"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 6 July 2013

Sean & Mari

“I am keen for my small family to be near my parents, to gain recognition of our family as a legal unit and be around to look after my parents as they get older.”

Sean is a British citizen. He spent the first 19 years of his life in St Helen’s Merseyside, growing up on a council estate. When he was 18, by a stroke of luck, he came across the love of his life.

One night he commented on an Oasis music video, something he did often. This time however, his comment led to a discussion on music with Mari, in Chile. They spent the next year talking online, following which Sean managed to scrape together enough money to go visit her in Chile. It was a dream come true.

Sean arrived in Chile on 12th August 2009 when he was 19 and had finished college. He has been living there since - Mari needed to finish university and Sean was supportive of her wanting to pursue further education.

Sean and Mari married in January 2013. It was awful for Sean not having his family there – but they could not afford the journey. Sean lives with Mari’s family, for whom Sean is like a son. But living in Chile has not been easy.

They experienced an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale when their life flashed before
them. And Sean knew home was where he wanted to be in the long-term. They agreed to move to the UK once Mari’s education was complete.

Sean is not rich nor does he pretend to be. He hasn’t been in UK since 2009 – hasn’t seen his family since then. As Mari has now finished university, Sean and Mari are working together to save money for their life together, hoping this will allow them a head start when they return to UK.

Sean has a dream. To see his family and have them meet his wife. He wants to have a small celebration in UK so his family can be part of his nuptials. He wants to spend time with his mum who recently had a heart attack.

But when Sean found out what the requirements are for a spouse visa, it’s like his heart stopped and he hasn’t stopped feeling helpless ever since. Research he carried out showed the new rules prevent 40% of the British working population from sponsoring a non-EEA spouse.

Sean feels as if the rules allow only the rich to fall in love...a working class Brit dare not make that
mistake. Most people in St Helen’s don’t earn anywhere near this amount.

All Sean wants is to come and live in UK with his wife; to be close to his mum. This young couple will work and pay their way. Sean does not think it’s right that he has to leave his wife for likely over 12 months it will take for him to find a job paying over £18,600, working in it for 6 months and then having UKBA process the spouse application. He can’t be apart from her that long.

When they married they promised each other to be together, to live together.

Sean has received some positive response from David Ward, MP for Bradford East, who has told him:
“It is cases such as yours which have encouraged me to challenge the income limit on spouse visas. I believe that these rules are unfair and that they prevent people in genuine marriages from being able to live happily with their partner. The limit effectively rules out large numbers of people (particularly in areas outside of London) from being able to afford to bring their partner into the UK. It effectively rules out people in certain professions from ever being able to bring their partners to the UK."

Support from this MP is the only thing giving Sean hope that he’ll return to his home one day.

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