"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.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Sarah & Angelina

“All we want is to live our lives together, as a married couple.”

Sarah is a British citizen who first met her partner, Angelina three years ago when she went to work at a USA summer camp in Texas. They are both 25 year old graduates.

The couple began their relationship a year later, when Sarah returned to the same summer camp, and after reviewing their options, both decided to both apply for a year's work visa to live and work in Canada, as neither USA nor UK allowed the other to apply for any a temporary work permit.

They lived in Canada happily. Although both on minimum wage jobs, this was sufficient for them to live in rented accommodation comfortably; they could afford basic luxuries without any sort of dependency on the government or anyone else. They planned to marry in the UK, but the visa conditions (just to get married there, not for settlement) were so expensive and onerous that they decided it was easier and cheaper to marry in Canada. They did, in a beautiful low-key ceremony in Victoria, British Columbia.

Having thought about it long and hard, and discussed it between them, both agreed but in both our minds we decided that living in the UK would be a happier life for both of us, for various reasons.

Angelina joined Sarah in the UK in July 2013. They planned that Sarah would find a job paying £18,600, and after six months, they would get moving with the paperwork that would let Angelina stay here, and finally begin their lives together with some permanence.

Sarah was even then concerned with the difficulties around obtaining a job paying over £18,600 at entry level and wrote to her Conservative MP, Charles Walker. His response was that he could not possibly imagine opposing these rules, and that she should turn her attention to getting a job as soon as possible. Charles did however eventually relent and wrote to the immigration minister when Sarah pointed out that this threshold was even harder for a single mum to meet.

Now Sarah and Angelina are three months into their time here, and despite applying for many jobs, Sarah is no further to gainful employment than when she began looking. Every recruitment agency she has liaised with has indicated that her experience will not get her this salary; every day marks more time that she will have to be apart from her wife.

Feedback from four interviews was ‘lack of relevant experience’ which is difficult to get without a job. A job that pays over £18,600.

The couple grows increasingly desperate for options as the job rejections roll in every day, and it becomes increasingly apparent that Sarah may not be suitable just yet for anything that meets the threshold.

What makes it increasingly frustrating is that Sarah’s parents are more than happy to be co-signers of any paperwork – to be their guarantors. However the Home Office has this is not an option. The fact that Angelina's work history, which is much more impressive than Sarah’s (although still not enough to make her eligible for a Tier 2 visa) is not taken into account is baffling, and just another barrier. It just seems that this is an impossible task for a British citizen to be able to sponsor their wife; the person they love.

Despite the heartbreak, stress and intense pressure this situation has brought upon her life, Sarah finds it comforting to know there is a support base for those in exactly the same, or even worse situations than she and Angelina find themselves in.


  1. I am a true blue, conservative means freedom.

    Theresa May has not gone far enough. £18,600 is too low a figure. And it should be extended to people who are British and live in this country. Why are these young people having babies when they cannot afford them. The state has to give them benefits, tax credits, family credits, family allowance and housing benefits, council tax benefits. I would not stop couples from marrying, but even if you are British, if you are earning less the £18,600 you should not be allowed to have children.

    As soon as you find out you are pregnant you should be given a means test, similar to the spouse visa, to show you are in a genuine relationship, and your partner is earning over the £18,600 or it should be termination of the pregnancy.

    The conservative party is getting too soft. We need a more aggressive approach to people who become a tax burden even though you are british and born here.

    1. I believe that your proposition of forced abortions for the poor is an attempt at satire. China's one child policy springs to mind. Though I also believe there are some on the right wing who might secretly agree with you.

  2. Question on your plan Anon :

    What happens when those who could afford those children at the time lose thei jobs in the future? Are the children then taken by social services or put into internment camps until the income level is reached again. Or do we just terminate those children immediately?

    "Mr and Mrs Smith: Because Mrs Smith's pregnancy has reached the point where she's legally required to finish work and claim maternity pay, the loss of Mrs Smith's employment income means that you fall below the income requirement for raising children. Your children will be taken into custody immediately and your unborn child terminated. Due to the termination of your unborn child, you will not be requiring maternity pay and will therefore return to work immediately. You may reapply for the return of your 2 children once you have met the income requirement for 6 months starting from now."

    Not going to wash, is it?