"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, 23 June 2013


“I just want to be able to look after my parents without recourse to public funds in the same way they’ve looked after me and my child”

Jenny from Kingston & Surbiton is a British citizen with South African parents. She works for a very reputable regulator with a secure, stable job.

She has also been supporting her parents for several years, which she doesn’t have an issue with. After all, she’s in a position to do so only because they made sacrifices for her to be where she is.

Jenny also now has a child, a British child. As she cannot afford to pay £1000 in childcare every month, on top of her living expenses - rent, bills, while also sending money to her parents, her parents have been visiting her regularly to help with the childcare.

This may sound fine and dandy, but it's when you delve further you realise that parental sacrifices don't end even in old age.

Jenny's parents take it in turns to visit the UK for 6 months at a time so they can help her with childcare all year round, and so that she can afford to pay their living expenses back in their home country. Jenny could, and will, never turn her back on her parents and stop supporting them as they are, due to unfortunate circumstances, unable to support themselves.

So her parents are forced to take it in turns to visit their daughter and grandchild because they can only stay here for 6 months in a year.

This raises several issues:
1) The parent who is in South Africa is alone, lonely and miserable for half of their life
2) The parent who is leaving the UK after 6 months has to regularly go through the heart-wrenching process of saying goodbye to their own family, knowing they're going back to an empty existence.
3) Jenny's parents barely see their own spouse because of their own financial obligations deeming dependency on their daughter necessary.
4) UKBA could at any point cease allowing the parent in even for 6 months. At any point. It has happened to other parents, with UKBA denying them entry and saying they need to apply for a settlement visa if they wish to visit their family in the UK regularly. Whether UKBA staff are or are not aware of the rules which make it impossible for any parent of an adult British citizen to qualify for the right to be here, is anyone's guess.

Like others in this position, Jenny has considered applying for a settlement visa. She knows it will be rejected, but maybe then she could appeal, or take it to court where rules which make it impossible for anyone to qualify while charging £2000 a pop per application, will be overturned by our judicial system.

While this takes time and money, her biggest concern is that by applying for a settlement visa she runs the risk of her parents never ever being allowed back in the UK, because their having expressed the desire to settle here will be interpreted by UKBA as an intention to live here, with a possible slapping of a 10 year ban on even re-applying.

It is grossly unfair that Jenny is not able to allow her parents to make their home with her in the UK, without recourse to public funds.

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