"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 17 April 2015

BritCits United Family of the Week - Katie & Cliff

Katie & Cliff

"What couple wants to spend twelve months - maybe more - living apart?!"

Katie is a British citizen directly affected by the new immigration rules. She moved to Cape Town, South Africa, in February 2010 to be with her partner, Cliff, a South African. He visited England on three separate occasions but has never lived in the UK. They got married in October 2010 in Cape Town after a 3-year relationship.

Katie’s father passed away in April 2012 after a long battle with cancer. Katie and Cliff feel now is the right time to move to the UK to be with her mother, living alone in Norfolk and needing support of her family.

Katie is a qualified primary school teacher with three years full-time experience. She is also a qualified Health and Social Care worker, having gained an NVQ Level 3. Cliff has many years’ experience in the finance sector and has just gained his degree in Business Administration. They both have skills and experience to offer the UK.

In the course of their research, they were shocked by implications of the new rules. They meet the criteria for a settlement visa however, believe the financial requirements to be absurd and incredibly harsh. Katie already has a UK offer of employment and there is no need to rely on public funding.

Katie has been working in Cape Town as an au pair for the past two and a half years, earning a reasonable salary. However, taking the fluctuating exchange rate into account and the fact that salaries are considerably lower in South Africa, it has not been possible for her to command an £18,600 gross annual salary. She is aware of the need for savings to cover the shortfall in salary but the amounts of money are totally absurd – how many people have tens of thousands of pounds lying around in cash that they don’t need to rely on for five years!

Katie has been told by an immigration consultant that she, as her husband's British sponsor, must take full financial responsibility, a situation which seems totally hopeless at the moment. She has also been told that, under the current rules, she will have to work for six or more months in the UK in order to earn the required salary while her husband remains in South Africa.

What married couple wants to spend six to twelve months living in separate countries? Where is the logic in these new changes?!

Katie is livid that virtually overnight people are expected to have thousands of pounds in savings if they do not meet the annual gross salary requirement which she finds ridiculous as it will cause many families to break up if forced to live separately!


1)    In early 2013, Katie was successful in obtaining a job paying over £18,600.  The couple had to wait 6 months (to gather required payslips) before applying for the spouse visa.  During the months apart, Katie & Cliff felt lucky to spend 3 weeks together when Katie visited Cape Town. “It was amazing to share quality time together” with November 2013 seeing Cliff finally granted a spouse visa and the couple spending Christmas together.

2)    Cliff joined several job agencies and after many interviews, in February 2014 secured a job in the finance department of an oil and gas company. A job he loves and has settled into well.
Despite the uncertainty around future visa applications, the couple decided to try for a baby.

3)    Caleb Thomas Frazer was born on 26th August 2014. The new parents are totally in love with their little man and feel blessed to have him in their live at a time when they had already overcome so many other hurdles.

4)    Cliff's visa is only for 2.5years so it is still at the back of our minds and they are aware they will have to start saving again soon in order to cover the costs of next application.
Although Katie is on maternity leave thankfully Cliff is in a job which pays over the £18,600 threshold.

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