"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 5 April 2013

Marianne and Kei

This story – which has been covered in the press ( http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/japanese-husband-of-uk-businesswoman-may-miss-childs-birth-due-to-visa-rules-8551359.html ) highlights the sheer stupidity – and maliciousness – of the unthinking application of these rules. Read on… and please sign Marianne's petition :

Successful British Businesswoman's husband may have to miss birth of first child due to
new "computer says no" Visa Rules

Marianne is a successful businesswoman, and a British citizen. And yet she faces giving birth on her own because the rules visa rules for British Citizen’s spouses may force her Japanese husband to leave the country. (link: http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/introduction.html )

Marianne Bailey, 35 met Kei Yamamoto, 30 when she was working as an Industrial Designer in Japan in 2009. They married in Chelsea, London last October. Marianne is pregnant, and happily expecting their baby in July!

But the new, draconian rules - rules that only apply to British Citizens - require Marianne to have over ₤62,500 in a cash bank account for over 6 months. This is because the rigid nature of the rules count only certain kinds of income - with excessively strict requirements, such as Marianne’s University Lecturer PAYE income will not count because it is contracted per term, rather than every 6 months. When income cannot be counted under the tight “tick box” criteria, the requirement can be made up with savings – but the savings requirement is in itself far stricter than the income requirement. The new rules do not count 3 of 4 of Marianne’s incomes which would be over the income requirement, do not count their savings that are over ₤16,000 and do not count her 2 properties, one with no mortgage! Note that ₤62,500 savings need to be held as cash in a bank account for 6 months – investments such as stocks, bonds, or property do not count! It is a particular worry considering the bank raids to savings in Cyprus at the moment.

In contrast, Marianne does not understand why non-British EU citizens have no such financial requirement – a letter of employment or proof of earning will do!

The only way the Government will allow Marianne's husband Kei to remain in the country for the birth and support of their baby is if Marianne renounces her British Citizenship. Marianne Grandmother was born in Ireland so would be eligible for an Irish passport (she has visited Ireland precisely –once- in her life!), and would therefore be eligible under EU rules.

But this means becoming a foreigner in her own country – a country which she has contributed hugely to as an entrepreneur and businesswoman. Insane!

UPDATE: Marianne and Kei were told this could be their only way by one visa specialist but after consulting a top visa lawyer, they have been told a British women already tried to do this and was declined.

Marianne is an Inventor and an Entrepreneur. She has 20 patents, two jobs - as an Industrial Designer and University Lecturer. She has an income well above the £18,600 threshold. She has substantial savings – well over £16,000. She owns two properties in London – one without a mortgage, and the rental of the other providing a steady income.

Truly, Marianne and Kei did not expect to fall foul of spouse visa rules – especially with a baby on the way!

Marianne worked extremely hard during her 20's to be in the position she is now. Even with her success, she works seven days a week, and often twelve hours a day: lecturing, and building a prototype of a new type of urban eco-vehicle which will be of great benefit to UK manufacturing, the economy, and the environment. Every component of the vehicle has been sourced from UK manufacturing, supporting British Industry jobs. Marianne says: "We are clearly are not a burden on the state, quite the opposite! This model of living allows me and my inventions to be of great benefit to our country."

These new "tick box / computer says no" rules, championed by Theresa May, do not count 3 of 4 of Marianne's income streams; they do not count their ₤16,000 savings as sufficient (despite this being the savings threshold disqualifying access to state benefits); and they do not count Marianne's 2 properties in London - unless she sells and liquefies the assets and puts ₤64,000 in a (cash) bank account for 6 months, which she will not have in time for the birth of their first baby. How does that
help the economy?!

What do you think about the earnings threshold rule in general? What are the problems with it?

This is not a one off "blip" in the system, these new draconian "tick box" spouse visa rules are tearing thousands of British families apart. They only apply to British Citizens and not EU Citizens. An EU Citizen has no financial requirement, they only have a letter stating they have a job, it doesn't, matter how much they earn, whereas British Citizens like myself have to have ₤62,500 in a bank account for 6 months! (and more if you have children). British Citizens can only bring ONE family member, their spouse to the UK, EU Immigrants can bring in their non-EU spouse and up to 20 of their spouses non-EU family members! It is clear is clear discrimination against British Citizens in their own country.

The new changes in the law will mean that, of British taxpayers (and voters) in EMPLOYMENT over 47% will not qualify to bring in a family member, that will mean 16-17,000 British families a year will be forced apart or out of their country.

The British Family route for immigration before the new rules were introduced only accounted for around 32,000 spouses a year whereas EU immigrant figures run into hundreds of thousands. Surely British families take priority? It is actually against EU law for an EU Government to discriminate against its own people, why do British Citizens have less rights in their own country than EU citizens?

The Government are spinning that these new rules are "getting tough on immigration" but British Citizen’s Spouse visas are a tiny amount in the total immigration figures and they have ALWAYS and still are stamped "no recourse for public funds", the immigration problem of immigrants claiming benefits has NEVER been with British Citizen's spouses. These rules are cold, inflexible and unfair – and they’ve brought misery to thousands of British families.

Can you give me a bit of background about your marriage? How long ago did you meet? When did you get married?

I was Senior Product Designer for Yamaha's Product Design Laboratory Japan for 5 years and meet Kei a few days after arriving in Japan in 2005 and we started dating in 2009. I returned to the UK after the Great Eastern Tokyo Earthquake and subsequent Fukushima Nuclear Disaster when other British Citizens were being evacuated because of radiation fears. Kei later followed and we were married in Chelsea, London on October 1st 2012.

How would you feel having to give birth without your husband being there? How would he feel if he was forced to miss it?

As any expectant mother knows the idea of giving birth and the prospect of coping with a new born alone without your husband or partner is terrifying, it is pretty terrifying even if your husband is with you, but alone! Kei my husband has lost a lot of weight with worry.

If your husband has to leave will he be able to return? If so, after how long? If not, what will you do?

If this government forces my husband to leave and he applies for Discretionary Leave to Remain from Japan he may not be allowed back into the country for between 6 to 9 months. The government in effect making me a "married single mother" with no help or support. There is no guarantee m husband will be allowed back at all, forcing me also out of the country. The new visa rules destroy hardworking EMPLOYED British Citizens' families. These new rules are not "getting tough" with EU immigrants, as these discriminatory new rules that only apply to British Citizens.

How is it you might be able to become Irish? How would this help?

My Grandmother was born in Ireland and moved to the UK permanently when she was young so I can apply for an Irish passport and Dual Nationality - but in order to apply as an EU Citizen the government will force me to give up my British Citizenship. This is extremely distressing as I am British and I shouldn't be forced to liquefy my property assets by the government or become a foreigner in my own country in order for my husband to be here for the birth and subsequent support of our first child.

Marianne tweets at : https://twitter.com/BaileyYamamoto . We're happy to be campaigning with her.

Please sign and share her petition : http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/theresa-may-don-t-force-me-to-give-birth-without-my-husband


  1. I really feel for you both. I am in a similar position. In my case it's my Aussie husband that is finding it almost impossible to get a visa. I'm sorry I couldn't sign for you as they would not accept my Australian post code number. I wish you both all the best and hopefully your husband will be able to stay with you. These rules are inhumane.

    1. Hi Anne - thanks for commenting and all the best to you. Many people are and will continue to be affected by these rules.

      If you would like to share your story with BritCits - please mail us at [britcits at gmail dot com].

      Regards, Steve.

    2. Hi Steve. Thanks for your reply. I have been here in Australia for 45 years. I wanted to spend these later years in my home country which is Scotland. We got a shock when my Aussie husband of 43 years applied for a visa. It was going to cost at least 600 pounds and there is no guarantee that he would be successful. We have been told that you get knocked back for the least wee thing. We have the money to buy a house in Scotland and our combined Aussie pensions equate to 300 British pounds a week. All this is not good enough. I can't understand why these terrible rules are in place. Australia is a Commonwealth country and Australians fought with and for Britain in every war. I personally think it is time Australia got out of The Commonwealth as The British Government are treating her people like dirt. They are doing the same to the Kiwis' Canadians etc. We would NOT be a burden on The British Taxpayer as we have more than enough to look after ourselves. As I said nothing seems to be good enough for Theresa May, David Cameron etc. I don't know if I will ever see Scotland again. Thanks for nothing Theresa May. These rules are inhumane.

  2. Thanks Anne. I will share this story as well. And you make great, unarguable points.

    I'd like to add you to our mailing list - could you email me at [sjplep at gmail dot com] so I can add you?

    Best wishes


  3. There is a simple solution. They can live in another EU country. If she works in Germany or Ireland for a month or so in any McD or KFC, the right of free movement will kick in and they can legally come back to the UK together. Google "Surinder Singh".

  4. I am myself affected by this silly immigration law. I can't believe that I am a british citizen and I have no right in own country while europeans can come UK and bring all their families and claim all benefits and they don't have to go through this silly minimum income of £18,600 year after tax. I URGE EVERYONE TO SIGN THESE PETITIONS AND MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD, US CITIZENS OF UK.