"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.

Sunday 30 March 2014

Calling readers in Oxfordshire

'Someone I know is making a piece of theatre about people who have unexpectedly become activists because of social injustice. Which is most of us, as I understand it! '

Please contact me if interested and I'll put you in touch - steve@britcits.com
Free Movement : Yashika Bageerathi and the Family Returns Process


'The story of Yashika Bageerathi has touched many. A bright student brought to the UK by her mother with her siblings to escape domestic violence at home in Mauritius, she has a promising future here if allowed to remain. Because she has turned 18 and is no longer a child, though, the Home Office has apparently separated her case from that of her mother and siblings and is trying to enforce her return independently.

'I’m seeing some pretty odd reports on Twitter, though, so thought a bit of legal background might be useful. Basically, I can’t see how an airline can refuse to take someone who would be leaving voluntarily, albeit under huge pressure from the immigration authorities...'


https://twitter.com/chunkymark :
'A woman passed away on mother's day.Died from a heart attack in Yarlswood Detention Centre.. Where healthcare is paracetamol for everything'

https://twitter.com/Heather_Jones5 :
'Working with detained asylum seekers shocked by system that treats women as though they don't matter in country that should know better.' 

https://twitter.com/DannyShawBBC :
'Mauritius News claims Yarl's Wood woman died of heart attack after complaining of feeling unwell for several days. Reports unconfirmed.'

https://twitter.com/fatimamanji :
'Now campaigner says 's case comes in a climate of disbelief of asylum seekers
' says all sad at death of another detainee at Yarlswood today. Another detainee told me all the women there are v emotional

https://twitter.com/ncadc :
'Home office confirms report- woman died in #YarlsWood today. Time to end detention of these women
https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/theresa-may-british-home-secretary-end-the-detention-of-women-who-seek-asylum  '

'Emma Mlotshwa, co-ordinator of the charity Medical Justice, which works to protect the health of immigration detainees, said: "We are shocked but not surprised to hear of this tragic death. Any death in immigration detention is avoidable as immigration detention is optional.' :http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/30/yarls-wood-immigration-centre-detainee-dies?CMP=twt_fd

Interview with a Yarls Wood child detainee, parts 1 and 2 :


Saturday 29 March 2014

Love letters to the Home Office : Toni and Craig


'... Little did Toni and Craig know that 4,129 miles across the ocean was the answer to their prayers. One faithful evening a simple introduction changed their lives forever. Instant messages became emails, emails became phone calls, and hours and hours of phone calls became the vacation of a lifetime.'



'There’s a wee boy in Chandler, Arizona, USA. He’s 15 months old and his name is Robert. He has some baby toys but his favourite thing in the entire world isn’t a toy. Robert loves his mum’s Samsung tablet. He calls it ‘Da da’ and carries it around the house all the time.

'Robert hasn’t seen his father since he was 6 months old. The tablet is all he knows of him. They talk on Skype when they can, but there isn’t always a good connection; he doesn’t understand why his dad is sometimes sad when they talk and play.



'The right to enjoy happy days with my wife has been stripped from me.'

Laura and Chris :

Lizzie :

Lucy :

Nikkei and Courtney :

Sarah and Jeff :

And more :

Previous posts : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/love%20letters%20to%20the%20home%20office
Successful Surinder Singh report

Via EEA visa... EU free movement on Facebook
. Shared to help those going through the process :

'Below is a breakdown of our experience with the Family Permit application (including documents we submitted), respectfully I ask that you limit your questions to those not addressed below. Thoroughness is key to survival on this route so please READ EVERYTHING before posting your questions and comments.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Free Movement : Surinder Singh immigration route


An important and informative piece.

'The ‘Surinder Singh route’ has become well known to British citizens seeking to be reunited with their family members. The toughening up of UK immigration rules in July 2012 – particularly the introduction of the minimum income rule and its labyrinthine documentary requirements and the awful elderly dependent relative rules – is resulting in an increasing number of split families. To understand their misery and anguish, take a look at some of the comments left here and here on this blog. As recently reported, over 3,000 families had applications on hold by the Home Office pending the outcome of a test case, and that was only as of the end of December 2013. That was at least 6,000 adults and it is unknown how many of those couples have children. The numbers can only have increased since then.

'The old Court of Justice of the European Union case of Surinder Singh provides a potential means of bypassing the harsh UK immigration rules by relying instead in European Union free movement laws. But a new European case, O v The Netherlands Case C‑456/12, brings some good news and a bit of bad news...'

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Migrants' Rights Network : Family Migration: Labour and Lib Dems increase the pressure on Home Office ministers


'... The cat and mouse game of how many family reunion visa applications have been rejected or deferred on the grounds of not meeting the financial threshold rages on with Liberal Democrat MP David Ward requesting deferral figures. Colin Yeo of Free Movement estimates that 3,014 family visa applications are on hold. Brokenshire refused to give the figures because:

    'The Home Office does not hold internal management information on the number of spouse visa applications deferred on financial grounds while awaiting further evidence on the sponsors income since the new family rules were introduced on 9 July 2012.

'Similarly, Labour MP John Woodcock earlier this month queried the number of spousal visas granted in 2013. He was told 24,641 but it was ‘not possible to separately identify those granted visas under the old family rules and those granted visas under new family rules implemented on 9 July 2012.’

'Woodcock also requested data on the average time it takes to process a spousal visa application. He was told it is unnecessary to differentiate between spousal visas and other third country nationals visa applications.

'Parliamentarians are increasingly becoming irritated by the income threshold and the bluntness of the new family migration rules. It is good to see MPs such as Woodcock, Hames, and Murphy speaking out more openly about the impacts of this policy. It gives extra strength to the campaign against dividing families and more MPs and Peers should feel able to highlight the unfairness of these rules to their party leadership.'

Sunday 23 March 2014

A reader writes :

'Our much loved daughter Joanne has been living and working as an English teacher in Suzhou, China for almost six years. Whilst there she met and fell in love with Anthony who is Chinese national.  He is currently a Mandarin teacher who also speaks excellent English. 

'They would desperately like to work and make their home in England. Current rules would make this almost impossible without having a very large bank account. 

'It seems that my daughter's wish to come back to her country of birth with her husband is to be denied to her. We all miss her so much and never dreamed that this country's rules could change in such a callous way.

'We supported her wish to see a bit more of the world and experience life in another country, and also her wish to get married to Anthony, an extremely polite and well educated young man who would definitely be an asset to this country.

'We have visited our daughter in China on four occasions and met Anthony's parents who welcomed us into their home.  We are both retired and we know that we may not be able to continue to afford the expensive flights or cope with the travelling for  many more years. 

'We chat to our daughter daily and we are all desperately following any news that may give us some hope that things will change for the better. '

Joanne and Anthony are now looking into exercising free movement rights for their future :
Enfield head teacher fights to stop deportation of star student Yashika Bageerathi to Mauritius


#FightForYashika : https://twitter.com/search?q=%23FightForYashika&src=tyah

https://twitter.com/PukkahPunjabi :
Heartening to see teachers and students uniting to stop deportation of a 6th former in Enfield #FightForYashika

Sign here :

Enfield student's deportation must be reconsidered, says shadow minister :

'An online petition to the Home Office to persuade them to let her stay to complete her education at Oasis Academy Hadley, has reached more than 13,000 signatures.

'Supporters are using social media with the hashtags #FightForYashika and #SaveYasikha to spread the word.

'Her mother said that the family left the country as a result of death threats from a family member and violence from local gangs. '
UK visa changes a shock for British citizens and their Australian partners


'It's estimated hundreds of British citizens living in Australia are being prevented from returning home with their Australian partners because of recent changes to the country's visa rules.'

Well, if you call July 2012 recent... it's not like we didn't try to get the message out.

Saturday 22 March 2014

#FightForYashika Stop this sixth form student being deported alone. She deserves a future!


'Yashika arrived in the UK along with her mother and brother in 2012 to escape abuse and danger.  In that time, Yashika has proved herself a model student of Oasis Academy Hadley and valuable member of the Enfield community.  Simply because she is now over 18 she is to be torn apart from her family in the UK and deported to Mauritius without even having the chance to complete her A-levels.

'Yashika Bageerathi is being held at Yarl’s Wood detention centre

'She has been told she will be imminently deported alone to a country where she has neither friends nor family.

'This is against Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (respect for private and family life)

'Students deserve to complete their education and be rewarded for their hard work.

'Please show your support for Yashika and call on the Home Office to return to her studies.'

From the petition's comments :

I teach at Oasis Academy Hadley. I don't teach Yashika, but I do know her - everyone does. Our school is more than just a place where people sit exams. We are a community. Teachers are proud to teach here and students care deeply about each other. Whatever you think about immigration (and I think it's a good thing!) everybody knows that interrupting a student's education to send them to another country against their wishes is irresponsible and unfair. Our campaign celebrates Yashika's rightful place in our community and in this country. She has a right to be here. We have a duty to defend her and the actions of our students in taking positive actions to support Yashika is inspiring! 

Via UK Immigration Forum :

Twitter : https://twitter.com/search?q=%23FightForYashika&src=hash&f=realtime

... to all those who responded to this call out the other day. The reporter now has all the stories he needs - more than enough in fact (we'll unfortunately have to keep some in reserve for the next opportunity, which will come round sooner rather than later I'm sure). I'll let you know what transpires with this.
It's not just the wage limits that hurt people

by Tim


I am from Bristol and moved back there to be with my family but have had to move to Cardiff to get a job to meet the income requirements. I wrote this the other day and submitted it to your site. Here is my story, please feel free to share it.

It's not just the income restrictions that hurt families from the July 2012 revision to Spouse visa. I am a British Citizen and one who is fortunate enough to receive a salary that exceeds the minimum income requirements. I have been living in the US with my American wife for over 6 years. We decided to move back to Bristol last year.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Calling people in Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Bath, Weston-super-Mare....

A local reporter in the west of England is interested in the stories of divided families - your stories - for a short piece next week. Please email me for more information! :

Al Jazeera : UK war on immigration tears families apart


'... The assumption that migrants flock to Britain with little interest other than to attempt the intricate process of signing up to receive state funds is a common refrain that seems to conflict with the government's courting of foreign investment. If a British citizen is unemployed, they can apply for a visa for their spouse if they have cash savings of £62,000 ($103,000) in the bank for more than six months, something beyond the reach of most in the country. A picture slowly begins to emerge of a government policy that critics say wreaks havoc on families rich and poor alike. '

Jessie Najjar : "How can you explain that to a child that your dad isn't allowed to be here because he's not from this country, when all their friends' fathers are here? I'm just full of dread every day as I'm thinking of more things that are going to be horrible to tell him."

Jessica Peposhi : "I've been separated from my husband since 2012 when the new rules came in, and I have had enough of not feeling that I have the same rights as everyone else to live as a happily married couple. I don't even know what it's like to live as a married couple because we haven't had that chance to physically live together. I don't want to move out of my country. Why should I just because I've married someone that I love?"

Monte : "They don't take emotional ties into account," said Monte. "She visited me here recently and enjoys playing with my kids, but that was just on a tourist visa and then she had to leave. We are a very happy family and now we're split. It's a policy that makes you choose between your parent and your family in the UK who, if the breadwinner moves away, will be dependent on the state."

Katharine Williams-Radojicic : "I used to say that it is 2,000 miles [3,220 kilometres] by road from London to Podgorica, and if walking there was all I had to do for Raco and I to live our lives together in freedom, I'd start walking right now."

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Helen and Shawn


'My name is Helen Martin and I’m a British Citizen. My husband’s name is Shawn and he is from the USA...'

Love Letters Home :
When is a migrant no longer a migrant?

By Sonel

There has been considerable discussion of migrants in the UK recently. Whether you think they’re a burden on the taxpayer as the government would have you believe, or whether you place faith in data demonstrating migrants are net contributors, the question remains - at what point do you stop being a migrant? For my part, I was born in India, raised in Australia and ‘grew up’ in the UK. 

I was born where my mother went into labour.  Were it not for a quirk of fate, I would have been born in the USA.  But would I truly have been able to call myself American simply because I was born there?

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Left to die in British detention: who was Alois Dvorzac?


'He died in handcuffs while detained at Harmondsworth detention centre - an 84-year-old Canadian with Alzheimer's. Until now we only knew a name: Alois Dvorzac. But who was the man behind the tragedy?'
‘I do not want to be separated from my husband’ - east Norfolk couple facing immigration battle


'A husband and wife locked in a “nightmare” immigration battle are fighting to stay together on the Norfolk coast.

'More than 400 people have signed a petition backing Newport couple Arlene and Stephen Watty in their struggle against deportation.

'Forty-five-year-old Arlene, who works full time at a care home in Hemsby, moved to the UK from the Philippines in 2009.

'She arrived on a student visa, studying health and social care, and a year later fell in love with a neighbour, Stephen, and the couple married in 2012.

'As her student visa expired, Arlene applied for leave to remain - the common route for foreign nationals who marry British citizens.

'But her application was refused and now the couple have now lost their appeal. Two weeks ago, a Home Office judge ruled that sending Arlene back would not be “disproportionate or unjustifiably harsh” and the couple, if they want to stay together, could leave Britain and live in the Philippines.

'“I do not want to be separated from my husband,” said Arlene.'

Immigration battle goes on for Newport couple facing separation :

Scots father reveals his heartache as immigration laws prevent his Japanese wife and son from living in Scotland


'A SCOTTISH man has been left heartbroken after immigration laws barred his family from moving to his homeland.

'Phillip Malloy, 32, was told that his Japanese wife Kyoko and their son Joshua cannot come to the UK because he doesn't earn enough money.

'Immigration rules state that Philip has to earn £18,600 a year before Kyoko will be granted a visa.

'The administration assistant from Kilwinning, Ayrshire, currently earns £14,500.

'Phillip said: "I feel let down by my country.

'"I'm being denied my human rights to have a family."

'Phillip met massage therapist Kyoko five years ago while he was working as an English teacher in Japan.

'The couple married in 2011 and son Joshua, who is classed as a British citizen, was born a year later.

'The family moved to Scotland in April 2013, but Kyoko, 32, was only granted a six-month family visitor’s visa to enter the UK.

'After her visa expired last October, she was forced to return to Japan and she took two-year-old Joshua with her.

'Phillip has been trying to get them back into the UK ever since, but he feels helpless because of the salary rule.'

Mentorn and Channel 4 looking for affected families to include in their upcoming programme


'Mentorn is a production company which is putting together a pilot programme about the way that the immigration rules affect people, with the intention that a full series will commissioned by Channel 4 in the coming months.

'They are hoping to film and feature the situation of a family affected by the £18,600 income requirement. In particular, they are looking for a family with one British parent who has a foreign spouse, where the whole family is currently based in the UK (and, for example, they have children at school here) but where they are facing separation if the foreign spouse doesn't manage to get the spouse visa or indefinite leave to remain. This would probably mean the family having to relocate to the country of the foreign spouse.

'Mentorn would be interested to film the family, and probably their lawyer as well if possible. As this is a pilot it will not be broadcast, but will hopefully lead to a full programme being commissioned in the near future.

Mentorn attended the recent Movement Against Xenophobia conference - and the divided families workshop where we discussed their work.

If your family fits this profile and you'd be interested to take part, just let us know -
Politics.co.uk :Censored: Home Office refuses to publish cost of Theresa May's legal battles


'The Home Office is refusing to publish details of how much Theresa May has spent on legal battles, despite evidence the total sum runs up to several million pounds.

'Responding to a freedom of information request from campaign group Brit Cits, the Home Office claimed that calculating how much it spent on legal battles since 2010 would be "disproportionately" expensive.

'But the decision means the public has no access to clear information about how much May's various legal battles are costing the taxpayer, not just in terms of legal fees but also including compensation paid out after unsuccessful cases.

' "It's important that organisations are open and transparent, and expensive legal battles whose costs are hidden should concern taxpayers," TaxPayers' Alliance director John O'Connell commented...'

Monday 17 March 2014

Meetups - one year on

The BritCits meetup group is one year old, which means it's just starting to respond to simple spoken requests, enjoys banging things together and can stand up by itself. ;) Why don't you join today? :

MAX Conference

Thanks to all those who attended the Movement Against Xenophobia conference over the weekend, and special thanks to those who attended the workshop of family migration. All three of us presenting greatly enjoyed it, especially the question and answer session at the end.

There were some really good questions, especially those around the Surinder Singh route, and also the five years to Indefinite Leave to Remain imposed by the July 2012 rules. This is an issue that should be made more of for lots of reasons (uncertainty and stress, increased difficulty of starting families, trapping people in undesirable situations, added difficulty of finding employment and accommodation), though it's difficult to find the same 'hook' that the personal stories around the income requirement immediately have.

In some ways, the 5 year rule is more insidious in that over time it creates separate categories of first class and second class residents - even after reuniting with your family in the UK, there's a five year trial by ordeal where life is still being made difficult for couples and families.

I'll post more on MAX in a few days!

Friday 14 March 2014

Free Movement : New habitual residence test and the impact on returning UK nationals 


Previously -

UK tightens Surinder Singh route : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/uk-tightens-surinder-singh-route.html

More links on changes to European free movement : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/new-surinder-singh-rules-some-links.html

'Centre of life' for Surinder Singhers - Freedom of Information request : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/centre-of-life-for-surinder-singhers.html

Pregnant Scots mum speaks out against 'cruel' new immigration rules that threaten to split up her family


'A PREGNANT mum last night condemned “cruel” rules that prevent her coming home to Scotland with her family.

'Kirsty Miller, 30, wants to return from the US to raise her twins and her soon-to-be-born third child here.

'But Kirsty was horrified to learn new immigration rules mean she doesn’t earn enough to bring husband Daniel to Scotland.

'She branded the rules “sexist” for failing to take brewer Daniel’s potential earnings into account in deciding the family’s fate.

'And she said she felt abandoned by her own country...'

More stories about divided families : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/stories

Movement Against Xenophobia conference tomorrow


'In the UK in 2014, what passes for a debate on immigration is a desolate and harsh discourse of intolerance and prejudice. Families are divided, migrants are scapegoated and the undocumented are hunted. In a willing consensus between politicians, the mainstream media and alleged ‘think-tanks’ such as Migration Watch, the blame for so many of society’s ills are placed on the shoulders of migrants.

'MAX (movement against xenophobia) offers an answer, a place for more progressive thinkers to come together, discuss and then act. Since its inception in autumn 2013, it’s been focused on opposing the Immigration Bill, currently going through Parliament.

'Come and join the discussion, at MAX’s first conference, and make sure humanity wins over brutality. From 10am – 6pm Saturday 15 March 2014.'

The conference is at the Vernon Square campus of SOAS, Penton Rise, London WC1 9EW. Tickets will be available on the door.


Thursday 13 March 2014

Court of Justice of the European Union clarifies the rules on the right of residence of third country nationals who are family members of an EU citizen in the Member State of origin of that citizen


Of interest to those exercising free movement rights in Europe.

'Directive 2004/38/EC grants EU citizens and their family members the right to move and reside freely within the ter ritory of the Member States.
'In that regard, the Raad van State (Netherlands, Council of State) has made two separate requests to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling in the context of four cases concerning the refusal of Netherlands’ authorities to grant a right of residence to a third- country national who is a family member of an EU citizen of Netherlands nationality...'

More :

Discussion on EEA visa... EU free movement :

Electronic Immigration Network : New report on minimum income requirement for partner visas as court hears Home Office appeal


'The House of Commons Library last week issued an updated Commons Library Standard Note on the financial (minimum income) requirement for partner visas.

'... As Colin Yeo reported on Garden Court's Free Movement blog, the Court of Appeal last week heard the Home Office's appeal against the decision in MM, R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 1900 (Admin).

'That judgment found that while the immigration rules were not unlawful, the £18,600 per annum minimum income threshold for partner visas would amount to a disproportionate interference with family life if combined with one of the four other requirements in the rules.'

More on MM :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/weeks-roundup-and-update-on-mm-by-sonel.html  http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/more-on-mm-free-movement-spouse-visa.html
Previous post on the House of Commons note : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/for-reference-house-of-commons-library.html
Previous post on the APPG report : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/the-appg-report-is-out-httpwww.html

This is very much in the public domain and the public interest, and needs to be accessible to all. Therefore we re-publish the full text below :

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Free Movement : 3,014 families put on hold by Home Office


'This is while the Home Office, judges and lawyers battle the harsh spouse minimum income threshold through the courts. For an idea of the human misery this is causing, see the distressing comments on this blog here, here and here.'

Regular readers of this blog, Migrants' Rights Network's page, and JCWI's page will be all too familiar with these distressing stories.


Mother forced to bring up daughter alone after her American husband is deported from Britain because he had cancer and is a '£98,000 burden on the taxpayer'.


'A British mother has been left to bring up her daughter alone after her American husband was kicked out of the country – because he  had cancer.

'Distraught Lorraine Marx, 56, nursed her husband Ralph Marx, also 56, when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

'But the Home Office ruled he had become a burden on the taxpayer – despite having private health cover – after the NHS billed him £98,000 for the emergency cancer treatment he had received.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

More on MM

Free Movement : Spouse visa minimum income case heard last week


'Last week the Court of Appeal heard the Home Office appeal in the spouse visa minimum income case. The judges heard argument over two days and did not give a decision there and then. The timescale for a decision is unknown but is likely to be weeks rather than months...


JM Wilson Solicitors : Affluent people are more likely to integrate than poor people


'This was but one of a number of startling submissions made by the Secretary of State to the Court of Appeal earlier this week in Secretary of State  v. MM and Others in defence of her controversial Financial Requirements contained in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules.

'In R (MM and Others) v. Secretary of State [2013] EWHC 1900 (Admin) Mr Justice Blake found that in generality of cases the Financial Requirements contained in Appendix FM (in particular, the £18,600 minimum income requirement (more if there are children) which must be demonstrated by British citizens, those settled in the UK and those granted refugee or humanitarian leave who wish to sponsor their spouses (and children) to come to the UK) was likely to amount to a disproportionate interference with Article 8 if an applicant was earning above the national minimum wage (£13,400) and could show that the shortfall was made up of (i) savings (including those below £16,000), (ii) credible job offers and (iii) credible offers of third party support.


Migrants' Rights Network : Court of Appeal hears family migration appeal


'Last week the Court of Appeal heard the appeal in the case of MM and ors vs Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] on the £18,600 income requirement. This hearing followed a critical judgement in the High Court last July on the income requirement.

'The hearing ran over two days, and was attended by families affected by the rules, who gathered outside the Court of Appeal and in the public gallery to show their opposition to the rules. The legal arguments reportedly focused on the compatibility of the rules and their application by Home Office caseworkers with UK obligations under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.


Previously :

Monday 10 March 2014

Family migration amendment withdrawn but not lost


'Baroness Hamwee, the Liberal Democrat Peer who chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration’s Family Migration Committee, tabled a new clause to the Immigration Bill that aimed to reduce the £18,600 income threshold to the national minimum wage. Hamwee withdrew the amendment but promised to bring it back at a later stage. '

Baroness Hamwee's amendment in Hansard :

Previous posts on divided families and Parliament (including the APPG) :

Follow https://twitter.com/APPGMigration

Saturday 8 March 2014

Love Letters to the Home Office


'Once upon a time, UK immigration law stated clearly: “at the centre of the UK immigration policy is the family unit.”

'This changed with the adoption of the 2012 Family Immigration Law. On 11 June 2012 the Government announced changes to the Immigration Rules for non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK on the family migration route

'Now, a restrictive income requirement and other regulations mean the UK government can deny residence visas and legally separate husbands from wives, parents from children, and tear apart entire families.

'This project seeks to:

    Unite the families separated by the law: creating a community of those affected and ending individual isolation
    Draw attention to the law, and the fact that the UK currently has different human rights for families depending on how much they earn
    Call for change from the Government
    Show support for the Home Office and demonstrate the urgent need for investment, infrastructure and increased manpower within the Visa and Immigration systems, call for change in this area

The first stories are now online :

Twitter : https://twitter.com/lovelettershome
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/lovelettershome

Previously :

We're delighted to support this wonderful initiative.

Friday 7 March 2014

London Churches and Refugee Network on family migration - 2nd April

With Ruth Grove-White of Migrants' Rights Network and Simon Israel of Channel 4 News.

The event is free but please register with londonchurchesrefugeenetwork@gmail.com to ensure attendance.

Week's roundup and update on MM

Update 16th June 2014 : This summary is now available here :

by Sonel

Allo eager beavers and grab a cuppa - its a bloody long one.

Thank you to all those patiently waiting to hear about the MM case - I haven't responded to individual requests given below is a more efficient way to provide an update. 

The two days in court were very interesting and lots of fun, despite the oh-so-many references to case law which meant not very much to those of us who dont have the legal background to understand their relevance.  Able to follow a lot though and it was certainly evident from the very beginning the difficulties faced by the Home Office side in trying to defend rules which are clearly wrong.

RCJ is a beautiful building - do visit if you're in London.  I was expecting a massive room given we were in courtroom 76 - apparently the largest one - with an atmosphere more akin to those seen in US courtroom dramas.  However as is the British way, things were much more "civilised"

I write below with my views of the 2 days - read with care as it's based only on my hastily scrawled notes and at times rusty memory; for something more definitive, I've been told court transcripts are available for £25 a page :)

Wednesday 5 March 2014

'My husband's nationality and my salary denied him entry to the UK. Now a court will rule if such cases breach human rights.'


'Last night I was standing at Heathrow airport in tears. The good kind of tears. The kind that come when your husband finally lands on UK soil, 18 months after you got married, so you can at last begin your life together.

'We met four years ago, one snowy Sarajevo night. My husband is from Montenegro, and we were both visiting the Bosnian city that weekend. Our relationship developed during my many subsequent trips to the former Yugoslavia, and there are so many shared memories: Balkan coffee, pine needles falling into the sea, sunlight and laughter. The place where he asked me to marry him, by the water as the sun set, was the same jetty where we had sat under the full moon and begun our relationship.

'A month after we got engaged, a law was passed that meant that Raco and I suddenly didn't have the right to live together in the UK. Changes to immigration law in 2012 mean that if you marry someone from outside the EU, then you can bring them here to live with you only if you earn more than £18,600 a year. The year we got married, I didn't qualify. If you have children together, the financial requirement increases steeply for each child: if I had become pregnant, the figure would have risen to £22,400 and I would have been looking at life on my own in the UK as single mum. The law also means that it is now almost impossible to bring an elderly relative to the UK...

'... You can't apply market values to human rights.'

Monday 3 March 2014

Families 'torn apart' by immigration rules on spouses.


'A minimum income requirement imposed on non-EU migrants limits the number able to enter the UK. But some families claim the system is unfair and is keeping spouses and their children apart, as Inside Out East reports.

'Farshid Ghafourpour grew up in Cambridge, was privately educated and went to university in the UK. After graduating, he went to live and work in Thailand - where he met his future wife, Korakot.

'Twelve years later, he is back in the UK to care for his elderly mother. The couple's two daughters, aged six and eight, are both British citizens by birth.

'But unlike many of their classmates, the girls cannot come home from school to a hug from their mother, or have her tuck them into bed at night.

'Their only contact with her is via Skype...
Birthday delight for Scottish schoolgirl as her family win fight against deportation to Chilean earthquake zone


'A SCOTS girl whose mum was threatened with deportation to Chile got the perfect present for her eighth birthday after her family won their fight to remain in Scotland.

'Millie Canales faced leaving the only home she has ever known and travelling 7500 miles as her pregnant mum Francisca was ordered to leave Scotland.

'But when the Daily Record revealed their plight last year, our readers warned Home Office chiefs they would not accept the ruling .

'Now Francisca – a Chilean national – has finally received confirmation she can stay here...

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