"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 28 June 2013


This story particularly brings home the desperation and the cruelty of rules towards people who especially deserve a level of respect that UK’s immigration rules prevent us from providing; people who have raised their children so that we, British citizens, can have a better quality of life.

Sattar is not a British citizen. Neither is his wife. He is however the father of a British citizen – Dr Faisal, living in London. The July 2012 rules introduced two conditions which prevent Sattar from continuing to reside in the UK with his wife and son.

Sattar and his wife have been living in the UK for four years, initially on Sattar’s work visa. However tragedy struck when their youngest son living overseas died in an accident. It is not in the natural course of things for parents to have to bury their own child and the resulting trauma took its toll on this family.

Sattar and his wife were devastated; it’s something they naturally found hard to come to terms with and experienced psychological issues as a result. Sattar was unable to continue his work as usual, becoming mainly financially dependent on Dr Faisal, living with him in London.

Under the previous rules, Sattar would have been able to switch from his work visa to obtaining Leave to Remain under the family route, as parents of a British citizen settled in the UK as soon as he was 65. However, in July 2012 when the rules changed, Sattar was four months short. Four months. And now he’s facing a lifetime away from his family. A lifetime living in isolation, away from the son on whom he is dependent; the son on who he has come to rely on more and more because of tragic circumstances which no one could have foreseen.

Sattar feels that these immigration rules fail to recognise the relationship between parents and their children...be the children adults themselves. As much as Sattar and his wife need their son, Dr Faisal himself needs the emotional support only his parents can provide. This interdependency is interestingly recognised and appreciated as far away as Australia – a country renowned for strict immigration rules…a country where parents of adult citizens and residents are encouraged to come join their family when they are younger, healthier and more able to integrate.

Dependency between family members is much more than what is portrayed as a one way matter only. Unsurprisingly, Sattar states that if he or his wife were in such a precarious medical condition as required by the rules, to be already on their death bed, they would have no interest in immigration – if it was a matter of just waiting to die. They want to live…live with their son, support each other..all with no recourse to public funds.

This is a classic example of the need to recognise that family bonds continue through grandparents, parents, adult children, grandchildren, and between siblings – the value of these relationships should not be obscured by portrayal as extended family of less significance.

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