"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.

Saturday 26 January 2013


“In the Conservative pre-election waffle Mr Cameron made a great deal about his views on the sanctity of marriage and family values.”

Lionel, British by birth, married Svetlana in May 2010. He has been trying to have Svetlana join him in the UK ever since.

English Language – constantly changing requirements

Soon after their wedding Lionel was made redundant, so they delayed her spouse application until he found a new job, by which time the English requirement had been introduced. This in itself wasn’t a problem as their intention had always been for Svetlana to take English lessons, and where better to learn English than in England?!

Despite the change in the rules, his wife continued with her lessons and took a test at "Expert Language Schools" in Kaliningrad. It never even occurred to them that it would need to be taken at an approved centre as this wasn’t clearly indicated, and the immigration ‘expert’ they sought advice and assistance from, at considerable expense, didn’t tell them about it until an hour before Svetlana was due at the visa centre in Moscow.

Needless to say her visa was refused because her B1 certificate was not issued by an “approved centre”. The only place in Kaliningrad that is approved to issue a certificate only supports the IELTS test. In March 2011 Lionel’s wife sat the exam, following some tuition. Since her previous test her use of English has been limited and she achieved an overall band score of 4.

At the time UKBA website's Approved Partner list stated grade 4 was sufficient. However, the new list states for IELTS minimum is grade 4 in all disciplines; Svetlana achieved grade 4 in listening, grade 3 in speaking. The question for her speaking test was ludicrous, of an academic nature, dealing with politics.

As Svetlana indicates, she could not have answered the question adequately in her native language, let alone in English, and Lionel believes he may well have struggled to provide a suitable answer as well, despite being British born and bred!!

It was and still is the view held by Lionel that if a grade 4 is equivalent to level B1 then surely grade 3 is at least level A2., Now, because of this government, he and his wife are regularly forced to converse on Skype, in English, and they communicate without any issues at all.

Svetlana is unable to study towards the English language requirements at present. She works from 9am to 7pm every day, only having Sundays off, to earn a meagre £350 per month. English classes are not available outside these times. Of course supporting two homes and visits to Russia has severely depleted Lionel’s savings as well, giving UKBA yet another reason to refuse.

Insufficient funds

Since the initial denial in early 2011, Lionel and his wife have been forced to have an online relationship (apart from the times he has visited her in Russia).

The expense of the initial application and the fact that he has since supported two homes, one in the UK and one in Russia, along with the cost of visiting his wife in Russia, has resulted in his savings being severely depleted which would now result in a denial on the grounds of insufficient funds to support her.

They are being denied the right to be a family because of this rule. Lionel is being discriminated against because he dared to marry someone from outside the EU.

While they have explored other options, they are being blocked every step of the way. They considered a family visit visa, where he would support his wife during her stay in the UK and enrol her on an English language course. Then she would return to Russia and make another application; but – and there’s always a 'but' – it is not permitted for Lionel’s wife to study while on a family visit or tourist visa.

Manifesto a farce

In the Conservative pre-election manifesto, Mr. Cameron made a great deal about his views on the sanctity of marriage and family values.

These rules make an absolute mockery of his views. They effectively prevent people such as Lionel and Svetlana from living together as a family.

These rules are ludicrous; the majority of couples who are affected by the rules have every intention of learning English and studying for the Knowledge of Life in the UK test in order to apply for ILR.

A better solution would be to make enrolment on an English language course, once in the UK, a condition of the visa.

Lionel and Svetlana have done everything correctly; they considered the fact that Lionel was made redundant and decided it would not be correct to make an application until he had secured employment. Now, the government has implemented a minimum gross income which, fortunately, Lionel can currently meet.

However, with future checks and current economic climate, there is no guarantee he will continue to meet it for five years.

Family visit visa

They applied for a family visit visa but were unsuccessful. Svetlana’s parents live in Russia and her
daughter (Lionel’s stepdaughter) is studying at Kiel University; the UKBA felt that this wasn’t sufficient to guarantee that Svetlana would leave, and therefore refused her the right to visit her husband.

As time goes by this couple’s only solution is to accept enforced exile and for Lionel to look for work in another European country.

Yet another Brit being exiled from his country. This is what these UK politicians have brought this
country to.


  1. hello this is what we are going to do as its only way and waste of money paying anything into UK visa's please add me on FB as love to learn more on how you guys get on in germany. wayne howard

  2. https://twitter.com/JCWInews tweets :
    More & more people resorting to the EU route to family unity in the UK. This might help if you're thinking that way

    A bunch of stuff here too