"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 February 2014

Change of date - MM case

Previously : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/mm-case-3rd4th-march-httpswww.html

Tuesday 4th March is the first day NOT MONDAY! - courtroom 76 is where we expect it to be but do check courtroom number on the day.  The case number you are looking for is: C4/2013/2086. 

9:30 for demo outside RCJ, and case starts from 10:30. Address is: Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL   

Whilst there is no limit on the numbers taking part in the demonstration, and no limit on the numbers entering Royal Courts of Justice (subject to meeting security requirements), there IS a limit on the number of people in the courtroom at any one time.  The lawyers fighting the case have assured us they have requested the courtroom with the largest public gallery (confirmed by the listings office) which likely has a capacity between 25-40 people.  Having a ticket does NOT guarantee entry into the courtroom as that is not under our control.   

We MUST show the panel of judges how important this case is therefore if the public gallery is packed this will work in our favour. Given the hopefully big turnout reflecting the widespread devastation caused by the rules, we expect there will be many of us outside the courtroom (perhaps taking it in turns to go inside to replace leavers), and those outside will be able to discuss the rules, impact on them, courtroom antics and meet others affected by the rules.  Pub/cafe session afterwards to discuss day's events if there is sufficient interest.  Even if you can't make it for the whole day, please come for part of it.  Bring your friends, family, colleagues. Be represented.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Expediting an EU residence card application

(Useful for Surinder Singhers and others exercising free movement rights).


'This is just one of the useful snippets from the ILPA policies and concessions gaining course I co-presented with Alison Stanley and Meghan Vozila last week. They in fact did most of the work!

'It is possible to request expedition of an EU residence card application where it has been outstanding for over three months. See the European Casework Instructions at Chapter 10 for details. There are also other potential justifications for speeding things up, including being unable to make journeys necessary for compassionate or business reasons on existing documents, being elderly (i.e. 65 or over) and showing that an EEA document is needed for a particular job.This is just one of the useful snippets from the ILPA policies and concessions gaining course I co-presented with Alison Stanley and Meghan Vozila last week. They in fact did most of the work!'
Valentina from Hereford


'The immigration status on my head was only a excuse by my employer to dismiss me because I was taking too much time off for my pregnancy related illnesses… '

Thanks to https://twitter.com/SalCardiff for sharing.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Family split apart by immigration rules


'A young Welsh American family is being torn apart by controversial immigration rules with the mother and her 18-month-old baby being forced to leave Britain and fly across the Atlantic today while her teacher husband stays in Wales.

'Gower College lecturer Matthew Pudner, 35, of Skewen, Neath, met his librarian wife Molly, originally from California, while both worked in New York.

'When their son Solomon was born 18 months ago their decided to re-locate to Wales so Solomon would have close access to Matthew’s family and last September both quit their jobs to start a new life in Neath.

'But because the couple did not have jobs on arrival in the UK and did not have the required savings in the bank, Mrs Pudner was denied a spousal visa and only allowed to stay for six months which is up today...'

More : http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/family-split-apart-immigration-rules-6607837
 Adult dependant relatives meetup - East London


The last in a series. Please be there if you can :
Jagonari Centre, 183-185 Whitechapel Road, London, Thursday February 27th at 6:00 pm.

BritCits and JCWI are holding meetings around the country to discuss the adult dependant rules.

The aim is to share information and see how we can work together to amend what is seen as a ban masquerading as a rule, so that we can look after our family - parents, grandparents etc.

This is a JCWI led initiative and we are lucky they have been successful in obtaining funding for the undertaking of allowing this research.

Also discussed will be the Surinder Singh route - what it is and our experience of it.

More : http://jcwi.org.uk/sites/default/files/ADR%20flyer%20All%20mtgs_0.pdf

New petition

'Since 2012, people in the UK have no longer had the same human rights as each other.  Our human rights, and lack of them, are now based on our income.

'Your ability to be with the person you love depends, if you are from different countries, on how much money you earn - even if you have enough to support you both.

'Sign this petition to urge David Cameron to change the law. '


Sunday 23 February 2014

BritCits survey results

Results of the survey we recently conducted on the impact of the income requirements for family immigration applications, and the Home Office's treatment of visa applications in general.

PDF format : http://www.scribd.com/doc/208720551/Stats-From-BC-Poll

MM Case - 3rd/4th March


Big day is here. The first real opportunity to ensure the judicial system is aware of how destructive UK's family immigration rules are for ordinary British citizens and residents who wish for nothing but to live with ther family member without state interference.

Divided Families (BritCits, JCWI and MRN) is organising two events for the first day of the MM vs Ors case, in the Court of Appeal, which we understand at the moment is Monday 3rd March. (This MIGHT be amended to Tuesday 4th March - so pls avoid booking any train tickets until the preceding Friday if possible, as we will know definitive dates by then.)

We have two events relating to this:

a) outside demonstration from 9:30am. Pls bring banners, placards, photos of your family.

b) filling the public gallery inside the court room. There is capacity for around 40 ppl, on a first come first serve basis. There are stringent security checks and many items are not permitted to be taken inside.

Friday 21 February 2014

Love Letters to the Home Office

Love Letters to the Home Office is a book of short stories written by people who are separated by the UK's 2012 Family Visa Law. 

The law, with its artificially high financial requirement, means that people in the UK who earn less than £18,600 per year have different human rights to the rest of the UK population: these people do not have the right to live with their wives, husbands, partners and families from overseas (a right granted to all of us in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights). While the rule is still in place, thousands of families are separated, unable to live together.   We are documenting the extraordinary love stories of these separated families, and tell the stories of love that crosses borders, oceans and seas.

Are you affected by the law?

Are you, or have you been, separated from your loved one(s)?

Would you like to take part in this book?


Love Letters to the Home Office is a collection of stories of love: of extraordinary moments in extraordinary relationships.   Please consider that more than one person in your family may want to submit a story.

For many people featured in the book, English won't be your first language.  Don't worry about that at all.  Just send us what you can, and if we need to, we will put you in touch with a ghost writer who will work with you to perfect your story.

We are currently looking for stories of the following lengths:
* 500 words
* 250 words
* Paragraphs - little moments anywhere between 40 and 100 words long

You won't have enough room to write your whole family or relationship history in the story.  Please focus on the moment or event that you want to share with us, and let the other details (which country your family member is living in, or how long you have been married, etc) be included as they naturally come up as you tell us the love story.

If you are stuck, and you don't know what to write about, these prompts may be useful to you:
- how does it feel when you see them at the airport?
- tell us the creative ways you celebrate your anniversaries while you are apart
- how their face lights up when they see you on Skype...
- the places that you have travelled to in order to see each other
- how it feels to simply drink a coffee together, or cook together, at last!

Email your story to editor@lovelettershome.org
Please include a phone number that we can contact you on, to talk to you about your story.
The closing date for submissions is 8th March 2014, and we encourage you to send yours as soon as possible for the best chance of being included in the book.

We look forward to hearing from you!

We encourage you to write a short story that focuses on beautiful moments that you and your loved one(s) share.  You don't need to write about the unfairness of the law: that is crystal clear in the context of the book being published, and we are much more interested in hearing your love story.  The same is true of the Home Office: most of us who have gone through the visa application process have experience of the system not having integrity and not working.  You don't need to write about this, unless it gives specific context to your love story.  Word counts are very limited, so don't waste yours on anger - tell us your extraordinary tales of love!

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Family immigration rules and class-based exclusion

By https://twitter.com/AlaSirriyeh

A great piece.

'In her book Revolting Subjects, Imogen Tyler describes how the poor have become regarded as 'failed citizens'. The new minimum income threshold effectively links the right to family life (set out in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights) with income levels and those on lower incomes are effectively lesser citizens as they find that this right has been eroded. Just as responsible families engage in paid employment rather than sitting on welfare, do not live in housing that is beyond their means and do not have more children than they can afford to support; personal relationships have been commodified and ordered into basic necessities and luxuries. In contrast to transnational elites, the new family migration rules imply that those on low incomes who are in international relationships are living beyond their means and need to be disciplined. '


Adult Dependant Relatives in Edinburgh, this Thursday, 6:30 pm


JCWI are in Edinburgh to discuss the effects of the immigration rules of adult dependant relatives. If you're in the area and have time, do drop by.

Saturday 15 February 2014

Chinese language article on Divided Families Campaign

(I suggest pasting the text in translate.google.com - you can get a very comprehensible translation).

The article refers to in the piece comparing developed capitalist countries' income requirements. That was done by the Migrant Integration Policy Index. Only Norway's income requirement is higher, but Norway has a far higher average income than the UK (which is more equitably distributed). Most countries are far far lower, if they have one at all.

Can't buy me love? :

'With less than £18,600, a British citizen or non-EU UK resident could more easily reunite with their spouse in nearly every other major country of immigration in the world—except their own. This briefing used the most recent government and academic sources to calculate estimates of the income levels for sponsors to reunite with their spouse or partner (for EU countries, the amount reflects the requirements for non-EU sponsors/spouses). The UK has now set an income threshold that is higher than in all other major Western countries of immigration, besides oil-rich Norway.'

The tragedy of Donna Oettinger, also referred to :

Donna started to suffer from depression last April when her Egyptian boyfriend – Zaki’s dad, Mohamed Nasr – was not allowed to come and live in the UK because of Visa problems.

The angry friend yesterday said the tragedy should have been prevented. The pal, who did not want to be named, claimed: “It could have been avoided. It was waiting to happen because she has been let down, not by her family – they were the most supportive family – but by doctors and the NHS.

Google translated article below :
'2014 Valentine's Day, a group gathered in front of St Paul 's Cathedral in London , England wearing a wedding dress to the bride and groom Interior demonstrators who is a day of sorrow and indignation , because they beloved other half, all of them are not around ! Have all been blocked in the UK outside the border , in Nigeria , Libya , South Africa , in China , in Korea , in Japan, in the United States , in Australia, in Canada , in Vietnam , in Cuba ...... everything does not belong to the European Union country. Many of them are forced to become a " single parent" , forced to live year after year, "skype couples ' lives. Although this kind of life can not be destroyed , "I want to be together , life without end , the mountain ridge , the rivers have dried up, thunderstorms , snow in summer , Heaven, and the king must dare are " the oath , but enough to shake human rights the cornerstone of Western society .
From the comments ( more via http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/poll-on-income-requirements-please.html#comment-form )

These rules are so ridiculously unfair, and they're forcing people to put their lives and dreams on hold, no one should have to go through this, you have to be major rich or work crazy crazy hours just to be with the one you love and married.

Ive been separated from my husband for the past 13 months whilst I concentrated on getting my income to the required level. I have relied on overtime and relief work to meet the requirement as my salary fell short by £3000 p.a .The stress , worry and impact it has had on my family has been awful to say the least. Ive been fortunate enough to have the extra work available and my children are older so difficulties around childcare as a forced single parent were not as difficult to arrange as someone with younger children. ( some weeks i have worked over 65 hours and I have only took 4 days annual leave in the past 8 months and worked Christmas day , Christnas eve night , New years eve night and New Years day ( night shift ) My husband has been granted his spouse visa after it very nearly went on hold as the letter my husband received stated that overtime is not guranteed therefore the case officer wasnt satisfied I was meeting the gross annual requirement. We were given the chance to submit further evidence that I meet the requirement and I submitted a 76 page file which left no room for refusal! My husband will be joining me on the 13th February so yes we have our happy ending. I feel for those unable to meet this requirement and cannot believe that in 2014 people are being "punished " for simply not earning a set amount of money that many jobs do not pay. Human right violations being disguised as "protecting public funds" to those that dont really have a clue as to what is going on. I had seriously looked at relocating in Europe somewhere and begging my employer for a career break to enable me to do this and still have the option to return if employment was difficult to secure. I would have had to wait until two of my children were independent though as they are part way through completing thier education ( both due to start university this September and next September) Only the financially rich will have freedom and rights in this country in the not so distant future.

I left the UK due to the financial crisis and in order to not simply collect benefits and become a burden on society. I had planned to go abroad for a short period of time and return when the economy improved. During my time away I met my future wife and we have been living together ever since. The financial rules make moving back to the UK an impossibility. I work as a TEFL teacher and obtaining a salary large enough to satisfy the rules is incredibly rare. Therefore, I am living in political exile from my own country. I am unwilling to part from my wife and unable to return to the UK. I feel that my life and my ability to live in the country of my birth is being treated like a political football - a matter to be kicked back and forth with no regard for people in my situation.

Like the previous writer, I'm a TEFL teacher who met my wife in Colombia. We have a three year old son who I wish to receive his education in the UK. My wife and son aren't able to come here and therefore we've been separated. I own my own house here in Brighton (no mortgage), have very low travel expenses and can provide for my family. If I rented a property and spent half my wages on travelling to London every day for work, they'd let my wife in but we'd be poorer tan we are now. Crazy and inflexible system! But if you're in charge of the HO, just employ who you like, from wherever you like and charge premium rates for your advice line. Nice business to be in!

The income rule is inhumane. Half of the workers in this country do not earn £18600. This nasty policy excludes vast swathes of the UK, especially in the north and Wales where average wage is below £18600. In fact this £18600 arbitrary minimum excludes many groups. So woe betide you should you fall in love with a non-EU person if you live outside of London & the Southeast, if you are a woman (60% of working women earn below £18600), if you are disabled, if you're on minimum wage, or if you're black or ethnic (average wage of ethnic people is below £18600). It's nothing more than a poor-bashing, disability-discriminating, racist, sexist policy. And are these Tory policymakers thick, or just deliberately disingenuous? Because non-EU partners/spouses of British citizens have always had NO RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS even before the introduction of this bigoted rule.

Because of these rules, My grand daughter is now in care as my sons wife decided she could no longer wait for him and found another man. In the process they neglected my grand daughter who was taken into care.

Unfortunately, 2 weeks after I came home happily married and eager to apply for the Spouse Visa for my husband, I saw Theresa May announce the rule changes. I was devastated, and have been ever since, because it is impossible for me to earn that income here in rural Devon. I've been apart from my husband for 2 years, and we really want to have kids together, but now I am 35 and time is running out. These rules have made me so depressed. I don't want to leave my Dad to live abroad, and leave my mother to struggle on her own with his illness and all the farm work.

It's put such a strain on my life, my emotional and physical health. It is heart-wrenching to be apart from the  person you love and to see your chances of having a family slipping away before your eyes. 

Thank you all for your comments and responses.

Friday 14 February 2014

We are family.... outside St. Paul's Cathedral

Please follow https://twitter.com/WeAreFamilyUK for more updates and pictures...  organised by Migrants' Rights Network.

Photos by Emma : https://twitter.com/emmabmoussa
An undivided family in Malta


'We hope to make this blog a weekly account of our experience of living and working in Malta as an EU national and non-EEA spouse, and look forward to sharing our life with you, our family, friends and everyone else who follows us.'

One family's journey to unity, the European way.

David and Dee's stories : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/dee

Surinder Singh and European free movement : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/surinder%20singh

Great Facebook support group for those considering this route : https://www.facebook.com/groups/650212281695959/

News flash

'So UKIP have beaten the Tories in the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election.

'Theresa May has failed to beat them over the head by being really tough on immigration.

'Never mind, still over a year to go until the General Election so a few adjustments need to be made to ensure victory and they will have effect from yesterday lunchtime.

'For spouse visa:-

'Earnings requirement now £18,600 per month
'Minimum age for British national introduced - Must be over 87
'Evidence of committed relationship by having at least 12 children

'New Section 9 criteria:-

'(a) Must have worked or been self-employed in host state
'(b) Partner has to have been living with you in host state
'(c) Must have moved centre of life and integrated into host state
'(d) Must have served two terms as President of a republic or be related to the royal family if monarchy exists
'(e) Must have won at least £50m in host state lottery (can be combined winnings from different draws)
'(f) non-EEA partner must show that they share ancestry with Theresa May (not exceeding 5 generations)

Thanks to Alan D. Via Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/groups/650212281695959/permalink/693824450668075/

Thursday 13 February 2014

Unhappy Valentine's Day

Via Immigration Insight :


'Many people will be celebrating with their loved one this Valentine’s Day, but thousands of couples are being forced to spend the holiday in separate countries due to harsh family migration legislation.

'Thousands of couples have been hit by an £18,600 salary requirement for sponsoring the visa of a non-EU spouse in the UK. The unjustly high earnings threshold – which approximately 47% of the UK population cannot afford – means couples have been torn apart and will be forced to spend this special day alone.

'We asked you to email us your stories to us and have chosen two couples separated from their partners to feature in this post...'

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Families divided by UK immigration rules

























http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/introduction.html (many links)







Via Facebook thread - https://www.facebook.com/groups/139807999382936/

Saturday 8 February 2014

Poll on the income requirements - please complete

BritCits has been asked to submit a witness statement on the impact of the financial requirements of UK's family immigration rules and Home Office treatment of visa applications.

This is an unmissable opportunity for us to show the Court of Appeal the devastating impact on the lives of ordinary families, who just wish to live together with no recourse to public funds.

Please complete the survey below to participate.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Immigration minister Mark Harper has resigned from the government after it emerged his cleaner did not have permission to work in the UK.


"I am extremely sorry to lose him from the Home Office but I am confident that he will be able to bring his considerable talents to government as a minister again in future."

So no £10,000 fine then. ( http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-immigration-bill-reduce-illegal-immigrants/16004 )

https://twitter.com/OwenJones84 :
Various people who I suspect are on first terms with Mark Harper are going on about how decent he is. He was behind the 'Go Home' vans.

https://twitter.com/IanDunt :
Spare me the praise for Harper's honour. Think instead about his cleaner, who will be deported without anyone mentioning her better nature.

https://twitter.com/MigrantVoiceUK :
if an immigration minister didn't know how will landlords, hospitals, surgeries, teachers... As per #ImmigrationBill £10k fine?

https://twitter.com/NoXenophobia :
ByeBye Mark Harper, tough isn't it - checking someone's immigration status? #stoptheimmigrationbill

https://twitter.com/ColinYeo1 :
The exchange of letters between Harper and Cameron suggests he has in fact 'broken the law' and is liable for a civil penalty. More soon...

https://twitter.com/thedharmablues :
Employing a person is no reason to resign. Ruining lives and destroying families for political gain, now that's a much better reason.

https://twitter.com/EiriOhtani :
I'd like to thank Mark Harper for demonstrating that requirement to check pple's immigration status is just unworkable. #stopImmigrationBill

Friday 7 February 2014

‘I used to be proud to be British’

A short film about how heartless migration rules are tearing families apart :

Join the We Are Family camp, on the 14th February :

'On February 14th, we’re organising a campaign camp on the £18,600 income trap. Because of these rules, thousands of UK residents are being prevented every year from having a family life here - we are calling for a change in the rules!

'This event will be a great opportunity for families affected by the new rules and other supporters to meet each other, talk to journalists, and take the campaign to the next stages. You will have a chance to take in some keynote speeches, hear from affected families, learn about media and campaigning and even make Valentine’s Day cards to send to the Government.'

More :

London Churches and Refugee Network : Meeting on family migration

From the co-ordinators :

Dear friends
'I am pleased to let you know that plans are in hand for the London Churches Refugee Network meeting to be held on Wednesday 2 April at Trinity House, 4 Chapel Court off Borough High Street.  We shall focus on Family Migration, the government policy that is dividing families and keeping them apart. This will have been in force for two years in July and we, with other organisations, need to learn about and challenge the draconian measures which are tearing families apart.  Ruth Grove-White, the Policy Director, of Migrants Rights Network will lead the presentation.

'Included on the agenda will be an update on the Immigration Bill.

'Please see the attachment with the flier for more details.

'As ever please let me know of your willingness to attend, as soon as possible, as this helps the administration of the event.. This is for Security/Health and Safety reasons and numbers for refreshments.'

(If you wish to attend, email londonchurchesrefugeenetwork@gmail.com to give an indication of numbers).

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Heartrending: an open letter from someone affected by the rules

'Here we are inching closer to the 2 year anniversary of when the Home Office took away multiple human rights of British citizens married to non-eu spouses. Hurting both British family values and all children involved.

'Every day of my life since these rule changes were brought in unlawfully I read web page after web page, legal document after legal document trying to figure out a way for my family to be able to live together in the UK. My husband earns £17,000 annually, which a very good wage for South Wales. There is no way he will earn more, in order for him to reach this income he is working 12 hour shifts 5 - 6 days per week + travel time of an hour each way. There is not enough time in the day for him to get a part time job. For us to meet the savings requirement we would have to have over £29,500 sitting in savings for 6 months.... this would take us over 5 years to save.

'How are these rules being allowed to remain in force? They were unlawfully brought into force, the rules infringe on multiple human rights of British families and British children. The rules themselves are cruel and unnecessary. I say unnecessary as the reason the Home Office has stated they need to take such drastic measures is to protect the tax payers and ensure the non-EU spouses are not a burden. How can we be burdens to the tax payers if we have no recourse to public funding until after we have become citizens ourselves? If I were allowed to join my husband I would be able to work, paying taxes in the UK but not able to access the system until I have been in the country for 5 years and received my indefinite leave to remain status.

'I recently came across a UN web site that breaks down the human rights into easy to read verbiage
as you can see it clearly states that: " Marriage customs and family laws are different from place to place. Some cultures value large families, others value small ones. But you should be able to choose who you marry, and your country is obliged to protect this right and your family. "

'If the United Kingdom is OBLIGATED under the UN guidelines to protect the right to family life why is nothing being done when the UK Home Office is clearly violating this and making in nearly impossible for average earners in the UK to be able to have their non-eu families with them?

'The UK Children's Commission has also put together a report of the damages these rules are causing to British children when their British parent is being forced to live as a single parent simply because of the insane income requirement that is unachievable by so many British citizens. My, and my husband's only choices right now are to keep living separate lives until 5 years have passed and we save up the £29,500..... how is this being allowed in a first world country that preaches the importance of family and British family values? I beg for help not only for my family but for all the families being forced apart by these immigration rules. There is an upcoming event on February 14, 2014 that of course I will not be able to attend as I am in Canada, my husband cannot attend as he cannot miss a day's work. Why do we have to fight for the born human right to family life that is suppose to be afforded to any human being? 

'I sit here at work yet again with tears streaming down my face, trying to work but unable to focus because of the heartache, depression, loneliness and worry surrounding the immigration rules and my family. The Home Office appealed the July 5, 2013 judgement http://www.freemovement.org.uk/2013/07/05/high-court-finds-minimum-income-rules-disproportionate-and-unjustified/ making all of the British families suffer further by putting all family visa applications on hold until a final decision has been reached.... this could go on for years if the Home Office continues to appeal. Why is this being allowed? These are our lives, our families, our futures..... please help us. Please reach out to the barristers, fellow MP's, any leaders with power to have these rules amended...