"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.

Monday 17 March 2014

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!


  1. Steven... you're absolutely right about the 5-year period to ILR. Especially (I think) for returning ex-Pats with families. In our case, my wife and I have been married for 10 years and we have two kids. Not only are we uprooting ourselves to move back, but we have the 5-year wait hanging over our heads... especially my (USA-citizen) wife who has five years of uncertainty hanging over her. She has a strong position with a firm who are doing the work visa for her and then we'll apply for a spouse visa once we're back in the UK. But who knows what'll happen to the future UK economy and the job market. With the current discussions over the UK's part in Europe, the Crimea/Russia situation, the USA future presidential situation, if there are shifts in the British Monarchy... all these things could potentially create a negative economical atmosphere that could make the job market plummet.

    So if we're back under the shadow and dark clouds of the 5-year period and come thing horrid happens after three or four years, what'll happen? Does my wife have to leave? Does she go onto a 10-year path? (10 years... really??)

    My wife is a planner and I have nothing good to say to make her feel better about this. I know her and she'll be under emotional turmoil the whole time which isn't good for our family and our small children. Another reason to say thanks to my OWN government while making plans to return home just to care for my elderly parents.

    In any case, thanks Steve for all you do to bring added light to these issues. M

    1. Hi anonymous - thanks for your comment. We live in an uncertain world and the excessive probationary period does nothing to add to people's security - quite the reverse.