"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, 31 July 2013

BritCits meetup in London this weekend ...

Royal Festival Hall, 5th floor, 12 noon, Sunday. If you want to come along and talk about the rules, tactics for beating them, and meet some good people, you're very welcome.

Links roundup

https://twitter.com/onroadmedia :
We've teamed up with @migrants_rights to support families affected by #immigration rules to get stories in the media

https://twitter.com/FullFact :
Seen this van? This Home Office campaign has been hailed as a success. We look at the evidence

https://twitter.com/PukkahPunjabi :
If you are stopped in an immigration check you are NOT obliged to answer any questions or show ID #knowyourrights pic.twitter.com/yBCQWwrOY4

https://twitter.com/MigrantVoiceUK :
Campaign targeting illegal immigrants is referred to advertising watchdog

Via http://www.freemovement.org.uk/2013/07/31/divided-families-video/ -
This is a very good video to highlight what the British government is doing to families. I am British and live in Korea. My wife is Korean, and we have been married for two years. I want to go back to the UK to study (the LPC) next year, which means that I won’t be employed. By the time we will be ready to go back to the UK, I will have saved £35,000 to pay for my studies and living costs and more. Unfortunately, the government says that this is not enough – if I plan to go back to the UK, without a job, the only way to get a spousal visa is if I have £62,500 saved up – and kept in the bank for the 6 months preceeding our move to the UK. This is simply not possible. It’s not possible for me to get a job before I go back to the UK, but will be able to get one after finishing my studies, which will take 10 months. It’s a very difficult situation.
- https://twitter.com/DavidHarbinson

Couple reunited after immigration wrangle.

When church pastor Robert Cooper was told his beloved wife of 13 years could not join him back in the UK because of new immigration rules, he said his life had been ‘ripped apart’.


But now after six months away from each other the pair are back in each other’s arms and temporarily reunited – and have vowed to continue their fight to be together.

A South African man who was denied a visa to visit his poorly and ‘distraught’ mother living in Horsham has claimed the ‘whole decision was based on probabilities’.


https://twitter.com/LeeJasper :
Media fails to report that a #Pakistani immigrant died in deeply suspicious circumstnces in detention http://shar.es/kSIyq  Please share

https://twitter.com/simonisrael :
1000 convicted asylum seekers denied justice. Appeal judges rule disturbing practice must be killed stone dead. http://bit.ly/163fLYv

'I miss my family,' says asylum seeker - video :
Down the memory hole

Spotted on Facebook :

Interesting change to the UKBA's policy and guidance section concerning EEA Family Permits (EUN 2.14). The text stating that it does not matter if the only reason a British national goes to another member state is to exercise an economic Treaty right so that they can come back to the UK with their family members has been removed!

I took a screenshot of the website before the change.

For future reference, it is here, along with the relevant text : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/for-future-reference-ukba-on-surinder.html

The text included this sentence :
It does not matter if the only reason the British national went to another Member State was to exercise an economic Treaty right was so that he / she could come back to the UK with his / her family members under EC law.

It doesn't any more. This is a fairly obvious attempt to limit knowledge of the Surinder Singh/EEA route which provides a way for British people to be with their non-EEA family members. Devious

As I said at the time -
For future reference, in case the website ever 'changes' in the future. Taken 30/Jun/2013.

From the Newsnight piece on Surinder Singh a few weeks ago : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23029195 

The Immigration Minister Mark Harper declined to be interviewed for BBC Asian Network/Newsnight's report and instead issued a statement:
"The EEA family permit is not a 'loophole'. It reflects the current requirements of EU law and would not apply if someone went abroad to a member state for a short time just in order to circumvent the immigration rules. An application will be refused if it cannot be proved the British citizen was genuinely engaged in employment."
This somewhat contradicts the UKBA website which says that it does not matter if the only reason a British national goes to another member state is to exercise an economic Treaty right so that they can come back to the UK with their family members. 

Quite clearly, the website was right on Surinder Singh. Are the changes to the website related to the Newsnight piece?

Update :

A screenshot of the current wording on the UKBA website (31 July 2013) is below. You can compare with the screenshot above to see the difference.

Source :

Shared in the interests of fair use and the historical record.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Migrants Rights Network : Help us raise the profile of right to family life.


'If you have been affected and are willing to speak to journalists, or would like to help us to spread the word online, please take a moment to fill this form. This will help us tremendously in getting the right cases to journalists when they get in touch with us to highlight the absurdity of the rules.'

Hayley tells her story in her own words. Her Facebook campaign - 'Married and living apart due to UKBA's current unrealistic requirements' - is here : https://www.facebook.com/keptapartbyunrealisticrequirements?ref=hl

'In April 2011 I went to start my summer season working in Tunisia as an entertainer where I first met my (now) husband.

'From when we first met, all summer long, we were inseparable. We spent all day, every day, in each other's company. In the winter my contract ended to I travelled back to the UK.

'Both of us were heartbroken. I soon booked two separate trips to ensure we would spend time in person together, over the winter, and not just though a computer screen on Skype. I travelled out in January to meet his family; and again in March for my birthday, so we could spend it together. I then returned for a second season in Tunisia for summer 2012.

'It was like I had never left. We were inseparable. At the end of the season I decided that I wanted to end my career as an entertainer. I wanted to get married, settle down, pursue a new career in the UK.

'I returned to the UK. Both of us were heartbroken. Within days of being home I booked my return journeys for January and April.

'We still remained as close as ever. Every day we would share jokes, laugh, share our days with each other through Skype. In June 2013 we got married - an amazing day!! All the preparing and sorting out a wedding a thousand miles apart was so stressful - but it really was the best day of our lives!  Like any other couple we were looking forward to planning, dreaming, and building our future together as husband and wife.

'Unfortunately, due to the new income requirement, we are still having to live apart. 
'Most newlyweds can start their new lives together. But instead we have to look at each other through a computer screen a thousand miles apart. The current law is making it simply impossible to be together. 
'I may not earn £18,600 - but I know can support my spouse without any aid from the state. I work full time, I live in a large family-owned property, and all of my family work and support each other.  
'The income requirement is unjustified and unrealistic and needs to change. Having a requirement half the population could never meet is ridicuous, outrageous. This is affecting not just me and my husband, but many other couples and families - forced to live apart. What kind of a government does this to its own people!

Our take on the #racistvan

Know your rights http://scriptonitedaily.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/rights.jpg ...


On these pages you will find information in various languages on your rights if you are confronted by UKBA.


If you are at risk of being targetted for checks or raids (regardless of immigration status), you will find information about your rights in this section. If you a supporter who would like to know what to do if you see this happening in the street, you will find a guide here for you too.

More languages coming soon!


Racial profiling on public transport (with tweets).


Many PoC have/continue to be racially profiled in many walks of life - this is an account of one of those incidences that happened to me.
Divided Families Campaign video competes for award in 'Migrants in Europe' competition.


'Like' the video on the Migrants in Europe Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/MigrantsInEurope

My client today applied for a spouse visa in May 2012. A refusal was eventually issued in November 2012. The appeal took place today, 14 months after the application and 8 months after the refusal. The hearing took 20 minutes and it was allowed there and then by the judge. It could be another two or three months until the Home Office get around to issuing the visa, I warned.

This is no way to run an immigration system for human beings.


The Indian footman at Buckingham Palace who helped announce the birth of new British heir - Prince George - is waiting to learn if his visa to continue to live and work in the UK will be renewed at the end of October.


https://twitter.com/FESMontemaggi :
Threatened by UKBA officers? remind them of Chapter 31 of their manual


UK Border Agency target Brent station in check for 'illegals'.


Asylum detainee on hunger strike 'close to death'.


MP warns that Samuel Sorinwa could die within 24 hours if he is not released from detention, but Home Office refusal to do so indicates toughening stance.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Tribunal date set for Haywards Heath dad Phil facing deportation.


 “I feel so disheartened with this country at the moment that we have to go through this.

“There has been an awful lot of damage done to our family unit. I feel so sorry for the children.

“It is a nightmare. I just thought that once they realised their mistakes common sense would prevail and someone would fix them.

“I’m normally such a positive person but it’s just so hard.”


‘Go Home’ vans: When stirring up immigration anxiety can suddenly seem like a serious mistake.


 When it comes to electoral strategy this seems like a no-brainer. Though they won’t admit it, most politicians are in fervent agreement with the H.L. Mencken’s dictum that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public. The legendary cynic was talking about the American readers of the newspapers he edited, but the thrust of his point seems to be easily transferable to any other country with political cultures which operate with the presumption that citizens have a short attention span.

An example of which is the ruckus over the Home Office’s ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ van, advocating something that would be called ‘self-deportation’ in the United States. This was out touring parts of London last week, in areas where Conservative election strategists think they are susceptible to losing votes to Ukip. Immigration minister Mark Harper must have thought he had a sure fire winner with this idea, with everyone outside the circles of citizens who are concerned with human rights issues uniting behind the idea that the authorities ought to be turning the heat up on ‘unwanted’ immigrants.


https://twitter.com/ModiMwatsama :
1 day post-pilot Downing Street says #racistvan ads working http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23489925 … Were @PukkahPunjabi & co counted?

Campaigners have bid "good riddance" to the Home Office's controversial illegal immigration van after it left the streets of London after just one week.

Vicar vows to quit Britain after new Ukrainian wife is denied a UK visa on language grounds despite being an English teacher.


A vicar claims he will have to leave the country after his Eastern European wife was denied a visa on 'language grounds' - even though she’s an English teacher.

Reverend Elwyn Phillips, 55, is quitting the UK and moving to Ukraine to be with his wife Lesya, 36.

The couple married earlier this year and were making plans to live in his parish at Cwmbran, South Wales.

Not talking is not safe.


Community leaders need to address all topics, including those considered taboo among migrant and refugee communities, because the sooner we start the sooner we will all be able to engage properly in the arguments that make up integrated society.

Are the UK’s mass deportation charter flights lawful?


https://twitter.com/DetentionAction :
We wrote an article about resisting the legal aid cuts. Let's put words into action at #rallyforlegalaid tomorrow!

Foreign - a poem about globalisation.


A day of protest against racism and fascism against the Roma community and in commemoration of the Roma genocide.


Delwar Hussain, writer and anthropologist.


Via https://twitter.com/19pst

Sunday, 28 July 2013


“I can’t believe I may never be able to return home, as breaking up my family for several months just isn’t feasible.”

Sarah is a British citizen living in Thailand with her Thai husband.

She initially came to Thailand to work with Burmese refugees but fell in love and started a family-- always with the intention of returning to the UK.

Under the new rules Sarah’s salary does not meet the financial requirement, nor will it ever. Indeed, it would be near impossible to find a job in Thailand that would meet the requirements as local salaries are simply not in line with those in the UK.

However, combined with her husband’s salary, they meet the requirements. But the new rules do not permit his income to be considered.

So, to return to the UK, we are now facing the choice of:
a) Sarah returns alone with their two children, seeks employment paying over the stipulated salary while placing them in full-time childcare and somehow coping as a single parent until she qualifies to qualify to sponsor her husband OR
b) remaining in Thailand indefinitely as a family unit, depriving her British children of a British education and their British family.

Even if Sarah opts to return to the UK alone, she would not be able to avail of her parents' support in terms of accommodation or childcare as the salary stipulations means she would almost certainly need to seek work in London or another large city where childcare costs are very high.

Both Sarah and her husband are highly educated – both have completed their Masters, have a decade of professional experience and her husband speaks fluent English as well.

They have looked at the alternatives such as the EEA route, but find this costly and impractical for a young family.

Sarah finds it hard to believe she can’t bring her family home and therefore may face a life abroad indefinitely.
The trials of Roseline Akhalu - updated.


Yesterday judges in the Upper Immigration and Asylum Tribunal rejected an appeal from the Home Secretary, Theresa May, that Roseline Akhalu, a 49-year old former postgraduate student from Leeds should be returned to Nigeria where she would have faced the prospect of death ‘within weeks’.  On hearing news of the judgment Roseline Akhalu told her friends and supporters: “Thank you everybody for the support, for the prayers, for the publicity, for everything. Hopefully the UKBA will let matters rest at this stage.”

https://twitter.com/crookedfootball :
Paddington felt scared as the van passed, saying he should txt HOME. He thought about Peru.Mrs Brown said,"Don't worry, you're welcome here"



Parliamentary committee claims that International Passenger Surveys provide poor statistics.


According to the Committee report, these surveys are surrounded by a margin of error. It explains that the 95% ‘confidence interval’ around the estimate of net migration translates into an error margin of plus or minus 35,000. The report says “This means there is a 95% chance that the true value of net migration in any twelve month period falls within a range of around 70,000, and a 5% chance that it falls outside this range.

Danny Dorling - A World without border controls in a century. Brain food.


The easy way to find information on jobs and learning opportunities throughout Europe.


Job vacancies in 32 European countries, CVs from interested candidates, what you need to know about living and working abroad and much more brought to you by the EURES network.

Useful for people doing Surinder Singh. http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/surinder%20singh

The Greens and immigration.


Green party policy is emphatically on the side of a fair and humane migration policy. Our policy recognises that current governmental policy would rather generate inflammatory headlines than treat migrants fairly. We oppose current policy that separates families, drives away international students and that deports vulnerable asylum seekers back to places of danger. Migration is an easy scapegoat for when government is failing in its duties; we as Greens reject that mentality.

Undocumented Vietnam vet protests deportation with hunger strike.


2 million Syrians and counting.


https://twitter.com/TheRacistVan :
RT if you're in the UK illegally.

Example of anti-Roma racism from France.


The day I asked the Home Office to help me go home – to Willesden Green.


My Twitter wind-up of a billboard targeting immigrants, the same words fascists shouted at me as a child, is just the start.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Rebecca and Wes

I want a kidney from Theresa May!

'My husband, Wesley, at the age of 42, moved here to the US to marry me in 2005.  He moved here primarily because we didn't wish to relocate my teenage son.  My husband was anxious to begin a new life in America, but through the years we both began to talk about a return to the UK.  My husband's health suffers poorly in our temperature extremes, for one.  At any rate, we always felt we could "go home" when we were ready.  The Home Office would recognize our marriage as legitimate because it was more than four years old; they would require me to have a visa and  would require we have enough income or savings to support ourselves; they would cover that visa with a stamp in my American passport that said "no recourse to public funds".  This was all fine with us.  We knew before July 2012 that governments have rules and don't expect people to just waltz in.

'Now - we cannot go back to the UK together, as a married couple - unless we prove we have £62500 in savings.  Instead, we must endure a lengthy separation while my husband goes back to Britain -  finds a job earning more than £18600 - and works that job for at least another six months - before we can even file with the Home Office to be reunited.  Or - unless he can procure a job in the UK, whilst still in the US, that earns that amount, AND can prove he has earned the US equivalent of £18600 in the last year.

'My husband is a simple man.  I am the breadwinner in our family.  I have worked since I was 16 years old, and am presently the assistant to the Director of a large division (400 employees) of a mental health provider.  But my income in the US - our life and the fact we have never been on benefits in our married life - does not count towards the sponsorship requirements.  My future earning potential in the UK does not count.  My husband is what you call (in the UK) a "carer".  He attends to developmentally delayed individuals in a group day setting.  His work is valuable and necessary to society.  He is GOOD at his job - the individuals love him, and he loves them.  But it doesn't pay the US equivalent of £18600, and it would not pay £18600 in the UK.  So - the third option I listed above is out for us.  It is either have vast savings or separate and look for work.

'We would be returning to a life in Northern Ireland - the odds of my husband getting a job, in NI, in his field that pays £18600 are slim to none.  But he COULD get a job as a carer - there are plenty of those jobs out there, even in the UK's economic climate.  But those jobs, while they would pay a livable wage in Northern Ireland, are insufficient under the new rules.  The new rules don't just "punish" those who are in lower wage professions - they punish people who live outside the south of England - areas with lower wages.

'If we were to sell off our home and possessions to move to the UK, we would have approximately £20000 in savings.  Under the old rules, this would have been more than enough for the Home Office to grant me a visa.  And, IF we were so inclined to try and get benefits, that amount of money would prevent it.  Under the old rules, I could not possibly have become "a public charge".  In short - we are not "skivers and shirkers".

'My husband suffers from polycystic kidney disease.  I cannot send him back to the UK, alone, to look for work.  He is on a special diet that I am sure he would not be able to maintain as a "bachelor" living by himself.  His blood pressure requires constant monitoring.  I am his "carer" as well as his wife and partner.  Even with the NHS on hand, my husband would fall into ill health if he had to go back alone, for many months possibly a year or more, to look for work to satisfy the Home Office requirements.

'I have been active in immigration message boards across the internet for eight years now.  I advise on three boards and have written two articles for the Transpondia website.  I only mention this because I want you to know that neither I or my husband would expect any government to just blithely swing open its doors for us just because we are "in love".  We know there are always rules, and we followed those rules to bring my husband to the US.  But these measures by the current coalition government to restrict migration at the expense of families are harsh indeed.  The financial requirements are FAR more harsh than spousal visas to the United States (I would idly note that the Home Office misrepresented the US family immigration system in its consultation report to the public and to Parliament).  And I mention Internet message boards because the reaction of British expats, across those communities, is one of deep disappointment; of dismay; and sometimes of utter misery.  Many now feel "exiled" from Britain.

'Because I read the internet so much (perhaps more than I should) I know that much of the web "focus" regarding these rules has been on couples who are living apart at the moment.  In most internet writings, there is a British citizen, in the UK, who is separated from a loved one.  The issue of the Expat, abroad with their foreign spouse, gets less mention - even by groups like Migrants Rights Network.  But the new rules are just as devastating to the Expat as to a UK citizen living at home (check out the fourm "Returning to the UK" on BritishExpats.com for proof).   And in my opinion, the rules are a clever craft of the magic concept of "net migration" to keep out people who have already left.  For it feels like the British government never wants its people to return.  At least not with a non-EU spouse.

Rebecca is a regular contributor to the Transpondia online forum which focusses on international relationships : 

A British citizen has been sentenced to ill health and exile by his own government, in the name of a meaningless immigration target.

“Our native soil draws all of us, by I know not what sweetness, and never allows us to forget.”
― Ovid
Are you prevented from sponsoring an adult dependent relative because of UK's immigration rules? If so, we want to hear from you. Please contact [britcits at gmail dot com].

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Visa_requirements_by_nationality . Useful for those trying to plan a holiday with their partner - page contain maps of countries which each nationality can visit visa-free, or visa-on-arrival.

Spotted on Facebook.

This is the second time that I HAVE to say goodbye to my wife and my baby at the airport, I still do not know when will be the day we are together again and forever. Tomorrow I will have to communicate with them from skype, my baby will be coming back to interact through a screen, how much confusion it causes this? I will never know. On July 12th I received the e-mail from UKBA in Brazil, saying they have my appeal and take up to 12 weeks to review it and give us an answer. I filed the appeal documents on March 27th and apparently know the result on September 30. We do not know when we will have the opportunity for a hearing with the judge ... The money is coming out of our pockets and we can not see light at the end of the tunnel. No consolation after each bounce, not enough words to soothe this injustice, but every day I have a picture from skype with date, to show my baby that never stopped my appointment with her and her mother. Hopefully these pictures toquel judge's common sense and help our cause and hopefully soon end our ordeal. Thank you all for the support. Mucha paciencia y fuerzas a todos desde Ecuador!


I am a South African citizen that fell in love with, and married a British man. We settled in sunny Suffolk (in his home town) and I started up my own wedding cake company: CRUMB - Bespoke Suffolk Cakes. I was due to apply and receive my ILR (residency) in 2012, but just short of a month before qualifying for my ILR my husband declared an affair - with another South African woman - and left the same day. No longer being able to apply for the visa due to his absence, I have been involved in not only a divorce, but also a fight for the life that I have built up in the UK. I have paid all my dues - including taxes and NIS, and on top of my award winning business (BEST WEDDING CAKE DESIGNER IN EAST OF ENGLAND - 2013 WEDDING INDUSTRY AWARDS, I also have a full time job at a local hotel as a chef. I applied for my IRL "outside the rules of immigration", but in July 2013 my visa application was refused by the UKBA, even after submitting more than 100 letters of support with my application - and I am now at the stage of applying for an appeal. I will have to go to court in the appeal, and I am hoping to collect as much support as possible. I am now months over my original date of qualification for my UK residency and I believe I have the right to obtain a visa to let me remain in the UK. If I do not appeal, I have to apply for "voluntary removal" and I will be sent away in 21 days.  I would appreciate your help so much and I am happy to answer any other questions involved with my case!


Aldeburgh: Fight to save South African wedding cake designer Anmar Robinson from deportation.


One of pernicious aspects of the July 2012 rule changes ( http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/introduction.html ) - and one that's not often discussed - is how time to ILR is now five years (previously it was two). This puts victims of domestic violence and adultery in a most difficult situation should they try to escape their situations.

While the timeline is different, the case above does highlight this. We will see more and more of these situations over the next few years - including from women trying to escape abuse.

http://www.southallblacksisters.org.uk/ has done some campaigning on this.

Campaign is stepped up to prevent gran's deportation.


Campaigners are continuing to support a grandmother from Zimbabwe who is facing deportation.

Yesterday, friends of Evenia Mawongera presented 289 more signatures to the Border Agency, in Loughborough.

Via https://www.facebook.com/NCADC

https://twitter.com/ColinYeo1 :
Home Office definitely appealing MM minimum income High Court case. Shame, but no surprise: http://buff.ly/14gDVvx

https://twitter.com/timfarron , president of the Liberal Democrats, says :
I wholeheartedly agree with @caronmlindsay these 'Go home' posters is the politics of division. These billboards must be shredded and now.

Please take action on this.

Follow https://twitter.com/RAMFELCharity :
And now going up to Salford to talk #racistvans on BBC Breakfast

https://twitter.com/savejusticeuk :
#legalaid residence test, #racistvan & now a 'social duty' to hire Brits not migrants http://tinyurl.com/olu7gmg  Outraged? #rallyforlegalaid

Migration researchers on Twitter.


WINSTON Churchill’s great-grandson has declared war on David Cameron’s immigration policy — to save an Afghan interpreter from the Taliban.


Friday, 26 July 2013


“As a self-employed person, the rules are even more onerous…and time apart from my wife even longer.”

Ravi is a British citizen. He married his wife in early 2013, in Mauritius. Like many Brits, Ravi as it turns out, somewhat naively assumed that being a British citizen himself, having his wife with him would be a mere formality.

For Ravi, the financial requirement of £18,600 is the stumbling block. He is self-employed and his financial records for the 2012-13 tax year in their current form are unlikely to satisfy UKBA.

Allowing for solicitor and application fees in the thousands of pounds, he is of the opinion applying is not a risk worth taking, given the higher than average likelihood of refusal for those who are selfemployed.

Ravi is aware he could wait until after submitting the 2013-14 tax year accounts, making sure these would meet with UKBA approval, but that means waiting till April 2014 before he can even apply, plus the UKBA processing time which by all accounts just seems to get longer, and longer.

He is considering taking on a salaried/wage paying job paying in excess of the minimum requirement,collating 6 months of payslips and applying then. However, allowing for the time to find a job and then again the application time as well, it’s also a long time to be apart from his wife.

So he has several routes open to him. One route he is considering is Surinder Singh. He has a birthday later in the year and hopes he can have his wife with him then so this resort of self-exile is the most appealing to minimise time apart, inconvenience and cost. A route to self-exile is the only route the government has not been able to close.
Home Office announces that it will appeal the recent adverse decision on family migration income threshold.


The Home Office says :
'However, we believe matters of public policy, including the detail of how the minimum income threshold should operate, are for the Government and Parliament to determine, not the Courts. We also believe the detailed requirements of the policy are proportionate to its aims. We are therefore pursuing an appeal against the judgment.

One significant issue with the rules is the undemocratic way they were introduced per http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/introduction.html

As many are aware, the rules were brought in initially via secondary legislation, and then (when the courts ruled against this), there was an emergency debate which a handful of Lords attended (the Commons having gone into recess), discussing something the majority of them really didn't understand (with some honourable exceptions).


This hasn't been scrutinised properly by Parliament, and the APPG goes some way to remedy this.

The rules were introduced undemocratically, without a true debate as one would understand it, and yet the Home Office blabbers hypocritically about 'the will of Parliament'.

I was at a meeting (organised by a church group) in Westminster a couple of nights ago; on the agenda was family migration, the rules, their impact and an update on the campaign. One question was - how did the rules came in, how on earth did they get through? My explanation of the sequence of events caused a palpable ripple of shock in the room (not the only thing they found shocking; the sheer numbers of people affected - 47%  at least, and maybe much more if you consider the impossible evidential requirements - was shocking to many. That people could be asked to leave the country after 2 1/2 years was shocking too (I quote from Lord Taylor of Holbeach's letter to Baroness Smith - 'Where a couple cannot meet the financial requirement at a later application stage, for example because of redundancy, the migrant will no longer qualify... [and] will be required to leave the UK). The discriminatory nature of the rules - the impact falls on everyone, but some more than others. And on and on.

I also had to explain to a woman who approached me at the end that it may be advisable for her adult son to postpone starting a family in case he fell foul of the rules which have an additional income requirement for children. Inhuman.

The undemocratic nature of the rules does make people sit up. We come back to the point that it is important to lobby politicians because - as we've seen with family migrations - the government can be very devious about bringing in radical changes under the radar.


In the meantime, grassroots campaigning, hearts and minds, lobbying politicians and persuading people to lobby, and providing support to those affected is key.

This should serve as a caution for those involved in other campaigns (such as legal aid, and NHS care) for how devious and ruthless this government can be.
Spotted on Facebook #surindersingh

'My family and I made it back into the UK,we arrived at Dublin airport at 5am ... we made our way to the baggage and visa desk,a 17 year old looked at my wife's visa for a second and then added a colour sticker to her pre printed boarding pass,we then made our way onto the plane with the anticipation of some one stopping us and checking my wife's visa to make sure it was all correct, we were looking forward to it in fact, (we wanted our day in court!) so as we touched down we were surprised to find that there were no checks at all in Birmingham,I guess the 17 year olds sticker was sufficient in Dublin, the fact that we were arriving from Ireland meant that there is no need for any immigration control/ check.

'Feels fantastic to be home and very surreal at the same time, for all you doing the EU route keep your heads strong and before you know it you will be touching down on UK soil, now for a normal family life !'

Court rejects UK gov attempt to send transplant patient to her death.


In London today judges rejected an appeal by Home Secretary Theresa May to deport a kidney-transplant patient to certain death in Nigeria. May had sought to overturn decisions by two judges permitting Roseline Akhalu stay in the UK.

Victory for Rose in Immigration Appeal Court!


“We are overjoyed with today’s judgment. Roseline has had to endure months of needless worry and anxiety because of this groundless and expensive appeal by the Home Secretary, which has aggravated Rose’s fragile health condition. We really hope that the Home Office now has the sense to admit defeat so that Rose can get on with her life and continue contributing to her community as she has been doing for so many years.”

Previously :

Shame on you, Theresa May.

What happened to history's refugees? #fascinating


People have been forced to leave their countries since the very notion of a country was created. We take a look at some of the largest human movements in history to find out why people left their homes, where they went and what became of them.

Trolling the racist van.


One objector, who goes by the name Pukkah Punjabi on Twitter, told HuffPostUK she had called the number and asked to be taken home to Willesden, north west London.

"I did keep them on the phone for a while but I'm not sure she was fooled because of my distinctly London accent," she told HuffPost UK.

https://twitter.com/robfordmancs :
Well done Home Office,you've found immigration policy everyone agrees on: They all agree "go home" vans are idiotic

https://twitter.com/sunny_hundal :
Absolute genius. @PukkahPunjabi winds up the Home Office #racistvan number. Try it yourself! pic.twitter.com/iwMPm1PgoF

https://twitter.com/EiriOhtani :
Please stop the #GoHome vans in London immediately. You are destroying community relations. #nooneisillegal #text78070

'Go home' ad campaign targeting illegal immigrants faces court challenge.

Britain has often received acclaim for its tolerant nature however, that tolerance appears to be running low when it comes to immigration. UK Immigration Barristers investigates why British natives have voiced their opposition to immigration.


https://twitter.com/sjplep :
Compare climate in UK now with US 1990s eg California proposition 187 1994.
Similar nativist sentiment but demography, economics, technology are game changers.
UK years behind but public opinion WILL catch up with our global future. Our job to help it along!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_187_%281994%29 - a 1994 ballot initiative to establish a state-run citizenship screening system and prohibit illegal aliens from using health care, public education, and other social services in the U.S. State of California. Voters passed the proposed law as a referendum in November 1994; it was the first time that a state had passed legislation related to immigration, customarily an issue for federal policies and programs. #soundfamiliar

https://twitter.com/johnstuadams :
I don't wish to "tolerate" people coming here, I wish to welcome them

https://twitter.com/donflynnmrn :
It's official! Migrant domestics who complain about abusive employers are told to pack up and leave the country!

Europe’s culture capital builds segregation wall.


Two boat tragedies leave migrants dead and missing off Europe’s shores.


https://twitter.com/ASRC1 :
2,637,434 Number of Afghan #refugees & #asylum seekers globally.
Number of Afghans who came by boat to Australia 2011-12: 3,363

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Rachel & Ahmed

“We haven’t applied for a spouse visa yet..the new rules have left us fearful and in a kind of limbo.”

Rachel is a 23 year old British citizen, a university student reading Arabic and Art History. She is married to Ahmed, from Egypt.

As part of her degree Rachel had the option of spending a year abroad in Egypt, Palestine or Jordan. She opted for Egypt as three years previously she had visited Cairo to assess the suitability of her degree, where she met Ahmed during a flat search.

After Rachel left Egypt they kept in touch via Skype and three months later, she was visiting him in Egypt once again. Three months after that, he came to stay with Rachel and her family in Cornwall for Christmas. Since then, they haven't gone for longer than 3 months without seeing each other, be it in Cairo, during term-time in London or with Rachel’s family in Cornwall.

When they got engaged, they planned to marry during Rachel’s year abroad because a lot of her friends from university would be able to attend and balance out Ahmed’s big family at the wedding!

Rachel had heard about some new changes to the rules at the time, but didn't really think anything of it – she assumed it would be higher application fees or the like. She never expected they would raise the income threshold to £18,600 p.a. and restrict financial support. Indeed, a friend who had married an Egyptian was allowed to have her parents as providers of third party support for his visa (this was before July 2012). As they knew Rachel would have her final year at university to complete, Rachel was also relying on her parents to do the same (and they were happy to), with Ahmed staying with Rachel during her last year in London.


Rachel is on course for a first-class degree and fairly confident of her earning potential after she graduates – however she firmly believes it should not just be her capacity to work and earn a decent salary which should count. She finds it frustrating that neither the spouse's earning potential nor his financial situation are taken into account.

If the government is so keen to ensure no burden on taxpayer, then given Ahmed will already have a clear ‘no recourse to public funds’ in his passport – surely it’s his financials which should be taken into account?

The same company that Ahmed works for in Egypt are currently advertising for the same job in England, with an annual salary of £36,000 - this is obviously much, much higher than the company pays their employees in Egypt.

Ahmed is qualified, has a good command of English and therefore good job prospects, which would be of great help to Rachel as a final year university student, in terms of rent and other expenses which Ahmed would help out with.

Rachel has never claimed benefits and has no interest in doing so, either. Both their families are able to help them out should they find themselves in a difficult situation – so no reason why third party support should not count.

After three years of going back and forth - though their relationship is more than worth all the travel they have endured – they are tired. They want to be able to plan their future but at the moment, in addition to the political instability in Egypt, everything seems so uncertain.

At present they’re applying for Ahmed’s family visit visa so at least he can come and visit Rachel while she is at university.

Rachel considered putting off her studies to go down the Surinder Singh route, but that would pose an unnecessary financial burden – without much of a time saving on her completed her degree and going straight into employment.

She has however postponed her decision to do a Master's degree!

Political instability in Egypt aside, Rachel needs to be in the UK. Her Dad passed away, and she is the only child and grandchild. While the government claim she can exercise her right to a family life with her husband elsewhere, what about her Mum and Nana's right to a family life especially when her Nana is not able to travel?

It does seem to this couple, that in their aim to bring down net migration, not only is the government keeping foreigners out of the country, but trying to encourage British citizens to leave too.

Rachel and Ahmed married in March 2013. After spending an amazing nine months in Egypt, it's been hard readjusting to life back in the UK without her husband. She barely feels like a newly-wed!

She considered staying back in Egypt for the summer, but thought it would be best to come back and work and try to earn as much money as possible to put aside for the future. Ahmed is doing the same in Egypt.

It really is demoralising to know that despite the no recourse to public funds, the couple may not be able to start to build their lives together until at least a year from now.

It has put pressure on Rachel to find a job immediately after she graduates, which in the current climate of internships and focus on the importance of gaining experience (i.e. an acceptable form of unpaid employment) it is difficult for her to remain optimistic - but it's all they can do in the face of these new rules.
Surinder Singh template letter

Spotted on Facebook! Shared in the spirit of fair use and education for those considering the EEA route.

Memo to Cameron: immigrants aren't a "constant drain" on the UK - they're the reverse.

The truth is that migrants contribute far more in taxes than they receive in benefits and services.


https://twitter.com/migrants_rights :
“Go home or face arrest”: the UK government’s latest anti-foreigner stunt http://j.mp/13E3gUb  Guest Blog on our Migration Pulse section

https://twitter.com/APPGMigration :
Farage condemns 'nasty, Big Brother' Home Office campaign which asks illegal immigrants to 'go home' http://dailym.ai/144YwtK  via @MailOnline

https://twitter.com/MRCF_london :
send complaint about the #racistsvan to your MP, to the HO http://bit.ly/12NE3U2  & the Advertising Standards Agency http://bit.ly/19jYyyR

https://twitter.com/MartinRuhs :
Immigration policies as control of the poor. Bridget Anderson's new book "Us and Them" looks very interesting http://goo.gl/0H3Ojm

Attacks on migrants, and on the working classes, are linked :

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


“My daughter can’t leave the country and her husband can’t remain here..what about their innocent son..why  should a British child be forced to live without a parent?”

Lorraine is a British citizen. She is also a mother to a British citizen, Emma, and a grandmother to a British citizen, Aymane. Her son-in-law, Driss, happens to be Moroccan. And herein lies the source of the battle this family has been waging with UKBA for months now.

Emma met Driss and as has been happening since the beginning of time, this young couple fell in love. They got married and several months later Lorraine received the wonderful news she was to be a grandma.

Lorraine and her husband visited Emma and Driss in Morocco. They were horrified to see their daughter living with no electricity or running water; sleeping on a floor. Certainly no place for Emma to be in during her pregnancy.

For various reasons, Lorraine’s daughter returned to the UK to give birth, assured she’d be looked after by her mum through the rest of the pregnancy. While the entire family was delighted, they were more so when Driss received a visit visa to be with Emma for the birth of their first child

Lorraine’s gorgeous little grandson was born in September 2012, and Lorraine doesn’t have the words to explain how much she loves and cherishes him. He is her world and she’d go to the end of it for him.

While it was never Emma’s intention to remain in the UK, shortly after giving birth she became disabled – diagnosed with severe arthritis. Much of Lorraine’s time is spent with Emma - helping and supporting her. It is not possible for Emma to return to living in basics with her health as is – without her mum to help her.

Emma is currently having chemotherapy to suppress her immune system attacking her joints. She therefore needs full time care which she receives from her husband, and Lorraine when she isn’t working. Emma is unable to leave the country. And UKBA have told Driss he isn’t allowed to remain in the country.

Surely everyone is entitled to a family life, Lorraine asks... Why should her grandson be left without a daddy ?

Lorraine’s daughter and son-in-law have appealed for him to stay in the UK; the fate of this family is currently in the hands of UKBA. It is impossible for Emma to earn £18,600. Lorraine would always support her daughter, son-in-law and grandson financially. There is no reason this family would be a burden on the taxpayer - if only the government would let them remain a family.

What are the consequences of minimum income requirement for family migrants in the UK?


A new minimum income requirement for UK citizen to sponsor a non-EEA spouse, partner and child to live with them in the UK came into force in July 2012. Emerging evidence on the new rules suggests that this have impacted on a wide range of people. Those who cannot meet the minimum income requirement are being forced to relocate, make significant sacrifices to meet the threshold or face indefinite separation from family members.

BritCits meetups scheduled London and Glasgow.

Please attend to share stories & ideas.


This evening, a good meeting with good people : https://twitter.com/LondonChurches - in Westminster Central Methodist Hall, which also hosted the first meeting of the UN General Assembly in 1946 - talking about immigration, divided families, health, the law and the awful billboard vans.
With https://twitter.com/EiriOhtani and https://twitter.com/ZrileB

I urge you to follow and contribute to Migrants and the NHS :


The Government consultation on charging for NHS care has now been launched and you can find all the associated documentation and response portal here.  Running along side this is a Home Office consultation entitled ‘Controlling Immigration – Regulating Migrant Access to Health Services in the UK‘.  The Department of health have said that they will transfer relevant responses from their consultation to the Home Office consultation but if you can fill in both that would be best.  If you are based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland the Home Office consultation is the best one to respond to.

The consultation will run until August 28th, and is into “migrants’ access and financial contribution to the NHS”. Among other things it proposes ending “free access to primary care for all visitors and tourists” and introducing “more practical and easier ways for the NHS to identify whether someone is not eligible for free healthcare”.

This consultation needs a strong response on public health, economic and humane grounds. What is being proposed could also radically affect the health professionals relationship with their patients.


https://twitter.com/hey_preston :
Who in their right mind deliberately separates a husband and wife? Or a mother/father from their children?

UK Border Agency accused of deporting victims of Female Genital Mutilation.


Two women facing deportation by the UK Border Agency to Sierra Leone and The Gambia are at risk of persecution in their home countries because they refuse to carry out Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), according to a human rights group.

Campaign group Movement for Justice by Any Means Necessary (MFJ) will hold a demonstration in support of Josephine Komeh and Maimuna Jawo outside the Home Office in Westminster, central London, from 12pm-1pm on Tuesday.

https://twitter.com/EiriOhtani :
Have you texted 78070 to protest against the Home Office's #GoHome billboards in London? I am still waiting a call back. #nooneisillegal

https://twitter.com/BritCits :
BritCits member to via sms:I saw billboard warning offering to send me home.I must come clean.Im here illegally.Im from Hawaii

https://twitter.com/migrants_rights :
@RefugeeAction put out a statement on the Home Office #GoHome ad, which is separate from their Choices programme

Spotted on Facebook :

From the Jewish Museum in London.

It is a letter written in 1926 to the Home Office, by someone in London who wants to bring in their (Jewish) sister in law from Poland.

It states that they have permission to be in the UK, and will be providing accommodation for the family member, and that they will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep while they are in the country, and that they will be sure the sister in law does not 'fall a burden on any charity, or become a public charge.'

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Council 'horrified' over scheme for immigrants to go.

Adverts telling illegal immigrants to go home show little has changed in the UK since Enoch Powell's rivers of blood speech.

 Even Delboy would not stoop to such depths.

Teather slams Home Office “Go Home” billboards as “straightforward intimidation”.

https://twitter.com/ColinYeo1 :
Unbelievable. Harper of @ukhomeoffice here describes the 'go home' campaign as 'dignified': http://bit.ly/1bd1uiz

https://twitter.com/EiriOhtani :
.@ukhomeoffice Please stop the #GoHome vans in London immediately. You are destroying community relations. #nooneisillegal #text78070

https://twitter.com/EiriOhtani :
Have you texted 78070 to protest against the Home Office's #GoHome billboards in London? I am still waiting a call back. #nooneisillegal

https://twitter.com/MigrantVoiceUK :
If you don't like the Home Office's #GoHome vans why not text an alternative message to 78070

https://twitter.com/SeemaChandwani :
Omg, when my Dad came to this country ppl graffitted saying 'Go Home' now the UK gov are! Is this a joke


Have you seen this van in Redbridge?

This government thinks it is appropriate to try to gain support by turning us against some of the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us. I think the Conservatives are trying to make fools of us.

https://twitter.com/BritCits :
Flashback on treatment of international students..forced to queue up all night in chilly weather

https://twitter.com/migrants_rights :
The response from the Prime Minister's office regarding our petition to Number 10 on #familymigration. pic.twitter.com/EVwC642JwS


https://twitter.com/MigrantVoiceUK :
Should 'illegal' immigrants be rebranded as 'irregular' immigrants? The UN thinks so via @Telegraph http://fw.to/gG3zWyi

https://twitter.com/BritCits immigrant of the day : 

New immigration laws hinder some married expats returning to UK.


“This is totally unacceptable”, she said, and added that she feels angry, sad, stressed, rejected and bitter.

“I feel exiled from my own country. It’s crazy”, she said. “We have always planned on moving back to the UK. It’s important for our children to experience life in both Japan and the UK in order to fully understand who they are, form relationships with both extended families, and have enough language competence in both Japanese and English”.

Hudson said she has no choice but to remain in Japan for the foreseeable future, but hopes that rules might change.

“It’s very depressing not to have the choice to return to my own country when I need to”, she said. “When I married my husband, I never imagined the consequences would be to lose my right to a family life in the UK”, she added.
Questions an American spouse of Brit citizen, with ILR was asked on return from a week's holiday in France. #impertinent #inappropriate #comedygold #whatcenturyisthis #specialrelationship

'I flew from Gatwick airport, England to Nice Airport,
France, for my one week holiday with some girlfriends from NYC - We all met there. When I entered France, I handed the immigration officer my American passport, and he stamped me in, and said, 'Bonjour, enjoy your stay.'

'Not ONE question asked. I was not asked how long I was staying, where I was going, if I had a return ticket... Nothing.

'When I returned to the UK, at the same airport I left from, I had an entirely different welcome...

'I walked up to his little tupperware booth, and I handed him my American passport, and my BRP permit, or ILR card, which is proof that I have paid an insane amount of money, and been checked out so deeply that Theresa May has most likely personally sniffed my underwear, and I have been PRE-Approved to be in this country, as the spouse of a British citizen, for as long as I freakin' feel like it, and, THIS IS WHAT I WAS ASKED:

1/ "Do you presently reside in the uk?'

2/ 'Why are you residing in the UK?'

3/ "Is your British spouse travelling with you today?'

4/ 'When did your residency in the UK begin?'

5/ 'When did you receive your BRP card?'

6/ 'How long have you been out of the UK on this trip?'

7/ 'How long have you been out of the UK on other trips since you arrived in the UK as the spouse of a British citizen?'

8/ 'Did your British husband travel with you on those trips?'

9/ 'What are the dates and length of those trips?'

10/ 'Are the two trips to France the only trips you have taken without your British spouse?'

11/ 'Do you spend weekends in the UK with your British spouse?'

12/ 'Where is your British husband now? Is he collecting you?'

13/ 'Why did you travel abroad on two occasions without your British spouse?'

14/ 'Did you travel abroad with someone else?'

15/ "Who did you travel with?'

16/ 'How long have you known them?'

17/ "What is the nature of your relationship with these people?'

18/ 'Are you either physically or romantically involved with any of the people you have been abroad with?'

19/ 'How often do you plan to leave the UK?'

20/ 'Is your British spouse aware that you left the UK?'

21/ 'Are you still residing with your British spouse?'

22/ 'What is the address?'

23/ 'Are you employed?'

24/ 'What is the place of your employment?'

25/ 'Are you carrying anything on this list of prohibited items?'

26/ 'What was the purpose of your trip abroad?'

27/ 'Do you and your British spouse regularly holiday without each other?'

28/ 'We need your fingerprints for the purposes of immigration. Would you please place your fingers on the red line?'

And then, when all was said and done, he said, are your ready... Wait for it...

'Enjoy your visit to the UK.'

My... Visit? My VISIT?! Enjoy my VISIT to the UK?

Um, I live here.

I thought we just established that fact, like, 6 times... ?

How about... WELCOME HOME?

Can they legally ask me all of those questions?

I mean, I guess they can... But, duh, he had half of the information he was asking for in his hands. He had my passport, so he could see when I have left the country, and he had my spouse visa in it, with dates on it, and he had my BRP card...

Grrrr... Nice, huh?

I literally stood there writing them down on my magazine. After each question, he stared at me for like 8 seconds, then he entered the info into his computer, slowly, so I noted down what he asked me while he did that.



A confused government -  by Sonel Mehta

David Cameron has spent a great deal of public money and time wooing Indian citizens to work and study in the UK; asking them to bring their business, money and skills.  ‘We’re open for business’ he said, in an attempt to allay the concerns, held rightly so, of UK’s unwelcoming attitude towards migrants.  Even where the migrants were temporary (e.g. student visitors) whose impression of UK had already been tainted by the London Met fiasco and tales of international students having to line up overnight to register with the police;  and news of those legally resident here and even our own citizens being sent text messages telling them they were here illegally and therefore must leave!

Just when maybe the UK’s reputation as open for business was seeping through, came the Home office announcement of a £3000 bond for visitors from select countries (including India and unsurprisingly countries which just happen to be all non-“white”).  A policy which so clearly flirts with racial discrimination I’d like to think it has not been thought through – it has become very much a case of one step forward, ten steps back.   Australians are notorious for violating the conditions of their visa, especially those on a working holiday.  I’m Australian myself - I don’t want it to apply to us. But are we spared because we are a “white” country? Hmm.

Even putting aside the issues around liquidity and currency fluctuations associated with such a bond, I question the competence of a government which makes announcements (surely, but surely, Cameron didn’t approve of it) so frequently requiring backtracking and qualification... bedroom tax, landlord checks on migrants, fracking, open source software and even immigration.   Almost as if statements are rushed out to assess their viability based on the media response.

There have since the initial announcement, been murmurs from the government that this policy will only apply to “high-risk visitors”,  in response to outrage from the selected countries including a tit-for-tat policy and accusations of racism.   

As a pick’n’mix policy I don’t see how it could work.  A “high-risk” visitor is unlikely to obtain a visa to enter UK in the first place. If they do manage to do so, £3000 is a small price to stay here illegally.   So will the £3000 bond actually apply to anyone or is it just another disastrous, or successful depending on how you view the net migration target, PR move to deter migrants from coming to the UK?

Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse..that they’d realise the error of their ways, we were greeted with another announcement by the Home Office on their contracting of vans carrying billboards encouraging undocumented migrants to leave the country. How?  Such people must sms a number for information on how to leave the country, else risk facing arrest.  They state that the government ‘could’   (note the use of a conditional word) provide financial help in the return home.    It screams of a government wanting to appear to be tough, rather than one actually having a policy which works; a fair policy with a positive impact on our economy and people.

Those in the UK illegally wishing to return to their home country, could do so easily. There are no exit checks and even if there were, why would they prevent anyone from leaving?  Those wishing to return home are unlikely to wish to flag their situation to the government by sending them an sms.  If they wanted to leave, and wanted help doing so, there was nothing preventing them from going and turning themselves in to the authorities.

I’m just bemused.  I'm curious to see what information is provided to people who respond, but if I send an SMS to this number will I be hounded on how I must leave the country or risk facing arrest? Will UKBA officers turn up at my door (my phone is registered to my home address) even though I am a British citizen?  Would those who use the number constantly need to be wary of a tap on the shoulder? Surely, if they send an sms they’re just alerting the authorities to their presence here, which they could easily do by turning themselves in, if they really wanted to leave? Does compliance with this prevent the 10 year ban overstayers are threatened with? Would it not be worth just waiting out for the amnesty after 20 years residence, be it legal or illegal?

What is the Home Office thinking with this strategy, or is it just that they have such an exceedingly high budget they’re looking to supplement the splurging of appealing judicial decisions to overturn UKBA visa refusals, where the rules are found to be onerous or applied illegally, by now wasting our money on moving billboards reminiscent of 1984?