"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.

Sunday 10 February 2013


“This used to be a great country but the government’s attitude to British people make us second class citizens."

British citizen Sandra has been married to Monaam for over two and a half years, having known him since 2006 and been romantically involved since 2009. However immigration rules mean they are being forced to live apart; Sandra in the UK and Monaam in Tunisia.

Sandra has been welcomed with open arms by Monaam’s family – his mother, father, grandmother, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. They’ve taken Sandra into their fold.

Sandra however has family of her own in the UK, including her son who won’t get on a plane. Choosing to live in Tunisia means leaving her family, friends, home, work, and her dog. She should not have to be facing such a choice. The wages they would both earn in Tunisia would make even visiting the UK financially prohibitive.

So she is being told by this government that in order to live with her husband, she has to give up everything else she has, including her family? Just because she happened to fall in love and marry a non-EU man?

Every night they have been physically apart since 2009, they have been on Facebook or Skype. Monaam’s visa has been refused on countless occasions. As a visitor to the UK he was refused. When he applied for a visa to come to the UK to marry Sandra, the visa was refused.

They are battling the English test as well; Monaam takes English lessons in Tunis, yet he has not been able to pass the English test even after three attempts. Interesting, Sandra – who grew up and was educated in the UK, also failed some of the practice tests (which incidentally Monaam passed!). Indeed, is the best place to learn English not the land of the English – England?!

Just when they thought they had all the paperwork sorted, the government decided to move the goalposts yet again. As the spouse, Sandra being the British citizen has to work all extra hours she possibly can – overwork herself, in order to obtain a wage over £18,600 .

Her MP indicated how out of touch with British citizens he is by suggesting the wage she was on – before the extra hours taken on – was for part time work!! The amount Sandra earns for a 40 hour week is below £18,600 which is close to the average for Dorset, the region where she lives, and above the minimum wage. Just goes to show what politicians sitting with their gilded salaries, pension and expense benefits know!

Nonetheless, Sandra appreciates the support her MP has shown by providing a letter of recommendation that in his eyes they are a genuine couple who should be allowed to live together in the UK, to submit with their next spousal visa application. However, with the £18,600 hanging over their head and no discretion allowed this letter may not be of much help.

So far the costs of applying for visas (visiting, spouse), flights,etc are financially crippling them; indeed, if heir marriage were not so strong, no doubt they’d have given up by now.

Sandra is heartbroken and on anti-depressants to help her cope with the constant stress and enforced separation . Like others, she doesn’t understand why this government thinks it’s okay to keep husbands and wives apart for years especially when they otherwise profess to be pro marriage and pro family.

Sandra is being forced to constantly jump through moving hoops. How can anyone prove that what they share is love for each other or that a marriage will last a lifetime?

Sandra’s view is that the government is turning this country into a racist, ageist, sexist state where the right to fall in love and marry a non-EU person is only one afforded to the rich. It’s difficult to contest that.

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