"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 16 October 2015

BritCits Divided Family of the Week - Alex H

"My grandma is alone in Kazakhstan"

Alex is a British citizen who moved to the UK with his mum about ten years ago, as a child.  His mother is a British citizen and lives here with Alex’s stepfather, also British.

Since living here, Alex and his mum have fully integrated into the UK. It’s their home, they both work full-time, pay their taxes, National Insurance and have revoked their Kazakh citizenships as well.

Their ties with Kazakhstan exist by way of Alex’s grandmother, who at 69 lives alone there. Although Alex and his mum make regular visits to her, and send her money to pay for her living expenses, it’s now how they want her to continue the rest of her life.

Like many kids, Alex spent a lot of time with his grandma when in Kazakhstan.  His mum, a single parent worked long hours for the three of them to have a roof over their heads and food on the table.  When they left the country, the grandma was younger, healthier with an active social life.

Recently though, her entire network of friends and family have left Kazakhstan to live with their own families, or are now deceased.  She has no family or friends nearby, and her health is deteriorating every day, surrounded by loneliness.  She has issues with her pancreas and heart, and while Alex and his mum have been paying for her medication out there, restrictions mean it is not easy to buy food in Kazakhstan to meet the strict dietary requirements imposed by the doctor, as these are simply not available in the town she lives in.

She is not physically able to do essentials.  Some social services help out with the cleaning of the house and shopping, there is no provision to help with regular checks to make sure she is okay.  To help with bathing and cooking.  There are no private companies who offer that service that Alex has been able to locate; and is it really prudent to entrust the care of a vulnerable person to a stranger who knows the only family is in another country?  There are horrific stories of abuse in the UK, despite our stringent standards. What would it be like in another country with fewer regulations?

The family is worried about their elderly relative becoming a target of criminal activity; corruption is rife in the area and they target the vulnerable, especially elderly who it is known have family around.

The family made a settlement application in 2012 before the new ADR rules were introduced, which was refused on some confusing grounds; that there was no evidence of the money being given to the grandma.  The grandma has no income of her own and Alex and his mother provided for her by taking money with them to Kazakhstan on their regular visits.  Because this was not documented in the way the Home Office wanted, the application was refused and unfortunately, the family lost at appeal as well.

The family learnt their lesson and are now documenting the money transfers, although this means incurring extra costs and making it harder for their grandma to access the funds.  However, given the nature of the ADR rules, the family is sure they would still not fulfil UK’s requirements for an ADR visa, deemed as a ban masquerading as a rule.

The family can provide for their grandma, even with private health insurance, without recourse to public funds. They just want to be able to provide a home for her to live in, with her family.  Neither Alex nor his mum can move to Kazakhstan as that impacts their financial security thus affecting their ability to pay for the grandma.   They are now considering becoming yet another family forced to leave UK to live in another EU country in the hope of family reunification, outside of the reaches of Home Office.  A drastic measure, but the only alternative to leaving their elderly relative to die alone, with health, physical and emotional needs not being met.

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