"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.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Andy & Molly....Dylan & Devon - Featured Family

“My poor boys. First their mummy leaves them and now their daddy.  They don't deserve this.”

Situation: Married for 6 years, has 2 children with his wife, Molly. Doesn’t meet the income criteria, so having to be a single parent. A new job which would satisfy the income criteria means he is travelling a lot and therefore unable to live with his kids. What does this mean? A British husband apart from his wife and children. British children forced to live apart from their mummy and daddy...

British citizen, Andy, has been happily married for six years, and he and his wife, from China, have been patiently waiting for him to find the golden job paying £18,600 so that they can once again be reunited as a family.

This has proven to be extremely difficult, despite his qualifications and experience, and so this law abiding and devoted couple have been forced to separate, leaving Andy to act as a single parent to their two infant children in Somerset.  There are no words to fully convey the stress this family has been under, with Andy trying to find a well-paid job that will, hopefully, reunite his family.

The family the night before Molly left the UK

During Molly’s last visit Andy wrote to MP David Laws asking if there was any way he could help extend Molly’s stay, because Andy stood more chance of finding a high-paying job if she were here looking after the children. David did not reply and so Molly returned to China, rather than overstay her visa.

Two weeks later Andy received a letter from Mark Harper, Minister for Immigration, claiming Molly attempted to deceive UKBA by visiting her husband & children:
‘If the immigration officer at port of entry had known this, she would have been refused entry on this basis’.

This is because apparently she should have applied for a spouse visa rather than a visitor visa; however, at that time, they were genuinely only intending to visit for a family reunion as Andy’s brother was visiting the UK at that time with his Canadian wife and their newborn daughter.

Despite leaving UK within the six months allowed under a visitor visa, by applying as a visitor rather than a spouse, according to Mark Harper, Molly ‘deceived’ the UK Border Agency, and this alleged deception means that she cannot visit UK for ten years, even though she has proved she is not an 'over-stayer'.  David Laws confirmed that Harper's stamp of deception would remain in Molly’s file, leaving this poor couple to face the reality that they would remain separated unless and until Andy could find a high paying job.

They all miss each other so much and while there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel, with Andy receiving a job offer paying over the threshold (which should in theory qualify him to sponsor Molly six months down the line), it raises location and their children as major issues.  So, the family faces further heartbreak over the next six months.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhHpaq4KBxY

 The job is in Cornwall, 3 hours away from home in Somerset where the boys are settled in school and playgroup. As his job involves travelling, Andy would need a live-in child-carer. He can’t cope with the thought of another person taking the place of his sweetheart and the children's mummy – another woman the kids would be looking up to as a mum.

Taking everything into account they have decided that the boys should stay with their grandparents temporarily, while Andy is working and until a better solution can be found. Andy will see them as many weekends as possible, but he won't be able to spend the school holidays with them, read them a bedtime story, tuck them into bed or be there to soothe away any nightmares.

Andy’s job began in late October and so, exactly six months later, on his eldest child’s sixth birthday, the couple believes they should qualify to begin the application process for a spouse visa. By this time the family will have spent nearly 8 months apart; including Christmas, and all their birthdays.
The children have already stopped attempting to speak Chinese and it breaks Andy’s heart that his kids are losing their heritage and that memories are being created without their mother being a part of them.

If Molly was here, they’d be moving to Cornwall together, as a strong happy family, but instead they’re being split up in a scenario reminiscent of Australia’s Stolen Generation – a disastrous episode in that country's history. Have we learnt nothing from past mistakes?

Andy is tired and desperately sad, yet somehow finding the energy to stay strong.

“I miss my wife so much and feel so heartbroken for her having to explain to friends, family, neighbours and colleagues, why she cannot be with her loving husband and sweet little boys. She’s so brave, so patient and trusting that someday we’ll be reunited.  I’m so very proud of her.”

Who with a modicum of decency could break up this family? British MPs could and therefore do.

With the 8 hour time difference the boys only get to Skype their mummy at weekends. A clearly demoralised Andy says:  “Devon (3) now calls us ‘Computer Mummy and Daddy’”

UPDATE: Molly successfully applied for the spouse visa relying on Andy's income. The family is now reunited and living in Bath. The kids are very happy to have their mummy there for real-life cuddles.

A useful guide on how to talk about immigration.

Author/Source : British Future  http://www.britishfuture.org/articles/how-to-talk-about-immigration/.

British Future has published a useful guide on how to talk about immigration.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

EU Ruling to impact on European Free Movement and the right to residence?

Source : BBC News with Analysis by Europe correspondent Chris Morris
The ruling

Today the European Court of Justice gave its ruling on a case that could have a wide ranging impact on European Free Movement. 

"The European Court of Justice has said member states are within their rights to refuse to give financial help to unemployed EU citizens who move to that country just to claim benefits".

The most concerning part of the ruling could be the part relating to the right of residency.
"The Court also said Ms Dano and her son could not claim a right of residence in Germany because they do not have sufficient resources to support themselves"

It could pave the way for even more restrictions to be announced before the end of the year.
"The BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith said the government - which has often been at odds with the European Court of Justice in the past - was hailing the ruling as evidence the UK and Germany were on the "same page" when it came to benefit abuses and could pave the way for further restrictions in the coming months."
"The prime minister has said he wants to go further and will set out his plans in a speech before the end of the year, amid pressure from Conservative backbenchers to act."

Since posting this yesterday there are now further sources and links to articles now that the press, legal community and the spin doctors have read the ruling:-







Update 20 Nov 2014

It has now been a week since this came out and has been widely hyped and spun by the press in the anti-immigration climate that has developed in the run up to the Rochester by-election that happens today.

So how much of this has been hyped or distorted by the press, spin doctors and politicians? 

Our learned friends at the freemovement blog have been spending a lot of time looking at the facts, analysing the possible implications and cutting through the media spin and hype to bring us an objective view of what if any impact this will have.

A big thank you to them for making this widely available to everyone.

EuLawAnalysis blog has also done an article about the historical context of the judgement.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Divided families in the news

Sources :Torquay Herald Express, Burton Mail, Cornish Guardian

The extent of the effect of family division rules is highlighted by these recent news stories, which have been covered in the local press. It would be good for national media and national politicians to join the dots to see how widespread these stories are - thousands upon thousands of families affected or divided.

My own experience, after 2 1/2 years of campaigning and working with divided families, is that the local news media does a very good job of picking up on the stories of those affected - which can then be relayed to the national media or by campaigning MPs, as some of the stories on this blog attest. I'd suggest to anyone affected that approaching the local newspaper or local radio station is a very effective way of getting your story out there and building momentum for your campaign.


Torquay Herald Express : Brixham family 'could be torn apart by immigration rules'


'Andrew Wade, 42, has been married to his wife Kingdao, a Thai national, for five years and has three children with her. But he fears his family could be devastated by bureaucracy and immigration rules as her visa to stay in the UK is soon to run out.'


Burton Mail : Family ripped apart by laws campaigns to reunite children with their father


'Her husband, Omer, should be there with her and their two daughters, but, instead, he is stuck in one of the most dangerous places in the world, almost 3,000 miles away.'

Related - Christine and Ziad : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/ziad
Nusrin and Shafik : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/shafik
Posts on divided families and the situation in Syria : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/syria


Cornish Guardian : Polzeath family faces being torn apart due to immigration battle


... "The rules need to be readdressed by Theresa May and the Home Office," she said. "The disproportionately high financial requirements serve only to filter out the rich from the poor and put a price on love and happiness.'

More stories of divided families : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/stories