"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 31 January 2013

Les and Becky

“My wife is eminently employable, and would be a genuine asset to this country, yet we have to face choices no one should ever have to consider in a so-called "civilised" country – or any country for that matter!”

Les is a British citizen, married to Becky, an American and an academic theologian with a PhD.

Les and Becky met in mid-2008, a couple of years after she arrived in Scotland to study for her doctorate. They quickly realised they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together and spent every spare moment in each other's company, as lovers do. They clicked in a way neither had with anyone before. Les and Becky are best friends, lovers and partners.

At the end of 2010, they moved in together and eventually married in February 2012. Becky submitted her PhD in July (ironically a matter of days before the new rules came into place).

Originally, Becky had intended to submit her thesis six months earlier, but due to more work being
required on the content, she had her student visa extended to allow for this, until November 2012.

Indeed, in hindsight, had Les and Becky been made aware of the new rules (which were brought in so
suddenly!), they could and would have applied for a spouse visa under the old rules.

However, even though Les works as an adviser with the Citizen's Advice Bureau, they missed the fact that these changes had taken place – something to do with a distinct lack of publicity around the issue perhaps!

Les, apart from one or two freelance commissions and relentless job hunting, has failed to secure fresh fulltime employment – the status of the economy notwithstanding, Les can’t help but feel that, in a way, it is his fault they are in this situation. If only he had a job paying £18,600, if only they had applied for a spouse visa earlier, if only, if only...

However, life doesn’t flow in consistent and convenient ways – especially in times of austerity – something the government must be aware of when setting a bizarre threshold and requiring cash savings out of the reach of so many people.

Becky was offered a fantastic opportunity by Prudential; however, due to delays on the part of the Home Office in providing a letter indicating Becky was allowed to work in the UK, she lost that opportunity.

Les continues to do all he can to get regular high-paid employment. Becky is doing the same, but in many ways it seems pointless, given the way employers are responding to the new rules which are creating insurmountable barriers for people like Becky.

Yes, Les and Becky could move to the USA, as there the income requirement is much more reasonable, at 125% of the poverty level. However, Les has a daughter who lives in the UK, and moving to the USA would inherently damage any prospects of a relationship between father and daughter, so Les must abandon his wife or risk never having a meaningful relationship with his kin.

(Doing a PhD requires monk-like focus and inevitably it is impossible to keep up with ever-changing immigration rules. As we have pointed out previously, there have been no fewer than 97 changes to immigration laws since 1994).

A good article on doing a PhD : http://www.openculture.com/2012/09/the_illustrated_guide_to_a_phd-redux.html ('Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge...')

No comments:

Post a Comment