"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.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Richard & Kate - Featured Family

“My American wife is bemused. All visas for non-EU citizens are stamped with a clear ‘no recourse to public funds’. So she doesn’t understand why the burden on taxpayer is even an issue for the British government.”

Richard is a British citizen. His wife, Kate, is American. Richard and Kate met a few years ago. They fell in love and got married.

Richard had no immediate ties keeping him in the UK at that time. Kate had two children from a previous marriage who were partway through their education in America. So Kate and Richard decided the best decision for their family would be for Richard to move to America while the kids were still at school, and then they would move to Richard’s home country after the kids had graduated.

When these new changes were announced, Richard was shocked and now feels exiled from his own

In America, both Richard and Kate have good jobs, earning an amount that they live on comfortably. In the UK, Richard’s family is from Grimsby, N.E. Lincolnshire where the job market is far from being at the equivalent level. The median average income is £16,500 while local papers and job searches show an average salary closer to £14,000. However, living expenses are also lower than other places in the UK.

For Richard, moving to the UK with his wife would be to be closer to his family. However, trying to meet  requirement of £18,600 in such an area is a near impossibility, especially with the ability for family assistance now removed. The savings limit required is near impossible for most workers who earn an verage, or even above average wage, to achieve. After all, not too many people have up to £62,500 in spare cash lying around!

Richard needs to be living and working in the Grimsby area to be able to provide assistance to his mother. She suffers from a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis and her health is failing very quickly, to the point where she is almost housebound.

One of the most common expressions throughout the changes has been that immigrants should not be “a burden on the taxpayer”. With space at his mother’s house for Richard and Kate, accommodation would not be an issue and meeting the previous income requirement would have been perfectly realistic, and not a burden on the taxpayer. They want to allow his mother to keep her house, while also providing her with care and aid.

Kate is bemused. All visas for non-EU citizens are stamped with a clear ‘no recourse to public funds’. So she doesn’t understand why the burden on taxpayer is even a concern by the government.

The new rules prevent Richard, a British citizen, from returning to his own country; they force Richard’s mother to rely on assistance from the state. Indeed, it’s embarrassing that after having lived for years in America where he was welcomed with open arms, his wife is not afforded a fraction of the welcome in the UK.

Richard and Kate will work together until they can be in his home country, with his family. However they are aware of many ex-pats whose situation is far more complicated or on a much shorter schedule. Friends and colleagues who are being forced to liquidate all their assets, including selling their home in order to meet the requirements. These actions seem to go against the general idea of the immigration policy of bringing families together and strengthening the economy.

They, like other British citizens, hope that common sense prevails and there is a removal, or significant change, to these rules that will allow Richard and others like him, to live with their family in the home they love.

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