in 2004, when they were both selected for a student-run charity project helping a community in Manzini, Swaziland, build a soup kitchen. Not unlike many international couples, their love was kindled in a shared experience of travel and living away from home which has continued ever since.

They lived together back in Scotland, finding employment near Edinburgh after graduation in 2007. Before long, a job opportunity for Anya took them on more overseas adventures to Azerbaijan and then Nigeria. Juggling individual visa restrictions gave them their first experience of forced separation and relationship-by-Skype: traumatic, tiring and unsustainable for more than a short time.

Luckily, Anya's job in microfinance also gave them the chance to save enough money to fulfil a dream they'd both had since before they even met: a longdistance bicycle ride.

In May 2010 a group of friends and family cycled with Ed and Anya to the boundary of their hometown in Scotland, waving the pair off on a journey that would last over a year. They explored Scotland's border uplands, west coast and islands, before heading to France. They followed rivers and canals to Switzerland and pedalled to over 2000 metres of altitude to cross the Alps into Italy.

Facing the expiry of a Schengen visa, they took a cargo ship to Turkey, which marked the beginning of an Eastern world of hospitality, history, food and natural beauty unlike anywhere else.

Their route along the Mediterranean coast took them into then-peaceful Syria and on to Lebanon, and then back into Syria, where they overwintered in a desert monastery near Damascus, working in return for food, board, and the nourishment of community. In early 2011 they set off across the Syrian desert, crossing back into Turkey just before the start of protests in Syria. Reaching the Black Sea, they steered right and continued into Georgia and Azerbaijan, finally ending their journey at the Caspian Sea in June 2011.

With her last UK visa long expired, Anya had to return to Russia; unable to get a Russian visa away from home, Ed returned to Scotland. Ironically, it was only by staying on the road through 11 different countries that the two managed to avoid separation for so long. But now they had no choice.

They decided to make Russia their home for a while; Ed wanted to learn the language, and Anya wanted to be near her family. Already trained as an EFL teacher, in winter 2011 Ed landed a great job in Moscow which also gave him time to study Russian and pursue other work opportunities although he now is a self-employed copy editor now. Anya worked at the British Embassy before leaving it to write for an English-language newspaper and take some distance-learning courses from SOAS in London. After the constant uncertainties of the bicycle tour, settled life in the big city held appeal - for a while.

Russian bureaucracy is infamously slow and labyrinthine, but the pair knew there would be benefits if they got married: Ed could apply for temporary residency in Russia and so no longer be tied to any particular employer. They also naturally assumed that being married would make returning to the UK pretty straightforward when the time came. After all, if you're married, you're family - right?

So the process of gaining temporary residency started with Ed and Anya's wedding in August 2012.

The day itself was pure fun. The newlyweds rode bicycles from the registry office to the reception and danced the night away to ragtime and swing, surrounded by their new families. But despite a materially comfortable life and supportive family nearby, life in Moscow started to take its toll. It seemed a metropolis worn down by social inequality, ingrained distrust, and an entrenched car culture.

Anya and Ed missed their friends and family back in the UK, and longed to live a more outdoor life again.

While looking at the procedure for returning to the UK, they heard about Theresa May's new familyimmigration rules, which effectively prohibit them from returning directly. How does the state have the right to do this? Isn't it a citizen's right to marry whomever they choose and live in their own country?

Ed finally gained temporary residency in Russia in July 2013. But by this time, he and Anya realised their best option was to take the Surinder Singh route, probably via Ireland, in autumn or winter 2013.

Exercising treaty rights is something they can do as they don’t have careers in the UK which would be disrupted, and no children to have to look after.

They are looking forward to the adventure of the next half year, while remaining anxious to get it over with; they worry that the route will rapidly become more difficult, with more applications being rejected by the UKBA on spurious grounds in order to force appeals and test the law.

However, Ed remains positive and feels lucky to be able to exercise rights afforded to him by the EUrights to a family life denied to him by his own government.

More stories like this : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/stories

A video on exercising Surinder Singh rights : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1-v0cV2Y8E

From our celestial correspondent

Thanks, anonymous contributor. Satire, needless to say.

Karma Police Arrest this Woman:

By Crime Correspondent: Iva Dream

1st January 2014

Karma Police have arrested Tory Home Secretary Theresa May in a ‘mid-afternoon-snooze’ raid on the Home Office yesterday.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Saturday evening links

Those left behind - highly recommended


'What is it like to teach in a school where pupils simply vanish without trace? How do you feel about losing your best mate at school, something you never thought could happen? What happens when your neighbour of many years disappears over night?

'Those Left Behind speaks to some of the people who live in Glasgow’s communities where people disappear - without warning.

https://twitter.com/nohate_speech :
#LovePoem to a #Hater by the @NoHateNinjas #nohatespeech pic.twitter.com/3W3j3afdzA

Surinder Singh - Now I am back in the UK - What next?


Support group for Surinder Singh returnees.

More on Surinder Singh and European free movement :
EEA2 sections to be completed by Surinder Singhers

Useful for those considering European free movement.

Via EEA Visa...EU Free Movement on Facebook (an excellent support group) :

Section 1 - Non EU Spouse's Details
Section 2 - Only to be completed if more than 1 Non EU family member applying
Section 3 - British Citizen's Details
Section 4 - Leave Blank (not for Surinder Singers)
Section 5 - Definitely Complete
Section 6 - Complete if employed, leave blank if self-employed
Section 7 - Complete if self-employed, leave blank if-employed
Section 8 - Leave Blank (not for Surinder Singers)
Section 9 - Leave Blank (not for Surinder Singers)
Section 10 - Complete (They check)

Also useful...

More on Surinder Singh and European free movement :

Evidential requirements for European citizens and their families under Surinder Singh :

'List of documents we had with us' - a list of documents used by one couple using the Surinder Singh route :

Suggested Surinder Singh template letter :

For Surinder Singh / EEA route people.
'I have added this PDF to help applicants choose the correct Visa selection when applying on-line for the Family permit. I hope it helps.' http://www.scribd.com/doc/179022132/visa4uk-pdf

More docs :

Ministers to block ‘right to marry’ in EU backlash :

Non-subscription link :

Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution :

The right to marry :

https://twitter.com/AdamWagner1 :
Unfortunately, the Times and the usually good @FrancisElliot seem to be moving into Telegraph style inaccurate scare stories about rights

Grayling will block 'right to marry' apparently, even though there already is one... See http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/incorporated-rights/articles-index/article-12/

More :
Isn’t there a human right to publish twaddle?
Yes, article 10.
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_10_of_the_European_Convention_on_Human_Rights )

Why is the European court of human rights hated by the UK right?


'Court designed to protect the vulnerable is respected in Europe but despised by many Tories and UK newspapers.

'... "It isn't just about the human rights of individuals," says Paul Mahoney, the court's veteran British judge, "it's about the functioning of the rule of law – of democratic institutions – in countries not all of which have, like the UK, enjoyed 300-odd years of democracy and freedom.

'At the end of the day, it's possible for somebody from a tiny village to come here, take their government to court and get the law changed. That really is a small miracle."

'Deputy registrar Michael O'Boyle is equally forthright. "For six decades," he says, "this institution has radiated a highly impressive body of case law out to the legal systems of a large number of countries – 47 today. It's an advance in civilisation." '

Friday, 27 December 2013

Removal of appeal rights raises significant human rights issues

The Joint Committee on Human Rights warns of considerable human rights implications in limiting rights of appeal

The government’s immigration bill raises significant human rights issues, concludes a report scrutinising the proposed legislative reforms.

The Committee's report, published in early December, says limiting rights of appeal poses a serious threat to the ability of applicants to access the legal system to challenge unlawful immigration decisions.

The proposed changes have largely escaped the media’s attention despite the bill’s restrictions on benefits and access to services having drawn interest.

Currently applicants have a right to appeal against any of the 14 immigration decisions contained within the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, including entry refusals.

The radical changes would see the right of appeal exercisable against just three types of decisions as well as limitations to the grounds that can be raised in appeal.

Under the new provisions, the right of appeal will only exist in regards to asylum or humanitarian protection refusals, revocation of humanitarian protection or refugee status, or refusals of human rights claims.

Appeals in these categories will only be permitted on the ground that the decision in question is unlawful under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act or is in breach of the UK's obligations towards those who meet the criteria for humanitarian protection or refugee status.

Challenges to the lawfulness of decisions in which there may have been a misinterpretation or misapplication of the law or the Immigration Rules, or in which there may have been a failure to take a child’s best interests into account, for example, will not be permitted by appeal.

Such challenges may be able to take place via an administrative review, according to the bill’s explanatory notes. But the Committee has concerns this new review system represents a potential departure from the common law right of access to a court to challenge unlawful administrative decisions.

The government, on the other hand, claims there is no breach of this common law right since appeal rights or access to judicial review will remain available to all migrants, even if not on a full merits-based review on appeal basis.

Yet proposals to reform both legal aid and judicial review may impact on the availability of judicial review as an effective form of remedy, warns the Committee.

The bill, headlined as the government’s centerpiece of its legislative programme and figuring in the Queen’s Speech in 2012, is designed to reduce the pull-factors which attract illegal immigrants, stop abuse of public services and facilitate the removal of people who are in the UK illegally.

Despite having been pushed through its early stages at light speed, it has seemingly disappeared. The delay, due to “a lot of legislation before the House” according to Andrew Lansley, the Leader of the Commons, is more likely down to an amendment tabled by Tory backbencher Nigel Mills.  

The amendment, backed by almost half of all Tory backbenchers, seeks to halt the lifting of labour restriction on Romanians and Bulgarians in the UK. Illegal and unworkable, it is likely the cause of the bill having been pulled and its timetable rescheduled so that it conveniently doesn't reappear until labour controls have been lifted in January.

Committee concerns over other proposed changes in the bill relating to appeals include objections to limiting the court’s power to consider new matter and the reliance on the availability of judicial review as an effective remedy for out-of-country appeals.

Furthermore, the Committee expresses being “uneasy” about the unprecedented provision to give “little weight” to Article 8 claims based on an applicant’s private or family life in immigration cases.

Perhaps glaringly of all, the bill makes no mention of Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 pertaining to children. While the government has clarified nothing in the bill will change the duties outlined in this section, guidelines as to how the provisions in the bill will work alongside those in Section 55 haven’t been issued.

Further stinging criticism of the bill was published earlier this week in a briefing note by the UNHCR. The refugee agency warns the bill could create, “a climate of misunderstanding and ethnic profiling that could undermine the longer-term prospects for integration… and prove detrimental to social cohesion.”

Public concern about the bill to date has largely focused on the effect the new restrictions will have on non-British living in the UK, including legal refugees and asylum seekers, along with others lacking clear-cut immigration status.

However, the impact of the rules on British citizens married to non-EEA spouses applying for entry clearance or further or indefinite leave to remain are significant, with 50 per cent of entry clearance appeals to the First Tier Tribunal currently successful according to government statistics.

Rather than spur any improvement in the UK Border Agency’s well-documented poor decision-making, the bill’s removal of appeal rights looks set to make challenging unlawful administrative decisions even harder or simply impossible.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christian & Marcia

“We just want to spend Christmas as a family, with our family.”

Christian is a British citizen currently living in New York City. His wife, Marcia, is a citizen of Trinidad & Tobago. They are expecting their first child together.

In October 2013, when the couple was visiting UK to spend time with Christian’s family, Marcia was refused entry even whilst travelling with Christian. This was to be their first Christmas with the whole family together.

The couple arrived at Gatwick Airport on October 15th for what was to be the beginning of their honeymoon. After some preliminary questions at the border control – which they answered fully and truthfully, the couple was made to wait in a pen for further questioning, without being told why. After another hour, alternating between being held and questioned, Marcia’s luggage was searched and several items removed.

Christian was then told he could not wait for his wife – and sent out to airport arrivals alone. Marcia was then bodily searched, locked in a prison-like environment, fingerprinted and interrogated. In total, Marcia wife was incarcerated and interrogated for eight hours.

Marcia’s leave to enter the UK was refused, although she was granted “Temporary Admission to a Person Who is Liable to be Detained” since they had already booked a wedding reception for their friends and family on October 26th. The Immigration Officer repeatedly told Marcia this means she could be detained at any time.

Unsurprisingly, Marcia came out of the interrogation in tears and fearful of arrest and further detention. As of now, she is scheduled to be removed from the UK on flight BA2159 at 10am on October 31st. The couple is trying their utmost to have that date postponed.

Christian believes the immigration officers were wrong to refuse her entry and to treat Marcia in the manner they did. As a citizen of Trinidad & Tobago, Marcia is a "non-visa national". So just as British citizens can visit many countries in the world without applying for a visa, so can those from this nation. Marcia shouldn’t require a visa to visit the UK, and therefore should in theory be allowed entry on her own passport, even if not travelling with Christian.

The Notice of Refusal of Leave to Enter stated “You have asked for leave to enter the United Kingdom as a visitor for three months but I am not satisfied that you are genuinely seeking entry as a visitor for the limited period as stated by you. This is because, although you hold a return ticket dated 19th January 2013, I cannot be satisfied that you will be able to fly at that time. This is because you are at present 22/23 weeks pregnant and if you were to remain in the United Kingdom for the period you have stated you will then be approximately 35/36 weeks, and as such British Airways will not carry you."

British Airways' pregnancy regulations* clearly say "For uncomplicated single pregnancies, we restrict travel beyond the end of the 36th week." The primary reason for refusal is therefore shown to be completely false.

"In addition, you have made no provisions for your medical care whilst you are in the United Kingdom, and you have been unemployed by your own admission since 2011 and living off savings and I cannot therefore be satisfied that you will not be of recourse to public funds."

Marcia was in possession of bank statements and stock portfolio, examined by the Officer, which show that, although she had indeed been "living off savings", they were far from used up. She also had letters of invitation,from Christian and his mother. These letters made it clear that Christian and his family would be responsible for any and all expenses incurred by Marcia during her visit. These letters were also backed by bank statements from both Christian and his mother clearly showing sufficient funds. The secondary reason for refusal is therefore shown to be invalid.

This secondary reason appears to be intentionally worded to exclude Marcia’s financial statements and the supporting family letters and bank statements examined by the officer. The refusal selectively refers to the fact that Marcia has "been unemployed" and "living off savings" which says nothing whatsoever about her access to private funds.

"Furthermore, you have previously resided in the United States of America, and during further examination you admitted that you overstayed your visa there, this causes me to doubt that you will comply with any restrictionsattached to a grant of leave to enter the United Kingdom."

This third reason gives the impression that Marcia attempted to abuse a short-term US visitor's visa by overstaying in an attempt to become an illegal immigrant. Nothing could be further from the truth. As Marcia informed the Immigration Officer during her interrogation, she had been living in the US in continuous legal status for almost 14 years. She had official USCIS paperwork in her possession to prove this, which was examined by the Immigration Officer. Until May of this year, her entire life was US-based and she had good reason to believe she would continue to live there up until the last days of her final visa. She had been a graduate (F-1) student for many years, then worked under OPT for a company who subsequently sponsored her for H1-B status. The security requirements for her position were later changed by the US military to exclude non-citizens, so she was unable to continue in that position. She was advised that in order to remain in non-immigrant status she would have to change to B2 visitor status.

This is a long process Marcia went through, however by the time the B2 status was processed, the US sequester had been put in place and her prospective employer was subjected to a hiring freeze. Her B2 status was due to expire on 27th March and she was not informed of the freeze until only 10 days earlier. At this time she made arrangements to leave the US as quickly as was reasonably possible given that she'd lived there for nearly 14 years and thus had a lot of roots to sever (car, house lease) not to mention the prospect of being separated from her fiancé for an indeterminate time.

Although Marcia did stay briefly beyond the end of that visa, this is considered normal by US immigration and carries no penalty up to a 6 month overstay. "If you overstay but not more than 180 days you must leave the US but you can apply for a visa to return immediately." Marcia never faced removal proceedings in the US.

Instead, she voluntarily chose to leave less than two months into the six-month grace period. These are hardly the actions of a person recklessly ignoring immigration laws. The third reason for refusal is therefore also shown to be invalid. Indeed, given the US has not penalised Marcia for her very slight over-stay it is bizarre that the UK does.

In addition, the Officer made no mention Marcia being married to a British citizen travelling with her – presumably because clear family connection may mitigate the flimsy grounds for refusal.

This is a pair of newlyweds, intending to only stay with their British family through Christmas and New Years.

It should not be a function of the a government agency to tear citizens apart from their families. Christian understands there is pressure on the UK Border Agency to appear to be tough on immigration. It is probable that officers have targets for refusing applications, with the UKBA website brags about cutting migrant numbers.

Christian can’t help but wonder why his wife was picked out for further questioning in the first place. A British citizen travelling with his Commonwealth citizen wife would seem on the surface to be one of the most straightforward possible cases. Marcia is extremely intelligent and highly articulate. She comes from an English-speaking country and English is her first language. She holds three university degrees, a BSc in Biochemistry, an MSc in Agricultural Diversification/Sustainable Rural Development and a US MSc in Food Science and Nutrition. Had the immigration officer at the initial encounter spoken with her, she would have been able to ascertain this for herself.

However, throughout all the questioning where Christian was present, the officer addressed all questions, whether pertaining to Christian or Marcia, directly to him, speaking of Marcia in the third person, effectively treating her as if she were a young child or a foreigner with no grasp of the English language. Even when Christian re-addressed questions to his wife, and received clear, concise answers in perfect English, the officer waited for Christian to "translate" the answers. It felt to this couple like racial profiling played a major part.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

From the comments section : The Bradleys

'Thank you all so much for the work you do!! Would love to share our story with you someday. We had planned on moving back to the UK to raise our family there and as a base for our businesses, until at immigration in Inverness I was updated on the changes to the spousal visa. Now we are back in Thailand ( where we had lived before our journey to Scotland) and in total limbo.'

The Bradleys' excellent blog : http://phuketfamily.blogspot.co.uk/p/about.html

'Changes to the UK spousal visa have made it terribly difficult for Brits ( like myself) married to non EU citizens ( like my husband) to reside there. The spousal visa was changed in a government effort to make people think it was doing something to curb mass immigration, but in reality it has made over 18,000 families displaced or in distress because of its changes. Namely, there is an income stipulation that the Brit alone must meet in order for their spouse and children to qualify for the spousal visa. The amount required is more than what the majority of Brits make and therefor deemed by many to be unjustified. To put things into perspective, if my husband was from an EU country such as France, we would have no requirements whatsoever ( income or other!) for him to live there. It's a deeply upsetting issue impacting thousands of families like us, but thankfully the Migrants Rights Network and others are fighting it. You can find out more about their work here.'

Thanks for sharing your story and good luck. 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Family can celebrate Christmas as deportation threat to Sussex dad is lifted


 'Three children who begged the Home Office not to deport their dad will enjoy a family Christmas reassured in the knowledge he is here to stay.

'Phil Sommerville was told he would be sent back to Australia despite his British wife of 12 years and their three children living in the UK.

'His family were left distraught by the news but with the support of The Argus’ campaign, Don’t Deport Daddy, immigration bosses made a U-turn on the decision to send the father-of-three back to Australia. '

'Don't deport Daddy' - Izzy and Phil :

 Good news for Izzy and Phil : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/good-news-for-izzy-and-phil.html


Merry Christmas

Earthrise revisited :

That's all there is. It's a small world, as all our stories attest.


Also spotted (on Facebook) this greeting from successful couple Hayley and Mehmet (which hopefully they don't mind me sharing) :

Hayley and Mehmet :

'Ecstatic doesn't even come close to how I am feeling right now...' :

Merry Christmas.

Katie tells her story, in her own words.

'I do not know where to start with my story, I am sure it is nothing on some people. But we are on the same level when we feel alone, right?

'I fell completely and utterly in love with my partner in 2010. The night I met him, we never really spoke, we were far too shy. All night, I tried my hardest not to keep looking his way, but blushed every time I caught him looking at me. I kept shouting in my head at him to talk to me, hoping he could hear me. But he never

'He left and I thought that's it..... for two weeks I could not stop thinking about him, I was to shy to ask my friend about him....

One night though, my friend texted. Saying I had an admirer!!!

'I found out it was him and he wanted to meet me at my friend's - well that's it. I was jumping up and down, dancing around my flat...

'The second time I met him, We were alone... this is when he told me that he was an over-stayer. I was gutted, but love soon took over that feeling...

'I never thought much of it, I never knew how hard it could get.

'Knowing he is an over-stayer never got in the way of us making the most out of life.

'Last year, like for many of you, really brought us back to reality though.

'We went on thinking we have plenty of time to sort things out. But when we met with a solicitor for advice on getting married, it was like a kick in the teeth.

'I had never looked into immigration previous to this meeting where I found out that the rules have just changed.

'We were told by so many different people that we still have the right to marry in the UK. We were told that once we are married under the UK law, he would be able to apply for a visa under article 8. But each and every person contradicted each other.

'Our heads were spinning and we had never felt so lost, but still we kept being strong for each other.

'How do you know who is legit or who wants your money?

'We decided to make the biggest decision of our lives. It was time for him to just leave the country, get married and apply for a visa.

'We had never been so scared, going to the airport, knowing they might arrest him there and then. His cousin is in the police, so he asked for him to meet him in case something happened.

'All I can say is, God was on our side this day.

'When we checked in, the guy was talking to him for ages checking his documents, I was scared because I couldn't make out everything they were talking about.

'The guy stamped his passport and we walked on. I still had no idea what was going on.

'It was when we were getting our bags where he told me that the officer let him go, all he said was 'I have done you a good favour, do not do it again and remember me'.

'I felt happy.

'Anyway, that week we were so busy, good job his family and friends no a lot of people. We gathered all paper work - which was loads, I managed to get all medical certificates and we had our interview with the police...

'The time had come where I had to leave him. I had been dreading this since the day he told me he was an over-stayer. I knew at some point, we will have to live without each other.

'It took me a long time to check in at the airport, we could not stop ourselves from crying. It is the hardest thing you could possibly do..

'We should hear shortly when I can go back there to marry him. Every day is a struggle. I find it hard going to bed, because I know he is not there. I find it hard to wake up because I know I have to face another whole day without him by my side..

'I have no idea of our chances for him to come back.

'I have a job of 20k a year, we have proof of us living together and for how long, he passed the English test. We have everything. But I do not know whether, he will be denied because he had previously over-stayed. Does anyone know?

'I have not told anyone the position I am in, I am completely alone. I have no friends, or family that live near me. Everyday I go to work and come home to an empty house. It is very lonely for me.

'If anyone out there, needs someone to talk to, about anything, I am hear.

'It feels great to write/tell someone the position I am in, or how I am feeling. Even if no one reads this essay.

'Thank you to whoever does. xx'
'It is the best Christmas present I could ever ask for': Mother-of-one forced to bring up her daughter 8,000 miles from her husband delighted at Home Office's u-turn allowing him a visa

Good news for Lizzie, Alexander and Olivia : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2528861/It-best-Christmas-present-I-ask-Mother-one-forced-bring-daughter-8-000-miles-husband-delighted-Home-Offices-u-turn-allowing-visa.html

    'Elizabeth Celi-Parr heard the news as she travelled by ferry to Ireland to meet her husband for Christmas
    '30-year-old was denied permission to bring Ecuadorian Alexander Celi-Moreno to live with her and their daughter Olivia in the UK
    'Law requires the British partner to have a salary of at least £18,600 a year
    'But Home Office officials reversed the decision after Mrs Celi-Parr petitioned David Cameron and her MP Neil Parish'

Western Morning News | Christmas dream comes true :
Lizzie, Alexander and Olivia - original post:

More :

Bye bye Papa - Olivia :


Dear Mr. Cameron... by Olivia :

Monday, 23 December 2013

New immigration rules for Christmas.


'X-MAS.£$#. The definition of ‘foreigner’ in this paragraph shall include persons with the following characteristics:
(u) Actually being foreign;
(v) Sounding foreign;
(w) Looking foreign;
(wb) Having a foreign name.

NB : Not April Fool's Day.

 Ho, ho, ho

“Poor immigration rules which lead to breaking up of families, will only keep away highly skilled migrants and economic contributors.”

Shailendra is a British resident living with his wife and child, both also British residents. Both Shailendra and his wife are high earners; they pay their taxes and contribute to National Insurance.

Shailendra came here on a Highly Skilled Visa (Tier 1) and has been working hard ever since - yes to earn a decent salary to better his own quality of life - but also contributing to the British economy – all without claiming any benefits.

All three members of this family satisfy the requirements needed to obtain British citizenship. They have living here for several years now and are looking forward to spending the rest of their lives here, having already established their home.

However, they want their dependant and ageing parents, currently in India, to live with them, in order to be able to take care of them, whilst also living as complete a family life as possible. Culturally, it is the norm for children to look after ageing parents personally, rather than outsource the care.

Shailendra’s parents are not jumping over themselves to move to the UK. Leaving India and all that is familiar to them, is not an easy decision. However they are only willing to do this so that Shailendra does not have to sacrifice his family, career, friends and home in the UK. However, the settlement visa regulations for parents is making Shailendra re-consider his future.

Shailendra’s roots are in India, a country known for its rich culture and close ties with UK. However, what UK completely misses out in understanding, is the close relationship that Indian children share with their parents. Parents are an integral part of family anywhere, but especially in Asia the definition of family includes "parents, spouse and children".

Shailendra really misses this ‘complete family’. His child, just like Shailendra himself, shares a very strong bond with the grandparents, both over 60 and financially dependant on Shailendra.

They need care due to their age related health issues and just sending money is not enough as it defies the purpose of living together as a family, which is - "to support each other in every stage of life".

Most importantly, Shailendra wants to spend his life with his parents, care for them, and provide them the same opportunity to live and develop closer bonds with his kids as they would have got in India or anywhere else.

Shailendra is bemused. He is self-sufficient, does not require any public funds and has the means to look after his parents without any help. He is willing to sign a waiver for his own access to state funds, provide a guarantee or deposit or bonds, and take private healthcare cover for his parents to alleviate any such fears this government might have nonetheless.

But it seems that the government has completely overlooked a very important aspect of immigration, thus forcing him to consider leaving the UK just to be able to reunite with his parents.

With Shailendra will go his taxes, his disposable income and his skills. Indeed, he is already
being approached by agencies for roles in Germany and Ireland. With Shailendra will go his wife and child, and the latter’s right to a British education and upbringing.

However, he doesn’t want to leave his home, however lucrative other offers are. He cannot believe that he has to go into exile just because the UK government cannot understand the value of a very simple family relationship and definition of "family member".

Shailendra is aware that by exercising treaty rights he may be able to return to the UK with his parents using the Surinder Singh route. This most of all strikes him as bizarre.

Several months of unsettling his life in UK, uprooting his child, leaving his job – all because he wants to live in the UK with his parents, without recourse to public funds. All just to be able to live once again in the UK with his parents,.

Rather than denying people their rights in this country the government should make it fairer and possible to reunite family members – the value it brings to the community is priceless.

Else, poor immigration rules will only keep away highly skilled migrants and economic contributors, which UK desperately needs if we are to compete in the global environment with countries like USA, Australia, India, China, Germany and Russia.

More stories about elderly dependants : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/elderly%20dependants 

BMA - 'Family migration rules lack 'basic common sense' : http://bma.org.uk/news-views-analysis/news/2013/june/family-migration-rules-lack-basic-common-sense

Sunday, 22 December 2013

James Robert Capon :
Please watch Hannah and me on The Peoples Voice.
We were given our chance to tell our story by Sonia Poulton on her December 18th show.


Hannah  and James :

'We feel absolutely robbed of our rights as human beings. James is missing out on this pregnancy, one that we were so thankful for after the tragedy of losing our first son in April. He does not get to be there when our child is born, and he will not be able to hold our baby until I arrive there, perhaps two months or more after the baby is born and we are well enough to travel. We are being cheated out of this experience, an experience which every married couple on earth has a right to, because we don't earn enough money.'

Runformywife :

On 15 February 2014, James Capon will run the streets of West Yorkshire in a bid to raise awareness of the negative impacts of the UK government’s new family migration policies.
Starting in Pontefract and taking in Featherstone, Normanton, Castleford and Knottingley, James will run 18 miles around five West Yorkshire towns to bring attention to the suffering caused to families as a consequence of the rules.

 Sign up to join James or add your own run to the mix here: http://www.meetup.com/BritCits/events/148960452/

More stories like this : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/stories

Saturday, 21 December 2013


“My mum is all alone and needs me for financial and emotional support.”

Montu is a British Citizen. He lives in London with his wife and two daughters, both of whom are British citizens by birth.

Montu is a Chartered Accountant, and has had a successful career, working with global organisations. He is a high rate taxpayer, and has contributed a six figure sum in taxes to HMRC over the past few years alone.

Montu was brought up in Kenya, by loving parents, who taught him to be good to others, respect the rights of others, care for the elderly, work hard and live within ones means. These are the very values the British government is making it difficult for families to adhere to, whilst simultaneously promoting them and families as the bedrock of our society!

Montu’s father was the sole breadwinner and took care of the day to day running of the house. However, his dad recently passed away after over 40 years in a happy marriage, leaving Montu’s mother devastated and alone.

She has started to become depressed and her health has deteriorated. As anyone who has been through such an episode would appreciate, it is vital for the surviving spouse to have long term family support after such an event. As the only son, this responsibility falls to Montu, whose mother is now completely dependent on him for financial and emotional support.

UK immigration rules however make it impossible for elderly surviving parents to stay with their children in the UK, even without recourse to public funds.

Montu is therefore being forced to consider returning to Kenya (where security remains a major concern) or to move elsewhere in the EU – he is being forced into exile just to be able to look after his widowed mum.

Either option will result in the cessation of Montu's employment in the UK and severe disruption of family life for Montu’s wife and daughters, who as British citizens have the right to a British upbringing and education.

More stories about elderly dependants : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/elderly%20dependants
More stories : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/stories

Friday, 20 December 2013

Friday evening links

Family Immigration Alliance | Sheehan’s story.


'I am a 22 year old British citizen who is pregnant with my first child. A year ago I went to Cambodia temporarily where I met the father of my child, fell madly in love and ended up deciding to stay and live there to be with him. We are now expecting the birth of our first child and although we are both extremely happy about becoming parents the new immigration laws have gave me so much stress during the pregnancy (so much I have even had to consider if I can keep the baby or not)...'

The Family Immigration Alliance:

Spuddings | Why we won’t be living in the United Kingdom.


'There are many questions people ask once they hear you’re getting married. When you’re a binational couple one of these questions is: “Where are you going to live?”

'It’s not that easy a question to answer. As young, fresh graduates, we could potentially live anywhere. But the only answer we have so far is, “Not the UK.”

'Neither of us have a problem with Great Britain. I’ve been here over a year now, and have received nothing but kindness and generosity from the people I’ve met. Yet my time is limited: my visa runs out at the end of January. Most people don’t see that as a problem since we’re getting married, but it’s not that simple. As it turns out, getting married doesn’t guarantee you a visa to remain in the country; that probably only happens in movies...

'In an effort to drastically cut down the number of immigrants entering the UK, the government has changed a whole range of immigration policies. The Post-Study Work Visa, which allows international students to stay and find work in the UK after they graduate, is gone. The spousal visa has also changed. A binational couple will only be able to get a spousal visa if the British spouse earns an income of £18,600 a year (and has been earning that for at least six months). 47% of people in employment in the UK are unable to meet this financial threshold. The foreign spouse’s income is not taken into account...'

UK Border Agency: Overturn my wife's spouse visa refusal and allow her to return to the UK


'Can we not be in love because my wife’s work touches on human rights issues? The UKBA says we cannot, because she does not want my love, all she wants is her safety. Is a feeling of safety not part of a loving relationship? The UKBA says not. '

David and Bang :


Alabama: How America’s harshest immigration law failed.


'Lampedusa boat' comes to Thames to highlight plight of migrants.


The horrors of human trafficking in Sinai.


Thursday, 19 December 2013

More social media and events

BritCits is now a registered charity! The next few months will be busy with planning - this is a huge, exciting step for all of us involved in the campaign.

Link into us : http://www.linkedin.com/company/3489134
Meet up with us : http://www.meetup.com/BritCits/
Tweet us : https://twitter.com/BritCits
The BritCits family on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/BritCits/273292022818894
Other pages we help administer : Surinder Singh https://www.facebook.com/surindersinghroute?ref=br_tf - EEA EU free movement https://www.facebook.com/groups/650212281695959/
Our documents : http://www.scribd.com/sjplep/documents

My personal feed : https://twitter.com/sjplep

“All I want is to be able to look after my parents when they need me most.”

Manish is a British citizen of Indian origin, living in the UK for over 8 years.

He made an informed decision to become a British citizen and make UK his primary residence; the people he met here and our multi-cultural environment were what convinced him this was the right decision.

He is now concerned however that this decision is now taking him away from his parents – parents whose well being is his responsibility. Parents who have sacrificed their happiness to raise Manish to be the decent upstanding citizen he is today.

His parents have been through a lot of hardships and now Manish feels it is his turn to take the weight of their shoulders; to take care of them. Yet he feels helpless because of UK’s immigration rules.

Manish is the sole earner in his family and has been helping them financially for the last few years while trying his best to visit them every year or invite them over to the UK for a visit.

However the last few years has seen his dad’s health deteriorating. As a cancer survivor since 2010, things were going well, until 2013 when Manish’s dad suffered from severe cardiac arrest where he narrowly escaped death. Although recovered now, Manish is haunted by a fear that this could happen again to him.

All Manish wants is to be able to look after his parents in their old age – to have them living here with him so he can look after them. He is prepared to take our fully comprehensive private healthcare cover to ease the burden on the NHS if that’s the concern. However the door has been slammed shut even for those who would not be a burden on taxpayers; even where it means we lose skilled British citizens to other countries that allow family unity.

Manish is a higher-rate tax payer and has never used any benefits or exercised recourse to public funds. He earns enough to support his family, including his parents – yet is being denied the right to do so. He is not alone in finding the UK’s immigration rules for adult dependant relatives vague and ambiguous.

He just wants to be able to look after those that gave him life, when they need him most. It’s not too much to ask.

More stories : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/stories
More on elderly dependants : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/elderly%20dependants

BritCits is now a charity!
Are you linked in to us? You should be!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Wednesday night roundup

Ian Birrell | Families that need £18,600 to spend Christmas together: The shameful earnings threshold imposed on British citizens wanting to bring their foreign spouses here.


'Like any father, Ethan James Feltham was looking forward to Christmas with his wife and their new son. But instead he must pack up the presents and put them in the post, for his young family will spend the festive period 10,000 miles apart from each other on different sides of the world. “It’s just so disappointing,” he told me ruefully.

'This man may have risked his life in Afghanistan as a member of the armed forces, but British bureaucrats do not believe his Fijian wife – met through a military friend – will leave if she comes to stay. And although he works some 60 hours a week as a restaurant chef, the 23-year-old’s earnings fall a few hundred pounds short of the shameful earnings threshold imposed on British citizens wanting to bring their spouses to live here.'

Divided families stories : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/stories

Migrants' Rights Network :

 'This week’s searing assessment of the family migration rules by Archbishop Vincent Nichols hit the nail on the head. Since the Government tightened the regulations for families coming to the UK in July last year, we’ve heard from hundreds of British people who have suddenly found that they no longer qualify to live with their spouse or partner in the UK as their earnings are too low or their wider circumstances do not fit the rules.

'But as ever with the immigration system, changes in one area have a knock-on effect in another. This October we were contacted by a friend, David, who rang us from Heathrow airport, and was beside himself with worry. David’s Canadian wife, Dee, has as yet been unable to join him permanently in the UK as he earns less than £18,600 a year. She was due to arrive for a visit to see him this October. Although as a Canadian national she doesn’t need a visa to come to the UK, she underwent prolonged questioning by the border officials...'

Runformywife | Hannah and I were guests on the peoples voice with Sonia Poulton this evening.

Runformywife on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/groups/228044687371545/

'Thank you so much to the People's Voice for giving us the chance to tell our story and hopefully make more people aware of what we and so many others are going through.'


Hannah and James : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/hannah-and-james-american-hannah-and.html

The Runformywife campaign : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/run-for-my-wife.html

Migrants' Manifesto | Dignity has no nationality.


'It is inevitable that the poor treatment of migrants today will be our dishonour tomorrow.'



https://twitter.com/SueLukes :
With @migrants_rights at discussion of #whoisdayanicristal. Astonishing film you MUST see when released in April



A Christmas greeting from Ireland :

By a Surinder Singh couple - more on free movement :

MPs and bishops step into same boat as impoverished migrants.


Monday, 16 December 2013


The latest BritCits pack is online - divided families speak out. Please read it here :


Upcoming meetups on adult dependant relatives in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh, all the way through to February.

Also 'dress up in wedding dresses' on 14th February, and 'Runformywife' on 15th February.

Join the BritCits meetup group : http://www.meetup.com/BritCits/#upcoming

Clegg slams proposed EU immigration cap

A leaked report has revealed a cap on EU immigration to the UK is under government consideration, reports the Sunday Times.  

The Home Office document suggests the capping of EU immigration to 75,000 annually from the current 183,000.

In response to the leak, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Monday said: “My advice to the Home Office is to spend less time leaking policies that are illegal and undeliverable and spend more time delivering on the policies that we have agreed as a coalition government.

It would be very unwelcome to the two million or so Brits who live and work abroad, who I don't think would thank the Conservative Party for entering into a sort of tit-for-tat race to the bottom, where everybody across the European Union starts pulling up the drawbridge and not allowing people to move to look for work in other parts of the European Union,” he added.

Following Nick Clegg’s intervention, Home Secretary Theresa May insisted the cap would only apply to future EU member states in speaking to the home affairs select committee.

This contradicts a statement she made prior to a ministerial meeting in Brussels earlier this month where she indicated Britain would back a future cap on EU immigration. May’s suggestions to place greater restrictions on free movement at the meeting were sharply dismissed by the European Commission. 

Last week EU Commissioner Laszlo Andor said the EU Commission would intervene over new tests for migrants if necessary

The report, the migration section of a government review of the UK and EU’s balance of competences, investigates the impact of free movement on the UK.

Its publication comes just weeks ahead of the lifting of labour restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian nationals in January.

Other proposals in the report, as reported by the Sunday Times, include limiting the immigration of workers from new EU member states to the UK until their GDP is 75 per cent of the UK’s, a proposal which Prime Minister David Cameron floated last month in an article for the Financial Times.

“When other countries join the European Union we should be insisting on longer transitions and perhaps even saying until you reach a proper share of an average European Union GDP you can't have freedom of movement,” said Cameron.

Further proposals in the review include restricting the labour movement of highly skilled migrants to the UK from countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Austria to those with a UK job offer.

Lower-skilled workers would only be allowed to settle in the UK if they have a job which features on an approved list of occupations which are part of a national shortage list.

EU immigrants would have no recourse to public funds for their first five years in the UK and some jobs would be explicitly reserved for UK citizens, reports the Sunday Times.  

Last week Iain Duncan Smith announced new measures to limit migrants’ access to benefits, including an English test. The move may see the European Commission, which believes current safeguards in place to protect host member states from abuse are sufficient, challenge the UK with court action.

In the year ending June 2013, EU immigration to the UK was 183,000, an increase on the previous year.

The government has pledged to reduce net migration to less than 100,000 a year by the next election.

The free movement of workers, one of four fundamental freedoms of the EU, does not allow for discrimination between workers of member states based on nationality.

Any move by the UK government to cap EU immigration is expected to be blocked by the EU since it would require a change in EU legislation. Alternatively, the UK would have to exit the EU. 

Related articles

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols attacks immigration targets.

Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster :
I have witnessed the trauma our supposedly pro-marriage government is inflicting on thousands of families and their children


'Recently I met a group of people who were so traumatised that at times they found it difficult to speak. It was a harrowing meeting, although a necessary one. Those who are so distressed find great help in being listened to. But I was left feeling helpless, such is their plight.

'The people I met are all victims of the new regulations regarding foreign spouses of British nationals coming to live in the United Kingdom. These new immigration rules were introduced in July 2012 and are ruthlessly applied against British citizens seeking to establish a marital home here.

'The people I met were citizens of this country, holders of British passports. All of them, however, were broken-hearted because they were not permitted to bring their wives or husbands to live here. In each case there was going to be no call on the public purse – in fact each excluded spouse would be an earner and a taxpayer, not a benefits claimant. Yet protection of the public purse is the constant argument from our government on limiting immigration. From what I was being told, this argument is false and misleading...'


'The most senior Catholic in England and Wales has branded the government's pursuit of immigration targets as "inhumane" and warned that rules preventing foreign spouses of UK citizens from settling here was damaging the development of thousands of British children.

'In a rare political intervention, Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, urged the government to change a policy introduced last summer that prevents British people living with spouses who come from outside the European Union unless they can show an annual income of at least £18,600, well above the £12,855 of the minimum wage.

'The measure was a scandal, Nichols said, adding: "Anyone truly concerned for the family as the building block of society, and realistic about the mobility of British people today, must see both the folly of this policy and how it is an affront to the status of British citizenship.

"The government's intention with these new regulations is to cut the number of immigrants from outside the European Union,"
Nichols writes in Monday's Guardian. "But in doing so, is it the government's intention to penalise British citizens? To undermine marriages and to split up families?

'... Nichols's attack on the coalition's immigration policies comes amid MPs' deliberation of an immigration bill, which is at the committee stage in the Commons. He spoke after a meeting at his Westminster residence with British passport-holders affected by the ruling. He said they were so traumatised and "broken-hearted" that at times they found it difficult to speak. (Ed. : I was there. It was very mentally and emotionally draining).

'In each case the spouse who was prevented from coming to the UK was not going to be drawing any benefits, Nichols said, which he said suggested to him the government's argument that immigration must be constrained to safeguard the public purse was "false and misleading".

'This summer, the all-party parliamentary group on migration chaired by the Liberal Democrat peer Lady Hamwee published a report into the new system that concluded there was "a strong case for these rules to be reviewed". It took evidence from 45 families whose inability to meet the income requirement had led to the separation of children, including British children, from a non-European parent or wider family members.

'Jan Brulc, a spokesman for the Migrants' Rights Network, which introduced victims of the policy to the archbishop, said it has heard from more than 200 families adversely affected by the new rule. The Home Office's own impact assessment indicated as many as 17,800 families could be affected.

'... The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, called for a swift review of the policy. "When people bring family back to this country they do need to make sure they can support each other," she said.

"But the government were warned that the inflexibility of their system would lead to unfairness and injustice. For example if a British citizen is working part-time or at home looking after children they can be unable to bring a spouse back to Britain even if they are earning far more than the threshold and could easily support the entire family. The real problem is that Theresa May's net migration target treats all migration the same and doesn't distinguish between different types of immigration or look at the impact."