"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.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Lucy and Andres


“England is my home and I always thought I’d be welcome here regardless of who I chose to marry ..”

Lucy is a British citizen. She is a student in her final year at university in Newcastle, studying Spanish and Geography. She spent a year abroad in Colombia, improving her Spanish and working for an NGO - an incredibly noble pursuit.

She is working hard to achieve great things. She is ambitious and on the path to success with international work experience under her belt even before she has completed her degree. She is exactly the kind of citizen we should be bending over backwards to retain her valuable skills and experience here, in the UK, to contribute to the British economy and Britain's future.

Instead, Lucy is aware that one day she may need to come to terms with the fact that she has to leave her home, only because she is in love with Andres, a man from Colombia.

They have been together for two years, lived together for 8 months in Colombia and Lucy feels secure with him. They just ‘click’. When Lucy was in Colombia in Christmas 2012, Andres asked her to marry him. Lucy said no.

She said no, not because she doesn’t want to get married. But because she can’t knowingly go into a marriage knowing they may not be able to live together. So they have settled on a Wills-and-Kate kind of arrangement, where they are engaged to be engaged.

Lucy wants to get married in her hometown. With her friends and family able to celebrate her marriage. She doesn’t want an uncertain engagement – one which instead of being used to plan a wedding, is used to compulsively check the latest on the UKBA rules.

An incredible amount of responsibility shown by ones so young. And an incredible shame, that young love is now being tainted by UKBA instead of being left to blossom on its own.

Lucy is now intent on completing her degree so that she can begin her career here. Andres is working to improve his English (as Lucy speaks fluent Spanish, they haven’t actually needed to communicate in English previously) with Lucy giving him lessons over Skype several times a week.

Lucy is convinced that within 6 months of being fully immersed in British life, Andres’s English language skills would be impeccable. He is a fast learner. However, he is being denied this opportunity, even as a tourist, with UKBA having refused his application to visit.

Lucy is however lucky, that on graduation she would likely be offered a position paying over £18,600..but that’s still over a year away, and even then, Andres may not pass the English language test, having not had opportunity to spend time in an English speaking country.

Lucy is also keen to study further, and pursue a Master’s degree. However, this option has been snatched from her by the British government, because she fell in love with a foreigner. Because she isn’t rich. Lucy is aware that living apart from her future husband for an indeterminable amount of time isn’t feasible, and therefore the UK is not going to be a likely option for her future. However she is dreading the day when she has to come to terms with that. England is her home and she always thought she’d be able to live in her home, regardless of who she married.

Indeed, it appears that after 4 years of study at a British university, the most valuable qualification this British citizen may have is a £45 Teach-English-as-a-Foreign-Language course.

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