"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.

Thursday 26 September 2013


“UK trained my wife to PhD level and now doesn’t want her expertise in the UK workforce!”

Michael is a British citizen who met his Malaysian wife in Glasgow where she was studying for her PhD.

They got married in February of 2011 after a year of trying to get the permission to marry from the government.

They didn’t apply for a spouse visa straight away as his wife’s student visa was due to expire at the end of March 2011 anyway, and she was successful in being offered a job in Switzerland. So the couple moved from Glasgow to Switzerland in March 2011where they have lived ever since.

Michael has been working there too, in a combination of agency and self-employment, for over three months. His wife has been working in the same company for the full duration of their stay on a permanent contract.

The couple is now concerned. If for whatever reason, Michael’s wife were to lose her job, she would also lose her right to live in Switzerland, leaving Malaysia as the only option open to them if they were to continue to be together.

However, as their marriage is not legitimate under Muslim law, it would not be recognised in Malaysia and they are likely to face problems living together there.

This is a couple who don’t need to be in the UK right now. But they can see their future threatened by UK’s immigration rules, were their situation to change in the future.

They find it bizarre the situation UK has gotten itself into. It is happy training Michael’s wife to PhD level, and now doesn’t want her expertise in the workforce.


  1. This couple have much more than many people, They made the choice to live in Switzerland rather than apply for a spouse visa in the UK, British marriage is accepted in Malaysia.
    In fact civil and Muslim ceremonies are the only legally recognised options for marriage in Malaysia, it is possible to have a wedding ceremony in accordance with cultural or religious customs after the marriage has been formally registered. Many people choose to have a civil marriage followed by a religious ceremony.
    This couple can make a Nikah (muslim marriage ) at any time.
    As for returning to the UK this couple have better options than most.

  2. Thanks for your comment.

    I'm sure they appreciate that they have better options than many. Nevertheless the state has interfered in the most intimate aspects of their private lives, as well as the fact that they are living with uncertainty and upheaval simply because they have different nationalities. That is something that should be flagged.

    There are of course many distressing examples of the application of these rules.

  3. The 'fallacy of relative privation' - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_relative_privation - "I used to lament having no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet."

  4. They can remain in Switzerland even if wife looses job. Husband is a UK citizen, therefore has treaty rights in Switzerland. Switzerland joined free movement of labour with EU though not actually the EU in 3002. They can also return back to UK anytime with minimal formalities under the SS rule as in all ways migrating between Switzerland and UK is according to EEA rules not UK rules

    1. Thanks Anonymous. I am confident you are right about them staying in Switzerland. You could be right about returning under free movement, but I'll sound a note of caution - Switzerland isn't actually part of the EEA (it enjoys free movement under separate bilateral treaties) . As stated here : http://www.scribd.com/doc/132967967/Guide-Free-Movement-Low - 'The Directive does
      apply in relation to
      . However, you can enjoy certainrights in Switzerland on the basis of the 1999 EU-Swiss Agreement on Free Movement of Persons and the Protocols. These rights are more limited than those granted under theDirective.'

      As relatively few people have used free movement rights in Switzerland, this is an area that should be checked out thoroughly beforehand.