"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 16 March 2013

More docs

Two excerpts from House of Lords debates concerning the rules uploaded here : http://www.scribd.com/sjplep/documents

First, an excerpt from Hansard 19th July 2012 : http://www.scribd.com/doc/130674481/Hansard-19july2012

This was the 'debate' the government was forced to have on the rules because of the Alvi decision ( http://www.freemovement.org.uk/2012/07/18/analysis-of-alvi/ ). 

On 9th July the rules had been introduced by secondary legislation ( http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/introduction.html ), but the courts ruled that such a drastic change had to go before Parliament. As the Commons was in recess, it fell to the Lords, on short notice). Judge for yourself how good the scrutiny was. Notable contributors: Lord Judd ( http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/lord_judd ), Lord Avebury ( http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/lord_avebury ), Lord Alderdice ( http://www.lordalderdice.com/ ), Lord Dholakia ( http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/lord%20dholakia ).

Judd : I do not understand the new legislation on families. We hear from the Government on every possible occasion about the importance of family, yet for some people for whom family will be absolutely indispensable in terms of their stability and ability to contribute to society, we introduce these arbitrary rules. There needs to be much more imagination about who is a suitable person to bring in as a relative, and who is not. There also needs to be much more clarity in the regulations about what is acceptable and what is not.

Original source : http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/120719-0002.htm


Second,  the Motion of Regret, 23rd October 2012 : http://www.scribd.com/doc/130674156/Motion-of-Regret-23rd-October-2012

Motion of Regret, 23rd October 2012. Put forward by Baroness Angela Smith. This was the first time the rules were properly (see note above) debated fully in either chamber, highlighting the plight of those affected. Contributions from Lord Avebury, Baroness Hamwee ( http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/baroness_hamwee ), Lord Teverson ( http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/lord_teverson ), Bishop of St Edmundsbury ( http://www.stedmundsbury.anglican.org/ ), among others.

Original source : http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/121023-0002.htm

Baroness Smith : I want to refer to a couple of examples that I think may help your Lordships' House in considering the issue. I shall call one family Mr and Mrs M. They are a married couple. She is from a Commonwealth country; she is Canadian. Both of them have children from previous marriages. They married in 2005 in the UK and lived in the UK for a year, when she went back to Canada to go to university to complete her education, which would no doubt lead to a better job. As she puts it to me in her correspondence, it was,

    "short term suffering for the long term benefits".

Her husband visited Canada a couple of times and they then decided that they would settle in Canada. For a number of reasons, not least being his responsibilities to his family here in the UK, including his parents, who were getting old, he moved back home in 2010 and they agreed that she would follow him once he found work. In the mean time, his wife sent him money from her earnings in Canada to buy household items for the new home that they were going to set up here in the UK. Again, these are people trying to do the right thing in seeking to support themselves. Alfred got a job; he was doing well and she started to complete the visa application form. However, in July 2012, their world just fell apart because he did not earn the £24,800 that the Government said he had to before his wife and two children could join him. His father was a miner in Wales; he had a low income-both were proud men and proud of their work. They estimated that his wife-when they thought she was going to join them-would get a job in the region of £18,000 to £24,000. Yet despite all their planning, and all their efforts to provide for themselves, they have fallen foul of this rule and are now living on different sides of the world.

There is another lady who contacted me, Miss BF. She and her non-EU partner plan to marry in December 2012. She wrote:

"I do not earn £18600. I work part time as a healthcare assistant for the NHS. I am unable to work full time as I have a 14 year old son ... If I worked in London I could earn the £18600 however the cost to rent in London would probably be triple the cost of my current mortgage. The income threshold does not allow for variations in circumstances. It does not allow for the earning potential of single parents, or for women in general. Our wedding plans are now on hold"...

Mr S-a highly qualified man who has worked in government in the past-also outlines in his letter to me the perverse incentive of an absolute threshold. He lives some distance from London. He says:

"I'm desperately trying to find a job that would make the required £18,600 a year. In this area, that scenario is a difficult one, so I'm looking for work in London. If I secure such a job, earning the required salary, it's likely that most of this would be spent on the high costs associated with living in London. Yet the government deem this ok. However, I could probably find a job in this area earning around £14-15,000 and would have more disposable income to support my family whilst having the assurity of living with my parents in the short term.".

Avebury : My first example is from the organisation BritCits, which defends the interests of families who are affected by this set of changes. Rob is a British professional musician with a first-class degree in music. He has taught music and performed at concerts, has an eight year-old son and lives in a detached house in Huddersfield. He fell in love with and married an Indonesian woman and his wife applied for a spouse visa on 26 June. As a self-employed worker, he submitted three years of bank statements-originals and copies-and everything as requested, leaving no stone unturned. For over two months the message was that the application was under process at the British Embassy, until early September when an e-mail arrived asking for the spouse to take an SELT English test. The e-mail indicated that if she did not submit this within seven days, the application would be rejected. Despite the short notice, the wife took the test and submitted it on time. A month later, they received a message saying that the application was refused because of the English test. Rob was amazed because his wife's English was extremely good. On inquiry, they found that she had passed the reading, writing and listening requirements but had inadvertently omitted the speaking part. A lawyer advised them that the only remedy was to lodge a fresh application, at a cost of £900. The same thing happened to a friend of mine. It is not an uncommon experience for people to make a minor error and find that the whole application has been rejected. The UKBA does not give applicants a chance of remedying minor omissions of this sort...

Aaron, a British citizen who is married to Kano, a Japanese woman he met when she was in the UK on a two-year working holiday, lives in Bristol where all his family and friends are also based. It is an area of low pay but also of lower living costs, and Aaron earns just under the £18,600 threshold. With his wife's potential
earnings, the couple would be easily able to support themselves without recourse to public funds, but that cuts no ice under these new rules.

Then there is the treatment of elderly parents, which has not been mentioned so far. Sonel is a British citizen living in the UK for more than 12 years. She has worked for the British Government, paid her taxes and never claimed a penny in benefits. She now wants the right to bring her elderly parents here from Australia, where they have no family, so that she can look after them in their old age. However, the new rules state that if you have two parents living together in another country, you can bring them here only if they are so incapacitated that they cannot dress, wash or cook for themselves. Even that is not enough, though; I believe that the rule has been designed to prevent any elderly parents being able to join their children here, although every other country in Europe allows it, and I ask my noble friend to say how many have actually managed to get past this rule-or how many he thinks will get past it...


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