"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.

Wednesday 17 July 2013


 “Although not affected yet, I fear I won’t be allowed to be with my girlfriend..I can’t leave my three daughters in the UK”..

Rob is a British citizen living in Torquay, Devon. Although he is yet to be affected by the new immigration rules, he anticipates it being an issue for him and his girlfriend, an American citizen from Oklahoma. It is an issue that is already affecting Rob’s ex-wife.

They’ve only been going out a few months, but are considering their future in the event the relationship, as they anticipate it to be, becomes more serious. However it hasn’t been plain sailing to date either. Already they have had their brush with UKBA, who refused Rob’s girlfriend entry for the three months visit they had planned; instead they only got three days together - sadly something for which they consider themselves lucky, despite the disappointment.

Rob is a single dad with three daughters, two of who live with him full-time and another he sees a couple of nights a week and every other weekend. He works for a charity, a noble employer and earns below the £18,600 threshold required for the sponsorship of a visa in the event he were to marry his girlfriend. He is lucky in the respect that he has a family locally who help out with childcare. It allows him to save up for him and his girlfriend to meet each other again.

Rob has considered asking for a pay rise, but is hesitant only because he has been working for his employer less than a year. The pay rise he would need to earn the magic £18,600 is 75 pence an hour. Less than £1.

Rob is aware that his ex-wife is in an even worse situation. She is self-employed, earns very little and is currently claiming benefits. Her partner also lives in the US (in Maryland) but being in the financial sector, has the potential for earning a comfortable income to support them both.

The daughter who lives with them both is aged 7 and has learning disabilities and speech problems. She is a happy little girl but sometimes finds it hard to communicate and is at the sort of level of a much younger child. She adores both Rob’s girlfriend and her mum’s partner – Rob tells her that both her mummy's partner and his girlfriend are living in America for now but hopefully will be able to move over soon.

At the moment Rob and his girlfriend have good and bad days; they keep in touch via Skype and email and when they can, speak for hours. Rob’s girlfriend doesn’t have the same ties to America as Rob does to England; they are not in a long distance relationship by choice.

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