"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 31 August 2013

The latest BritCits pack is up : http://www.scribd.com/doc/164517957/BritCits-Aug-2013


This is the latest update that has been shared with our mailing list :

G'day lovely people

Warm welcome to the new members and continued thanks to the veteran britcits.

The pack
August pack slightly later than expected, but well worth the wait I'm sure you'll agree once you have had a chance to read the stories and updates, and see the beautiful photos of member families.

More stories, updates, photos, corrections and clarifications always welcome. 

Future britcits
If you know of anyone else affected by rules on the partner/parent front; or expecting to be affected by these rules in the future please do ask them to get in touch with us via email or through the website www.britcits.com  Please reach far and wide - the more members we have, the more effective we are.
We are continuing to update the database. Please ensure you have sent us info on what region of the UK you are from, who your local MP is and at least one contact phone number. The reason for the phone number is if we have an urgent request or update, it is useful to be able to pick up the phone and speak with you rather than wait for an email reply.  Needless to say, your details are not shared with anyone without your prior consent
*Important request*
There have over the last few months been progress with several members and the Home Office. Some visa approvals (congratulations!), some refusals going to court for appeal, some successful appeals (amazing!) and some where even where the court has ruled in favour of the family the Home Office takes the appeal to the next level (when will they stop wasting taxpayers money?!)
I'd appreciate it if you could send us the following:

a) where visa has been refused, info on the wording used by the Home Office
b) where you have appealed a refusal, the determination from the Court, either overturning the Home Office decision or agreeing with it
c) where your appeal has been approved, but the Home Office further appeals, documents showing their reasoning behind this.
d) Any subsequent judicial decisions

b), c) and d) are in the public domain anyway, but if you share with us we still will not share the details without your consent.  The reason we want this info is to see if there is a trend in both, Home Office wording and judicial decisions.  This is priceless information if we are to be successful in getting the rules changed.

FOI requests
BritCits has made several Freedom of Information requests, almost all of which are in the public domain. You can follow these to see progress yourself by going to: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/search/britcits/all
As Steven has pointed out, this is a route open to all of you to also make requests.  I would recommend you first do a search to see whether what you are asking for info on has already been provided in response to someone else's request, be very selective with your wording and ensure you address the request to the appropriate government department.

If there is something you want to know information on and you think it would be relevant to BritCits and want us to make the request for you, that's fine too. Please let us know.

House of Commons - 9th September
Spousal Visas Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons from 2:30pm. Go to parliament to watch it in person if you can, else through the website: parliament.tv

Please contact your MP to get them to raise your case if you are affected by the Home Office pausing spousal visa applications - let them know you are their constituent and you are affected.

Future meetups
Info on these is at www.meetup.com/britcits

If you would like to arrange a meetup in your local area, please feel free to do so from this page, or ask Steven (sjplep@gmail.com) or myself to do so for you, giving us details on date & time, exact location and info on any agenda you may have - though it's fine if the purpose is just to meet others affected by the rules. If kids are welcome, that's useful info too.

EU treaty rights & Surinder Singh
I found this useful for Ireland..there must be similar sites from other countries. 
For you to use your rights as an EU citizen to return to the UK with non-EEA family members, you need to use the Surinder Singh route - your spouse must be living with you in the other EEA country before you return to the UK and our understanding is that you as the British citizen, must be living and working or be self-employed in this other EEA country for a minimum of 3 months, for at least 12 hours a week.
On your return to the UK, you use the EEA2 residence card form: More info here, sec 2.14

Wish you the best of luck..if there's anything else you need you may also find this page on FB useful:  EU FREE MOVEMENT DIRECTIVE/2004/38/C  and our website: www.britcits.com  contains information as well as the sharing of experience from rentals to job hunting; mobile phones to supermarkets.

Media coverage thanks to BritCits
Lizzie's story has been covered in the Sunday Mirror - not online, but an image of the article is available on the website www.britcits.com
Christine & Ziad's story is to be covered by the Yorkshire Evening Post, Channel 4 news and I believe, BBC too.
Great work from Andy Russell and Chris Reed who also got to share their stories on Channel 4 news earlier this month. Watching Molly finally reunited with her family was incredibly emotional and Chris was great in clearly stating that our family members do not have recourse to public funds.
With thanks from Steven and myself:
Our gratitude to the following members who have made the extra effort to help us out.  If you or someone you know deserves to be in this list for the next special mentions list, please let me know. Modesty is fine, but we encourage member involvement, and thanks should be delivered where deserved.

David - for his excellent designing skills and prompt delivery.
Lizzie - for rallying troops to raise awareness and lobbying of MPs
Sal - for the endless meetings she arranges with MPs and migrant groups in Wales
Wayne - ideas, FOI clarifications and general help

Campaigner of the Year
And finally, an incredible honour for Steven and hence BritCits. Steven has been honoured with a special mention in the shortlist for the Campaigner of the Year award from the Sheila McKechnie Foundation. He should recieve this on September 10th. Massive congratulations from myself, and I am sure, all of the members too Steven. WELL DONE! :)
Spotted on Facebook

Ecstatic doesn't even come close to how I am feeling right now, today we found out our long awaited news, MY HUBBY can finally come to the UK, YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS :))))))))) All the blood, sweat, tears and hard work has finally paid off for us at last.

Hayley's story : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/hayley-mehmet-we-wont-ever-give-up-we.html

More good stories : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/a%20good%20day
China orders children to visit their elderly parents.


Would be interesting to get China's thoughts on these stories :

Friday 30 August 2013


'I am a British citizen who has been living in Japan for the past six and a half years. My wife of four years is a Japanese national, and our one year old daughter has British citizenship. We planned to move to the UK in May this year, but we were prevented from doing so by the family immigration financial requirement rules introduced in July last year.

'My wife and I are both professionals, with qualifications and a great deal of experience in our fields. Furthermore, we can actually meet the savings requirement, but we were still unable to apply for a visa due to the accompanying paperwork requirements. The fact that my wife had been on maternity leave left us unable to supply recent payslips.

'As a result, our solicitor advised us to defer our visa application until my wife had been back at work for six months. My wife and I represent one of the more fortunate cases, in that we are still together as a family, and we will be able to apply for a visa in the near future.

' Even so, the process caused a great deal of stress at a time when my wife and I should have been focusing all of our attention on our baby. It has also been exorbitantly expensive. We have spent and are continuing to spend a small fortune just so I can win the right to live in my own country with my wife and my child.'
Immigration and children (spotted in Hansard)


Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Labour) :
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the Home Office ascertains and takes into account the wishes and feelings of children before making decisions to hold parents in immigration detention, continue their detention, or deport or forcibly remove them; and how the Home Office's duties to safeguard children and promote their welfare under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 are implemented in such situations.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative) :
Where detention of an immigration offender, or continued detention in the case of a criminal who is already separated from his family by virtue of the custodial sentence passed by the courts, will affect a pre-existing family unit it is our practice to ensure that safeguarding child welfare issues are taken into account, and weighed against the need to detain and implement deportation or removal. In such cases close attention is given to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and Article 3 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The aims of both these are supported by paragraphs 396 to 400 of the Immigration Rules. These changes were introduced on 9 July 2012 so as to deliver in individual cases where a parent is liable to deportation outcomes that are compatible with the two conventions mentioned and with Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. In all such cases we are open to discovering the views of the children concerned. This is done principally through the parents and others who are in close contact with the children and are trusted by them.

Baroness Lister is the former Director of the Child Poverty Action Group and a notable social campaigner and humanitarian. Lord Taylor of Holbeach is the Conservative home affairs spokesman in the Lords.

Baroness Lister previously : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/divided-families-day-of-action.html

Lord Taylor previously : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/lords-debate.html

It's worth at this point reminding ourselves of the Children's Commissioners' endorsement of the findings of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration's devastating report on the impact of family immigration rules. The Children's Commissioners for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland represent the interests of children within government - theirs is a voice that needs to be listened to.

The Children's Commissioners :
We support the central recommendation of the report calling on the Government “to commission an independent review of the minimum income requirement” drawing on evidence of the impact of the changes made to the family migration rules since July 2012. In particular we welcome the proposal that the Immigration Rules should:
“....ensure that children are supported to live with their parents in the UK where their best interests require this. Decision-makers should ensure that duties to consider the best interests of children are fully discharged when deciding non-EEA partner applications. Consideration should be given to enabling decision-makers to grant entry clearance where the best interests of the child require it.”

(read more : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/uk-childrens-commissioners-endorse.html )

... For example, in the Chief Inspector’s review of 37 applications for entry clearance on the basis of marriage under the Immigration Rules where there was a child in the UK, not one contained any reference to the best interests of the child.
(quoted from the UK Children's Commisioners' briefing on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration -
read more : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/some-staff-told-us-that-they-did-not.html )

Skype Mummy : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhHpaq4KBxY

Skype Daddy : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKrCUaKB4KM

Bye bye Papa : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN6vuL8vrhg

The stories about children divided from parents are the most distressing for me, personally. Whereas adults can to an extent cope with the vicissitudes of life, no matter how unjust, innocent children really can't - and really need their parents and their families.

Compare Lord Taylor's response with this - 'on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department' :
At two and three years old respectively, it is considered that x and y are of an age where they would be able to readjust to life without you.


It is noted from your application form that you have referenced that you are still breast feeding [son]. However the fact that you are breastfeeding, in itself, does not confer a derivative right. Depriving the child of the ability to be breastfed by you if you are required to leave the UK is not regarded as depriving the child of the benefit of its rights as a Union citizen. should this particular aspect of the case wish to be pursued then you may wish to make an Art 8 application as detailed later in this letter.

(read more : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/on-behalf-of-secretary-of-state-for.html , http://pearsall.eu/recent-posts/ )


Colin Yeo on 9th July :
It was, frankly, distressing to be surrounded by so many fragmented, broken half families so bitterly angry at the violence done to them by Theresa May and her rules. I lost count of the apparently single mothers around the crowd, accompanied by babies, toddlers and a few children old enough to be consciously aware and articulate about what it was like to be separated from one’s father. Bailey Yamamoto spoke. At eight months pregnant she faces giving birth alone, and her husband will never be able to recover the lost opportunity to be with his new born baby.
(read more : http://www.freemovement.org.uk/2013/07/16/divided-families/ )
Controversial immigration rules are dividing opinion — and families.


'But as usual, we have a government that says it is determined not to let the courts dictate public policy — even though the High Court’s judicial review in July was not overturning Home Office rules, just suggesting a few sensible amendments to make these family rules more workable and help comply with human rights.

'The government’s intransigence suggests it fears discrimination or human rights claims if it loses the appeal.

'Meanwhile the cost of these wranglings add up, as does the human cost of couples divided and children growing up not knowing their fathers.

'Once again human rights, in this case the right to a family life, is the battle ground for an ugly squabble between government and the courts.'

Previously :
'High Court finds minimum income rules disproportionate and unjustified.' - http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-big-news.html
More - http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/beautiful-out-of-blue-this-arrived-in.html

The prospects for a Home Office appeal against the minimum income threshold ruling.


'It is perhaps a cruel irony that the Home Office has responded to this defeat by extending that interference in family life by putting applications on hold. In addition potential applicants may be further disheartened to know that the appellate process may continue to the Supreme Court or even the European Court of Human Rights. Often it seems the government as a matter of policy, regardless of the merits of an appeal, will pursue the matter as far as possible so that they can blame liberal judges damaging their honest and fair policy objectives (and to take away from the accusation that those policies may have been badly thought-out to begin with).

'So is there any cause for hope? From the jurisprudence it seems that there is. The UK government has only rarely been successful in imposing excessively restrictive blanket policies on family migration. It is of course nonsense to say that in every case family life will outweigh the needs for fair, sensible and proportionate immigration control, but the real difficulty is when there is no fairness or proportionality, with a system that admits of little exception amongst its tortuous series of inconsistent rules.'

https://twitter.com/HayleyLugassy :
They say that money can't buy love. Sadly, money will buy me my family back. #DEVASTATED by #IMMIGRATIONLAWS #DIVIDEDFAMILIES

Row in Scotland over ‘Go Home’ messages for asylum seekers.


Thursday 29 August 2013

New Japan campaign

Looking for people affected by #dividedfamilies rules with connections to Japan - either in Japan now or separated from partners/family members by the rules.

Email me to discuss an idea for a campaign - [steve at britcits dot com] . Thanks!
"The Government won't let my husband into UK - while they talk about bombing the bejeezus out of his neighbourhood!"


Does the UK Government not have a duty of care to the Syrian spouses of UK citizens? Given the imminent military intervention should they not help get them out the country or at the very least speed up their visa decisions? Given Cameron's determination to 'protect civilians in Syria' why can he not start by protecting Syrians with proven ties to the UK? I am not asking for special measures to circumvent the rules (in any case I meet the visa requirements) but simply for my government to stop dragging its feet in determining his visa case in this emergency situation. If my British citizenship, and indeed British values, means anything I beg my government to do something to help my husband get out of there.

A great piece on Christine, whose husband is trapped in Syria right now - trapped because of a technicality in the spouse immigration rules.

You see, Christine -meets- the economic requirement with a combination of income and savings - but immigration officials have denied the request because they 'objected to my stamped and printed online bank statement which evidenced my substantial savings of in addition to my tax free income'. A mere technicality - especially given that the statements were -stamped-.

Via https://twitter.com/caronmlindsay

Christine's story :

Thanks once again to all those who have RT'd.
Home Office threat to deport US citizen will ‘rip family apart’.


A former American soldier who has made Northamptonshire his home, fears his family could be ripped apart after his application to stay in the UK was refused.

Robert Geiger faces the prospect of being sent back to the USA, as the Home Office claims he has not provided evidence that he lives in the Roade home he shares with his wife, Victoria, and 11-year-old son, Pierce.

The couple, who have been married for 13 years, have lived together in England before, when Mr Geiger was based at RAF Lakenheath as a munitions specialist working for the US Air Force.

'I must draw your attention to my original email, that these rules did not follow the Democratic process, not the Parliamentary procedure as you wrote in your response. The difference is significant for the following, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary of English;

Democratic: “The practice or principals of social equality”

Parliamentary: Adjective “enacted by, or suitable for a Parliament.”

'One is concerned with social equality; the other makes no reference to such values. The relevance of arguing this is important with regards the debate of 19th of June 2012...  '

BritCits supporter Lizzie demolishes the usual cut and paste government argument for rules that divide families. This is how to lobby MPs :


Quoted for truth -
John McDonnell MP, 19th June 2012:
Will the right hon. Lady clarify whether we are legislating today?

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Some staff told us that they did not think that they had to consider Human Rights at all...

... For example, in the Chief Inspector’s review of 37 applications for entry clearance on the basis of marriage under the Immigration Rules where there was a child in the UK, not one contained any reference to the best interests of the child.

Quoted from the UK Children's Commisioners' briefing on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration :

More :

Designed by David B. : http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=114262550

Protest art : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/flyers
Spotted on Twitter - adjournment debate

https://twitter.com/andrewpercy :
I'm raising a constituents case on income requirement. I will welcome interventions.

https://twitter.com/APPGMigration :
Conservative MP @andrewpercy will be holding an adjournment debate on 'spousal visas' on Monday, 9 September 2013.

Andrew Percy is the Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole. Please do push your MPs to intervene on your behalf. This is a huge opportunity - Mr. Percy is new on the radar for us and it's very encouraging (and praiseworthy) to see someone who may not be one of the 'usual suspects' taking up the baton.

Call to action and template letter :

You can find your MP's contact details using this tool :

Tweeters followed by @appgmigration - makes a good 'who's who' :

... to all those who retweeted and shared Christine's situation yesterday. Helped enormously. Will keep all posted on this situation.
BritCits supporter Norah in her local paper

“I work six days a week, I still have to support my two youngest children. What more can I do?
“I’m a hard worker, I work to support my family and have always worked – I’ve never relied on benefits.” 

Tuesday 27 August 2013


Given the emergency in Syria and the urgency of this story, this needs to be spread far and wide. Christine has done the right thing in contacting her MP, who has committed to fighting her corner, and her local media. This story needs all the attention it can get - urgently.

'My name is Christine.

'My husband is stuck in Syria and the UKBA has rejected our settlement application once (they said that I had provided insufficient evidence to prove I met the financial requirement and that he had met the English language requirement. They objected to my stamped and printed online bank statement which evidenced my substantial savings of in addition to my tax free income. (Note - income is under the requirement but income plus savings put Christine above the economic requirement to sponsor spouses). They further claimed that without the certificate of entry into the KET the certificate we provided was invalid. Needless to say, they were splitting hairs). I reapplied on 15 July with all the additional information present.

'Now the problem of course is that there has been a serious escalation in the war in Syria particularly in and around Damascus. Ziad my husband lives only 15 mins away from the chemical weapon attack sites. One day later there was a huge car bomb near our house. Just yesterday his car was sprayed with bullets and he was detained. I still don't know why. He says he is under threat from the regime who may not now allow him to leave the country.

'The point I want to raise in advance of Parliament convening to discuss the Syria issue is this. Does the UK Government not have a duty of care to the Syrian spouses of UK citizens with proven links to the UK to prioritise their visa decisions? Does the fact that the Home Office/UKBA are leaving such people high and dry not contravene the FCO (and indeed Cameron's) policy and rhetoric on Syria and the humanitarian cost of the conflict. I want to sell this as a Syria policy issue not an immigration issue. I am not asking for special measures to circumvent the rules (in any case I meet the financial requirements) but simply to raise my case because of the humanitarian situation.'
Married couple face split in deportation threat.


Jeff Walters, 72, and his wife Bonnie, 62, have been together for ten years.

But the couple, who live in Tycroes near Llanelli, have been asked to prove they are a genuine married couple by providing shopping receipts from years ago.

Meanwhile the couple face separation after Bonnie's visa application was rejected for a second time.

Monday 26 August 2013

BritCits supporter Lizzie in the Sunday Mirror yesterday

Imagine falling in love with someone from another country, but not being allowed to live with them. The reason? The law says you don't earn enough money.

A great article, and an example of the popular press doing its job properly.



Bye bye Papa : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN6vuL8vrhg

Sunday 25 August 2013

Call to action

On 9th September 2013, there will be a Spousal Visas Adjournment debate in the House of Commons.


This is a great opportunity to build on the work that was done over the summer - the APPG report , the follow up parliamentary debates , and of course the 9th July day of action.

If you are affected by the rules, please contact your MP and ask him or her to make representations on your behalf.

You can find your MP's contact details using this tool :

You can email your MP, write to your MP via traditional mail, or even ask to meet your MP face-to-face to discuss how the rules are affecting your family - either at the MP's surgery or in Parliament itself.

Please continue to press your elected representatives on our cause. As Sarah Teather MP said on 9th July, we have made good friends - and need to make more. Every prominent campaigner we speak to urges us to continue to lobby MPs - one migrant rights leader said : 'It completely changes the conversation in Parliament', and moves us that much further to final victory.

A template letter is below - modify as you see fit :

Dear <salutation> ,

As your constituent, I am writing to you to make you aware of the Spousal Visas Adjournment debate in the House of Commons main chamber in the afternoon of Monday, 9th September 2013, as mentioned here :

I would like you to attend this debate and as your constituent, I would like you to make representations on my behalf, and on behalf of my family.

My family, and I, has been affected by these rule changes as follows :
<include your story>

I am shocked and disturbed by stories of people who have been separated from their spouses, partners, children, or family members as a result of the income threshold introduced in the new rules, or of the excessive evidential requirements, or of the impossibility of sponsoring elderly dependants. The changes aim to make it more difficult to sponsor spouses and partners, or elderly dependents, to come to the UK from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). I believe these changes are unfair and I would like you to oppose these iniquitous rules on my behalf.

Stories which include : A higher rate taxpayer unable to sponsor parents because of rules which are impossible to meet and deemed a ban masquerading as a rule; a young mum with a second chance at love forced to choose between her kids from a previous relationship living in the UK and her husband overseas; a gay mum with twins unable to return to UK to have her civil partner’s status recognised for the security of their babies; debt-free pensioners forced into working for income they don’t need; armed forces personnel who risked their life for our freedom being denied a right to their family file; British ex-pats wanting to return to look after British parents find barriers to re-entry are too high if they have a non-EU spouse or child. Skype families trying to conquer long-distance & time-differences through a screen; Brits forced into exile with their families.

Earlier this year, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration recently launched a report into the devastating impact of the rules, a copy of which you can read here : http://www.appgmigration.org.uk/family-inquiry 

I would be very grateful on your thoughts on the findings of this report.

I would also note that the Children's Commissioners for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland endorsed this report and called for an urgent review of the rules ( http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/uk-childrens-commissioners-endorse.html ). I would like to know what steps the government has taken in response to this call from the Children's Commissioners, who represent the most vulnerable and innocent in British society.

If you cannot come to the meeting, I would also ask that you write to the Home Secretary, and to the Immigration Minister, Mark Harper MP, asking for an explanation of why policy has not changed as a result of the APPG on Migration’s report published on 10 June this year, and what steps are being taken to review the impact of the rules.

Thank you very much for your time and I earnestly await your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Argentina opens its doors (a model for the world, a Latin American alternative to Surinder Singh?)

Argentina's current law treats immigration as a human right and consequently prioritizes the reunification of families, facilitates the ability of immigrants to obtain residency, and allows free access to health care and education. Immigrants are also granted a right to legal counsel.

It is also possible to look for a job once in Argentina on a tourist visa. Europeans can travel to Argentina without a visa and are automatically given a free 90-day tourist visa upon arrival. After finding a job immigrants can go to the migrations department with a letter from their employer and a certificate of good conduct from their country of origin.

Pros and cons :

Saturday 24 August 2013

Surinder Singh for newbies

(Link updated for new version of the guide January 2014)

Easy steps to a happier life! By David Bloor.

Also available in .epub (ebook) format :

A bit of history : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/european-ruling-challenges-uk-immigration-law-1531867.html

Surinder Singh stories : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/surinder%20singh

David's LinkedIn profile : http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=114262550
On behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department

At two and three years old respectively, it is considered that x and y are of an age where they would be able to readjust to life without you.


Wayne says :
'Thats not the only comment that's distressing though, (*Link to refusal letters*: http://pearsall.eu/2013/07/zambrano-and-regulation-9-refusal-notices/ )

'Comment: “It is noted from your application form that you have referenced that you are still breast feeding [son]. However the fact that you are breastfeeding, in itself, does not confer a derivative right. Depriving the child of the ability to be breastfed by you if you are required to leave the UK is not regarded as depriving the child of the benefit of its rights as a Union citizen. should this particular aspect of the case wish to be pursued then you may wish to make an Art 8 application as detailed later in this letter.”

'Article 8 rights ARE rights of a Union citizen…

More :

Department for Education - breast feeding :

Infancy and childhood are of critical importance in the development of healthy bodies and habits. For example, breastfeeding gives babies all the nutrients they need and provides both mother and baby with a range of health benefits. The current advice is to continue for six months or longer.

https://twitter.com/aweeshoe : 
That explains councils actions in offering to foster familys children aged 2yrs old & 2mths. The parents were homeless.
Another experience of Surinder Singh

Particularly useful for freelancers/self-employed people doing Surinder Singh :

'So I've been getting a lot of e-mails regarding the Stamp 4 I got yesterday. Some congratulating me and asking for help, and some saying something like "How did you get a stamp 4 seeing that you don't work ... etc." ... Well now, I'm a freelance photographer and that's what I told the Garda. I am self sufficient and I don't claim any benefits from anyone. We actually want to live in Ireland for as long as we can and if we want to go to the UK then it will be in a couple of years. For now we are staying here. ... until January anyway when they give us the final decision on the application.

'I'm just going to point out what I sent in and I hope this helps someone along the way. Here's the list:

What we sent in:

* Both passports.
* Marriage certificate.
* Unabridged marriage certificate.
* Bank of Ireland statement in the name of the EU citizen.
* Both birth certificates.
* Electric Ireland correspondence in the name of EU citizen.
* Lease in both our names.
* P45 (UK) In my husband's name.
* Western Union slips.
* Certificate of pay and taxable benefit in the name of EU Citizen.

'What they say that we still need to send in before January:

* Bank statements
* Bank statements. Letter from private medical insurance provider for EU citizen and any dependents.
*Letter of Registration of Tenancy from the Private Residential Tenancies Board.

'So if you send ALL of these things in, THEN you go to the Garda when you get your letter back saying you have to report to your local Garda station, and they STAMP you, WHILE you are still working on your application (like we are doing).

'I'm only putting this on here because I don't like repeating myself.'

More Surinder Singh stories :

Friday 23 August 2013

https://twitter.com/emmabmoussa :
This year Theresa may will either destroy my family or let me have my husband and my son keep his daddy it's terrifying that she can do that



https://twitter.com/aweeshoe :
A family who've overstayed their visa face a night on the streets with baby and young child, destitute. #societyfail

You're homeless, the council will not house you. Do you put your 2yr old & baby in care? Family are waiting to hear from Home Office re visa

https://twitter.com/LizzieCeliParr :
divided family under new immigration law.

https://twitter.com/TheBMA :
BMA seeks doctors' experiences of migration rule changes: http://bit.ly/13VDOqE

As does BritCits. We are collating stories of those affected by spouse & adult dependant rules.
Contact us : britcits at gmail.com

The 'Go Home' campaign - a public meeting.


The catalyst for this series of workshops was the pilot scheme, run by the Government from 22 July, during which vans with the words ‘Go Home or Face Arrest’ were driven around six London boroughs in a week-long campaign. The boroughs were chosen because each one had either a particularly low or particularly high level of voluntary return amongst migrants. The evening included discussions about reactions to the ‘Go Home’ campaign, the proliferation of immigration spot checks and campaigning tips for concerned organisations and individuals.

https://twitter.com/amycarrington88 :
"There is no compulsion to respond if an immigration officer stops you in the street." An important message to spread

'Go home' vans were 'unacceptable' says study :


"The Japanese are no more racist than Americans or people of many other countries. The only difference is that when you come to Japan, for the first time in your life, you are a minority and get to see what it’s like to be one. But for some reason, while here in Japan, discrimination suddenly becomes a personal affront, because it’s happening to you. And unfortunately, what follows tends to be the same conclusions: 'The xenophobic Japanese!' Or 'The Japanese are racist!' Now who is doing the stereotyping?"


'Young Pakistani men too scared to seek medical help after violent racist attack by Golden Dawn in Greece.'


Thursday 22 August 2013

Another death in UK immigration detention : the latest fatality highlights lack of accountability in the management of short stay detention centres.


The death of a Pakistani man in Pennine House detention centre (Manchester airport) last month is the latest in a series of tragic deaths in detention in the UK. Mr Mehmood, 43, who is said to have been returning home voluntarily, died at the centre following a ‘medical episode’, the circumstances of which have been described by the Home Office as not suspicious. This is the first such death in one of the UK’s ‘short term holding facilities’. For years, many of us have been asking questions about the availability of rules to govern these shorter-stay detention centres. And after this most recent tragedy, it is time for those questions to be answered.

38degrees :

The government’s rushing through a new law which, if it passes, will stop us running the type of campaigns which have made us who we are. [1] The campaigns which have saved our forests, fought privatisation in the NHS, and defeated the snoopers' charter. [2] The campaigns which have seen 1.7 million of us act together, locally and nationally, for over four years. In fact, if the new law passes, and we continue campaigning as we do now, the office team could even risk being sent to jail.


Also :

Are there really 71,000 Vietnamese manicurists hidden in the UK?


No borders: struggling for a global commons.


Wednesday 21 August 2013

'A Downham family-of-six says it has been ripped apart by new immigration laws preventing the father from meeting his newborn daughter.

'Despite having lived in the UK for 12 years, Albanian-born Edmond Danushi is currently stuck in his home country while his devastated family beg authorities to allow him home.'


Eastbourne bride kept apart from husband by visa red tape.


'Norah Stewart, of New Langney Court, Eastbourne, met her husband, Mouhamed Moulahi, in Tunisia in May 2010 and the couple were married in a religious ceremony in January 2011.

'She said: “I work six days a week, I still have to support my two youngest children. What more can I do?

' “I’m a hard worker, I work to support my family and have always worked – I’ve never relied on benefits.” '

Tom and Olya's story.


'... Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

'I would argue that this is currently not being honoured in our situation.

'My question is this: where would you go from here? What would you do in our situation and who’s emails would you track down or try to convince? Would you be as frustrated and confused as we are?'

Middlesex University briefing: The fiscal implications of new Family Migration Rules: What does the evidence tell us?


... as this briefing will show the Government’s own dat a suggests that non-EEA partners, who have the right to work in the UK but not claim most benefits , were never a burden on the welfare state. Evidence in fact suggests that, by preventing up to 17,800 migrant partners from coming to the UK every year , the newincome requirement may be costing the public purse rather than saving it money.

'They want to take my wife but I will not let that happen'.


The Tycroes pensioners who face being ripped apart by immigration services after 10 years of marriage have received the news they most dreaded. 

The government is trying to gag Hope Not Hate.


'By design or default this Bill will severely restrict the ability of organisations like HOPE not hate to function and combat fascism, racism and other forms of extremism. It is nothing more than a Gagging Bill, limiting democracy, political involvement and criticism. At a time when trust in political parties and politicians is at an all-time low we need to increase involvement and participation in the democratic process rather than limiting it.'

The new Lobbying Bill will criminalise even basic campaigning by Trade Unions :

Tuesday 20 August 2013

'... The grassroots campaign against the immigration family rules introduced in July 2012 led by British citizens in mixed status families affected by the new  rules shows the potential for creating a wider alliance across the citizens/immigrants divide that the politicians instead have interest to preserve and reinforce.'

Fantastic piece :

UK migration policy: we need to talk about citizens  - http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/nando-sigona/uk-migration-policy-we-need-to-talk-about-citizens
Personal experience of Surinder Singh - from Fiji to Ireland.

Family unity, the European way, and an inspiration to those going through the process. Via Facebook.

'Hi everyone, just put down our experience with SS in a document - hopefully it is easy to follow. Will add to it/make improvements but the info might be useful to someone.'


We will have a Guinness or two to wish you luck on your journey, and give us a message if youwant to meet up when you get here (or if you are already here!). In fact, just message us aboutanything, we'd love to help you out :)

The BritCits library :

Five more personal testimonies of the European path to family unity :

Louise Burfitt-Dons: A return to family values could win the Tories ethnic votes.


Talk about respect, tolerance, or compassion and you can engage with anyone. Next to the rising price of household essentials and how to pay for them, the welfare of our loved ones comes next.  But how do you get that conversation going?

Talk of family values, appeal to communities is meaningless until the family division rules are scrapped. These rules will be remembered as the Clause 28 of today. Scrap them now!

Previously : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/asif-i-hope-one-day-i-can-be-with-woman.html

The Immigration Law Practitioners' Association is now on Twitter :

https://twitter.com/UK_HumanRights :
"Family Migration: Regulation and Strategic Responses" at @mdxlawschool with @AIRECentre & @migrants_rights. 26 Sep. http://www.migrantsrights.org.uk/events/2013/conference-family-migration-regulation-and-strategic-responses

https://twitter.com/ilonapin :
"Violence against migrants is on the rise, but why are the privileged in Europe so scared of those in need?" http://bit.ly/12lAGqp

https://twitter.com/ilonapin :
BBC News - Switzerland asylum rules 'akin to apartheid' says @AmnestyOnline http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23751266

Free leadership course for migrant women.


Monday 19 August 2013


'Here is our tale of immigration woe. One more to add to the many. I must say I feel a little unworthy to share after hearing the terrible stories of others but still bottom line is we are being given a choice of living apart in separate countries for a very long time or not returning to the UK.

'I'm a Brit born and bred, I grew up in Dumfries & Galloway. After finishing university and working a year to save up I headed to NZ on a working holiday for a year. During that time I met and fell in love with Tony, a born and bred Kiwi. We built a fabulous life together in NZ which is a beautiful, special country. We bought a house together, then after 4 years together we got married returning to Scotland so we could share the day with my family and friends. We both had good jobs.

'Tony is a carpenter who worked for 16 years for the same company and I'm a marketing professional. I progressed to director level which was my position in the last 6 years of the 12 with my organisation. We were working really hard but we also could afford ourselves a very good lifestyle. To save some money and to purchase 2 rental properties which we see as our pension policy. However during those 14 years in New Zealand I have missed my family dreadfully and this has always stopped me from feeling fully settled. I'm extremely close to my family and though I have been lucky enough to afford twice yearly trips home - and of course Skype - there is simply no substitute for being a part of the day to day life of the people you love. My brother and sister have two little boys each and I'm missing out on them growing up, having a relationship with them.

'Tony and I reached a point where we decided we were both ready for a career break we decided to save up and take a year off work to travel Latin America. We felt we deserved it and afterwards we planned to start a new life in the UK, back in the bosom of my family. We've been through plenty of immigration drama, before we were marred, getting my permanent residency status in NZ but we figured we had a year of free time to work out the details...never thinking that such ridiculously restrictive new rules would have been put in place.

'We quit our jobs, sold anything of value and headed of on our new adventure. For the last 6 months we have been hiking and exploring the southern part of South America, finally after all those years work being able to have so much time together to enjoy. Three months in I thought I'd better work out the details of getting Tony residency in the UK... After 14 years together, 10 married I was envisioning, like New Zealand, it'd just be an expensive exercise with lots of frustrating paperwork. Well you already know what I discovered to my dismay....the rules exclude us from returning to the UK.

'I've been through them with a fine toothcomb. I was appalled that people on low incomes were not afforded the same rights as the middle class. Still I didn't think this applied to us, we already have good job offers on the UK which will put us well over the salary requirements. We also have some savings and rental properties which are bringing in income each month. Plus my sister has renovated her house so we can live there until we find our own to buy. There is no chance we will be living on benefits, we have jobs to go to and frankly

'I've no idea how people are supposed to live off the measly benefit income - I've no intention of finding out.

'Here's what I've found out: Our fantastic trip of a lifetime holiday excludes us from being eligible to return to the UK as we haven't been working. Our savings aren't enough to be counted as nothing under £16000 is. In fact we need to prove we have £62500 in savings (all but impossible on an NZ salary). Our assets (rental properties) can not be counted unless we sell them off which would mean we would lose a huge amount of money and anyway would take months to do, after which we still have to wait 6 months with that cash sat in a low interest account (because we're not allowed to have savings in high interest term deposit accounts).....
And that's before the applying and waiting god knows how many months for them to process it. Our rental income can not be counted as our properties are owned by a limited company in NZ (that we are 100% owners of) for tax efficiency.

'I know, I know we are on a year long holiday and have job offers and actually have assets etc. you wont be shedding tears, but I am. We still are left with a choice of living apart for likely a year on opposite sides of the world or never returning to the UK and my family.

'I'm frankly livid with the UK government. I think an income related immigration test for families is abhorrent anyway but to have one that is not just about stopping people claiming benefits but is actually saying only the very wealthy can marry foreigners is an outrage. I just about choked when I read in the case study UKBA guidance notes where they describe a person with £1million in stocks and shares liquidating the £62500 required... I mean seriously!

'So there's now a dark cloud over our once in a lifetime trip. We don't know what to do next.... All advice and suggestions greatly appreciated, along with telling me what more I can do to fight this thing, not just on our behalf but on the behalf of all the other people who's terrible stories I have read.'

- Amanda
Theresa May's immigration policy is ruining people's health.


There is a terrible human cost to the government's immigration policy orchestrated by home secretary Theresa May.

Thousands of families are being torn apart and forced to live in separate countries as a result of a new £18,600 salary requirement for bringing a foreign spouse from a non-EU country into the UK.

This is more than almost half the population earns and if the couple have children, the salary requirement rises by thousands of pounds.

These new rules, introduced in July 2012, have played havoc with the physical and mental health of many Brits, their partners and children who are separated from each other or threatened with separation.

The murky depths of online xenophobia: http://michaelsjournalism.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/the-murkey-depths-of-online-xenophobia/

The trouble and heartache to love your child.




Swiss policies segregating asylum seekers draw outrage.


Proposals in a bill slipped out as Parliament broke for the Summer, and due to be debated as soon as MPs return, will gag the TUC, trade unions and every campaign group in the country in what can only be seen as a “chilling attack on free speech”.

The Transparency of Lobbying, non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill will make organising the 2014 annual TUC Congress or organising a TUC national demonstration in the 12 months before the 2015 General Election into criminal offences.


My seeds and your grandchildren - funny and appropriate.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Bye bye Papa


By Lizzie - her family's story is here : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/lizzie

Lizzie says : This video is what happens everyday when we say goodbye to my husband on Skype. Due to changes in UK family immigration laws, my husband was refused visa. He cannot even enter the UK to visit us. It doesn't matter that we got married in England. It does not matter that we have a baby together. Our human right to a normal family life has been respected, worse Ignored. This video is snippet of the effect this has on our daughter. The APPG on migration reported that the new rules have a disproportionate effect on British families but the government have, as yet, ignored the report. We need changes now. Every day delayed is a day lost to us.

Skype Mummy : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhHpaq4KBxY

Skype Daddy : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKrCUaKB4KM

(Note - both the families in the Skype Mummy and Skype Daddy videos are well on the way to resolving their situations.
Skype Mummy now has her visa, and is in the UK - http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/andy
Skype Daddy now has his EEA family permit and so is set on the Surinder Singh route -  http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/surinder%20singh
As noted here - http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/this-is-monday-read-and-smile-remember.html - many situations are well on their way to resolution. Family division rules actually don't work).
New BritCits online library

I'm playing around a bit with the layout of the page. You'll notice some tabs above, one of which is to the primary documents library :

I am compiling a selection of useful/interesting primary documents here. Statements of intent, APPG reports, important Hansard debates, ministerial responses, correspondence, and people's personal experiences both of the rules (where the piece is too long to post on the main britcits page or in the pack, but important and well-written enough to stand on its own), and especially experiences of people using the Surinder Singh route.

Basically I'm experimenting with the layout of the site and am providing links here to make primary documents easy to find. A lot of the documents are already on here : http://www.scribd.com/sjplep/documents - but putting them on one short page should make them easy to find.

At the moment the links are in roughly chronological order on how the campaign has developed, but this may change in the future to a more thematic presentation.
Judge criticises errors in Haywards Heath dad deportation case.


 A judge said she was “concerned” about the number of errors made by the Home Office who are trying to deport a father-of-three.

Australian-born Phil Sommerville, 46, attended a court hearing to appeal the decision to send him back to Australia yesterday (FRI) but the tribunal was adjourned as the Home Office did not have the necessary documentation.

More :



Star-crossed couple get married in USA.


A Barnsley teenager kept apart from his American sweetheart by UK immigration rules has married her in the USA.

Alex Firth, 18, of Osborne Mews, met Jamie Freeman, 19, who lives in Georgia, on the internet last September on a language learning website.

Previously :

Saturday 17 August 2013

'... relocation outside the EU is not an acceptable option for EU citizens'.
(Oxford Human Rights Hub).


Indirectly sending the citizen into exile? The relevance of British citizenship to proportionality under Article 8 ECHR.

Blake J’s conclusion is clear: in the absence of a conscribed list demonstrating compelling justification (factors such as criminality, adverse immigration history and lack of self-sufficiency are considered relevant), refusing entry clearance (or leave to remain) in circumstances where the British citizen partner would have to relocate outside the UK to continue family life is a disproportionate interference with rights protected under Article 8 ECHR.

Previously :
High Court finds minimum income rules disproportionate and unjustified.

UK spouse immigration rules 'unjustified', High Court says.

Out of the blue.

Home Office announces that it will appeal.

BritCits Meetup in Bristol, 21st August!


Let's meet up, have a chat, support each other, share stories, share ideas, try to beat these goddam family migration rules!

Spotted on social media :
It occurred to me that there ought to be Foreign Office advice to travellers going to countries outside of the EU. Don't fall in love.

https://twitter.com/jitjindar :
@WeDemandUk @David_Cameron your govt's draconian #familymigration policies have effectively placed me in exile. It's time you & them went!

“I can’t believe I may never be able to return home, as breaking up my family for several months just isn’t feasible.” : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/sarah-i-cant-believe-i-may-never-be.html 

@jitjindar's story.

Smart(phone) riposte to UKBA raids?


 A new app, by a strange and impressive group called Immigrant X, alerts users to UKBA spot-checks.

It's a clever and much-needed little thing. I particularly like the way it crowd-sources the validation process. An alert is established when someone spots a potential UKBA operation.


Torture survivors' photo project.


Everyone who took part was eager to use their camera to raise public awareness of the devastating impact poverty is having on survivors of torture. Documenting their day-to-day reality - from sleeping under bridges to struggling to stay warm, these pictures highlight many of the issues detailed in our research.

Friday 16 August 2013

The families separated by the government... on YouTube.


Another chance to see the Channel 4 News piece featuring BritCits Andy and Christopher.

Previously :

Newlyweds face life on opposite sides of world.


A LIFE 10,000 miles apart is about to become a shocking reality for a married couple living on the East Coast because of immigration rules.

Australian Gavin Clark married his wife Sarah, from Withernsea, last October after conducting a four-year long-distance courtship.

But the couple’s “fairy-tale romance” has not had the ending they hoped for and yesterday they were reeling from the news that Mr Clark faces deportation in two weeks time.

Thursday 15 August 2013

The families separated by the government.


An excellent piece by Channel 4. Featuring two BritCits - Andy ( http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/andy-my-poor-boys.html ) and Christopher ( http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/christopher ) - plus  Saira Grant of JCWI ( http://www.jcwi.org.uk/ ) - on Channel 4 News.

'Last year, I met Andy Russell and his two little boys Dylan, aged 6, and Devon, 4. The new immigration rules forced their mother Molly to return to China while Andy searched for work - a job which would pay at least £18,600 - the minimum earnings threshold for his wife to be allowed to stay. (Previous media piece on Andy : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/a-good-day.html ).

'He told me: "The emotional cost you cannot put a price on. When Molly first left, devon just cried, he'd spent every day and night with his mum and suddenly he had nothing"

'They were forced to communicate through Skype and Molly became known as "computer mummy".


'... Chris Reed is still waiting even though an immigration tribunal ruled in his favour.

'At the age of 63 he works 45 hours a week caring for the elderly. He's £17 a week short of that annual £18,600 figure.

'It's not enough to bring his Kenyan wife to Britain, even though he has a rent-free home and no mortgage.

'At the tribunal, the Home Office - which is in the process of defying legal attempts to amend the rules and lower the financial bar - contested that thousands of pounds in premium bonds did not amount to savings and suggested that Mr Reed simply move to Mombasa.

'Chris told us:"I was dumbfounded it should even be an option, that as a British citizen I should be asked to uproot and leave my family behind just because I had fallen in love with someone who doesn't come from the EU."

'The judge agreed, saying: "I do not accept it is reasonable to expect a British citizen to live in Kenya. It would deprive him of of the benefits of his British citizenship."'

 ‘No free man shall be arrested, imprisoned, dispossessed, outlawed, exiled or in any way victimised, or attacked except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land’ - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magna_Carta

Andy in action.