"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 31 July 2014

Children's Commissioner Questionnaire - have your say!

Source : Children's Commissioner

As previously mentioned, the Office of the Children's Commissioners is following up on the concerns and issues by all of the campaigning over the last couple of years.

The OCC is conducting research on the impact of the rules on children with a view to, in the Children's Commissioner for England's words, 'achieve a just settlement for families who are, or who will be, divided by the implementation of these rules.'

If you're affected by family migration rules, have children, and have a few moments, please complete the survey here :

Full instructions on where to send the survey to, as well as a letter from the Children's Commissioner for England herself, are in the link above.

* The Children's Commissioners for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the voice of the child in government. They have spoken out on the issue before, and wish to follow this up further. Please help them achieve this.

Children's Commissioners' briefing on the APPG on Migration 'Report of the Inquiry into the New Family Migration Rules' : http://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/content/publications/content_671

Abuse of power

Several years ago my granny travelled from India to Australia alone, despite speaking barely a word of English.  She had to change planes in Thailand (spoke no Thai either) and on arriving after nearly 20 hours travelling, found Aussie immigration and customs officers to be very welcoming with their ‘G’day, welcome to Austraya’.  I still have a vivid memory of her sitting in my parents living room grinning her head off at having made the journey without any of us to help her, and of course being able to see in the flesh her favourite (okay, only!) granddaughter contributed to some of the wattage in the smile.

Fast forward a few years and I’d never ever want my granny to travel alone to the UK, despite the flight now being shorter and direct, not because she’s older, but because I would not want her to be alone with a UK immigration officer (IO).

Australian family and friends speak of UK IOs being arrogant and rude.  However such travellers have an inner confidence which tends to come naturally to those with a western or affluent upbringing, with little fear of authority – and certainly no reverence towards ‘white man’.     

For most though, approaching an IO tends to be fraught with tension, even when you’re not doing anything wrong.  Helplessness, confusion and wariness compound where the person seeking entry is Asian or African, or does not speak English fluently.  Unfortunately, there is still too often a reverence for white people especially those in positions of authority.  The Empire has a lot to answer for and the treatment of Radha Patel at the hands of multiple immigration officers (IOs) only highlights that the recipients of this reverence are all too quick to take advantage of it, albeit oh-so-undeserved.

On 23 May 2011 Radha arrived at Heathrow where she encountered IO Newton and Chief IO Davies.  These two officers subsequently falsely imprisoned, and maliciously and deliberately bullied Radha.  They made up lies to try and justify their behaviour and then engaged in a cover-up.  

Radha's passport was impounded for nearly a year, preventing her from even returning to India where her two young children were.  The High Court on 30 July awarded Radha £125,000 in compensation for the behaviour of the IOs, for which frankly 'serious misconduct' is too mild a term.  Yet the chances are that Home Office will appeal!

What terrifies me, is that this behaviour is probably more prevalent – we heard about this case, and that too years after the event.  How many others remain underground?  It petrifies me that IO Newton and Chief IO Davies may still be on the Home Office payroll – with their salaries therefore paid for by taxpayers - instead of rotting in jail.  That with a slap on the wrist, if even that, they've been left to wreak havoc on more unsuspecting arrivals.

I believe Home Office staff are often incompetent, although admittedly that is probably more a reflection of their training and the culture they’re bred in, than pre-requisites for their hire being stupidity or ability to be difficult just for the sake of it.  No matter how anti-family UK’s policies are, no matter what the HO culture is, or how much the nation lets itself be swept up in anti-immigration propaganda, as human beings we should be able to answer to our conscience; we must distinguish between right and wrong.   

No one should have the power of these IOs who brazenly lied to harass and bully a woman who posed no threat.  The subsequent cover-up rather than admission of guilt indicates we have a bigger problem than a rogue IO or two.  When looked at with other incidents, to me it indicates abuse of power being a characteristic all the way to the top. 

Isabelle Acevedo was deported today. She admitted to being in the UK illegally.  She was not stealing nor claiming any benefits.  She paid for food and shelter with money earned from cleaning the homes of the rich, and politicians (often also rich).  Mark Harper was one such politician, who resigned, in a grand but as it turns out hollow gesture, as Immigration Minister for not having conducted the checks he expects everyone else to.  Who the other politicians were that Isabella kept homes clean for we don’t know. Maybe they were Labour – hence the resounding silence from the opposition on the contrasting treatment whereby Isabella was snatched from her daughter’s wedding for working illegally, whilst Harper was promoted to a Cabinet position, despite also having broken the law by employing someone working here illegally.  It smells fishy and reeks of hypocrisy.  As I said, abuse of power all the way to the top.

Politicians seem to have forgotten their job is to serve us. They are answerable to taxpayers for spending our money, be in it the form of compensation such as that paid to Radha, the c£100m in legal fees for immigration and asylum cases paid to Treasury Solicitors alone by the Home Office under this government and the waste of resources in 20 enforcement and police officers raiding a wedding to arrest one harmless woman.  Don't even get me started on their expense claims.

Wednesday 30 July 2014

'Finally back together! Visa couple reunited'

Source : Express and Star (Wolverhampton)

So nice to see some good news :

Post with links to previous coverage of this :


Children's Commissioner
We mentioned earlier that we are working with the Office of the Children's Commissioner in England in their undertaking research to explore the impact of UK's family immigration rules on children and young people.  They have put together a questionnaire - if you have children especially please take 15 minutes or so and return by 1 September 2014. Thank you in advance.
Note guidance provided at the end for instructions on how to return the questionnaire and other documentation.

MM case 
Many have been asking for updates on the MM case. No news yet other than the good side's lawyers are still waiting for legal aid approval, following which they are going to file their permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.  Legal Aid Authority like most government departments is probably over-worked and under-resourced, hence the delay - so a little more patience needed.  Will let you know as soon as we hear anything more.

Keep an eye out for how things progress with HO's treatment of applications on hold which they indicated they would begin processing this week - will applicants will be able to appeal or forced to go down an administrative review instead?  Around the corner is the 30 months since the rules came into force, so let's brace ourselves for HO in their typical fashion messing up the first probationary period applications too. 

Surinder Singh
Many members have been trawling through EU regulations, and interpreting the regulations the best they can - however now there is some legal comfort available with immigration barrister and EU specialist Colin Yeo having written an e-book on Surinder Singh, released this week.  It provides a legal oversight of free movement rights and EU regulations, especially as they apply to using the Surinder Singh route (unsurprising given the title of the e-book) and an overview of Home Office behaviour.  Colin is open to feedback so do contact him if you have any. BritCits does not financially benefit from sales of this book so 'promotion' of it is purely because we think you may find it useful. 

Available in pdf format here

Until next time chickies.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Detention Inquiry guide

Source : Detention Forum


Detention Forum's guide to taking part in the Detention Inquiry. Recommended for groups and individuals who wish to participate.

Read on : https://detentioninquiry.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/first-evidence-session-transcript1.pdf
Surinder Singh from a legal perspective

Source : Colin Yeo/Free Movement

Colin Yeo's 'Surinder Singh: EU Free movement for British citizens' is now online and can be bought here :

Foreword by Sonel Mehta of BritCits.

More posts on Surinder Singh and European free movement :

Monday 28 July 2014

Please complete our Surinder Singh survey!

Author : BritCits surveys

If you are currently exercising, or expect to exercise, free movement rights in Europe, please complete our survey! This will help us understand how best to help those going through free movement.

It won't take a minute! :



More posts on Surinder Singh and free movement :

Family unity, the European way :

Friday 25 July 2014

Petition: Grant asylum to Maimuna Jawo 


Maimuna is a member of a hereditary caste of 'cutters' - women who carry out FGM.  A few years ago she fled Gambia to escape being forced to become a cutter and courageously spoke out against the practice :

She has already herself experienced detention and is at risk of removal to Gambia, where she and her family would be in danger.

BBC documentary about Maimuna :

Via Movement for Justice :

Thursday 24 July 2014

More Photos from the 2 years on day of action

Two years on and we are still fighting for our rights
We take the fight to Parliament

BritCits Goes to Parliament for the APPG on Migration

The APPG on Migration gets under way

Lord Teverson, Liberal Democrats with Ryan Shorthouse of  Bright Blue listening
Andrew Percy MP, Conservative 
The panel are told Gary has a problem

Andrew Percy MP, talks about Gary

BritCits Goes to The Home Office to Protest

The protestors gather outside the Home Office

Gathered crowd are told of the heart ache of a grandmother

Many Families Wish the Home Secretary is Listening

Family Life is a Fundamental Right

Lee Jasper speaks out against the Xenophobia of the Government

Ninja's fight for their families

People's experiences are told

Listening to the Horrors caused by the Home Office

The discrimination of the Government against it's own Citizens has to Stop! 

Divided Families

A member of the Clergy from Walthamstow speaks out 

Many communities impacted

A couple under threat 
Migrants are the life blood of the UK

An angry mob sick of immigrants being blamed for everything

Making sure Home Office workers get the message

Any grants or funding for further research into the impacts would be most welcome

Many immigrants are family members of British families

The angry protestors chant so the Home Office Workers can hear

Immigrants will not give up their families

Family life is a Right

BritCits returns to Parliament for the launch of the report on family dependents

Setting up of the Committee Room in the House of Commons

David Hanson, MP ,Labour shadow immigration minister, gives Labour's commitment to review the family migration rules as soon as they are in power.

Sonel Mehta talks about the joint report on family dependents

Sarah Teather MP Hosts the evening 
The panel answer individual questions at the end

The event comes to a close and conversation are moved to another venue
After a long day the conversations continue

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Have you experienced immigration detention? Right to Remain can help with submissions to parliamentary inquiry


This may be of interest to those who have experienced immigration detention - including partners and family members of British citizens. People such as Dee ( http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/an-account-of-detention-of-spouse-of.html ) or Melissa ( http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/another-detention-original-piece-on.html ).

'The British Parliament has launched its first-ever inquiry on detention.  The inquiry, jointly led by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and Migration, will investigate the impact and implications of the use of immigration detention.

'This is a chance to speak out on the injustice of the detention system and work together towards the creation of possible alternatives!   This inquiry in itself will not mean the end of detention, but it’s a unique opportunity to tell the people in power how detention has affected you and demand action on detention in the UK.   You may have been detained in the past, you may currently be detained, or you may know someone who has been detained and this has had an effect on you.'

Via An Undivided Family in Malta : https://www.facebook.com/groups/AnUndividedFamilyInMalta/576256192484627/
and After Detention Support Group : https://www.facebook.com/groups/525172694251482/

Monday 21 July 2014

Migration Pulse: Dissecting the MM Court of Appeal judgment 

Helena Wray, Reader in Law at Middlesex University, provided an analysis of the MM case.


Quote:  '... the first thing I noticed about the judgment is that it operates at a level of intellectual insularity that is extraordinary given what is at stake. There is no mention anywhere in the judgment of what the rule means for British citizens and residents and their children who cannot live with their loved ones in their own country... '

Source: Migration Pulse/Migrants' Rights Network.

More posts on MM :

ITV: Immigration rules are "destroying" family


'A woman from Welburn in North Yorkshire, who has lived in the region for more than 30 years, is being forced to take a test in order to become a British citizen.

'Glenda Hyde was born in America but was adopted by a British couple and brought to the UK in 1974.

'Glenda was told that because her parents didn't register her when she was a child, she has to go through the naturalisation process. That involves taking a 'Life in the UK' test to prove her right to live in this country. She says it has taken her months to revise for the 45 minute test, which includes multiple choice questions. '

'Here are some examples of the kinds of questions Glenda has been trying to memorise:

'Great Britain was created in: a) 1677 b) 1687 c) 1697 d) 1707'

(In fact Great Britain, the island off the coast of Europe, was 'created' by the flooding of the Channel 200k-400k years ago. What a strange question!).

Previously :

Japan takes a step backwards in Human Rights

On Friday in Japan the Supreme Court legalised the further discrimination of non naturalised residents.


In Japan there are many people born there who are not classed as Japanese Nationals due to the Japanese Nationality Laws which are based on Jus sanguinis(right of blood)

Many of these people could become naturalised but are prevented from becoming naturalised citizens due to their education and not being able to learn Japanese to elementary school level or not wanting to give up their nationality (Japan does not readily allow dual nationality) or due to their ability to get work.

Many Japanese born people who are not naturalised are legally discriminated against in Japan due to their background.  Two examples are "Zainichi" and "Hafu"

The New Ruling now prevents anybody who is not a Japanese National from claiming welfare benefits despite the fact they may have lived and worked in Japan all their life and have permanent residence.  For such people positively contributing to society and paying their taxes now counts for nothing.

Strangely it was also July 2012 that Japan introduced a new residency management system for foreign nationals who were resident there.  This system now looks like  it will be one of he main ways foreign residents are now monitored to enforce this law.

If we do not stand up for our rights we will see similar things happening here in the UK.
We have the chance to learn from the mistakes made in Japan but as with interest rate reductions the UK Government fails to see and learn from the problems caused.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Migration Observatory: The UK, EU citizenship and free movement of persons


' ... TCNs (third country nationals) are also able to derive rights, irrespective of their nationality, as family members of EU citizens. In practice, this means that migrant EU citizens have a right to family reunification, which may prevail over domestic immigration restrictions. The right may be invoked by EU citizens living in other EU Member States, or against their home states under some circumstances: These circumstances include first, where an EU citizen returns to her Member State of nationality after exercising their right to work or establishment in another Member State (Case C-370/90 Surinder Singh [1992] ECR I-04265). In March 2014, the CJEU clarified that the EU rights of residence of family members were applicable only 'where the residence of the Union citizen in the host Member State has been sufficiently genuine so as to enable that citizen to create or strengthen family life in that Member State' (Case C-456/12 O & B and Case C-457/12 S and G. Judgments of 12 March 2014 nyr). The current UK rules seem to take a more restrictive view of when these principles are applicable, and so may be in tension with that ruling.'

Via EEA visa... EU free movement (Facebook support group) :

More on European free movement and family unification

Two great blogs -

Freedom of movement in the EU ( for EU citizens and their non-EU family members ) :

Surinder Singh route information :

Overview - family unity, the European way :

(Lots and lots) of posts on European free movement :

How to do it - Surinder Singh for newbies :

Video experiences of one family who successfully navigated the route :

When things go wrong... how and where to complain effectively :
Reminder: Early Day Motion 107


'That this House condemns the Financial (Minimum Income) Threshold in the Immigration Rules introduced by the Government which came into force on 9 July 2012; notes that the rules are having a negative impact on UK citizens who have spouses from non-EU/EEA nations and is resulting in families being forced to live outside the UK or to live separately in different countries; calls on the Government urgently to lower the threshold for the minimum income and allow families to return to the UK with immediate effect; further calls on the Government to implement the recommendation of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Migration to undertake an independent review of the Financial (Minimum Income) Threshold generally to ensure that families with spouses from non-EU/EEA nations with stable and reasonable incomes are granted permission to immigrate to the UK; and notes that the UK's four children's commissioners all endorsed the APPG report on Migration and its recommendations.'

https://twitter.com/BritCits :
All MPs professing to care about families have their name supporting this EDM by @KatyClarkMP http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/107  Where is yours? #MMCase

Please ask your MP to sign : https://www.writetothem.com/

Previously : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/early-day-motion-107-httpwww.html

Facebook: After detention support group


'In light of some new detentions that have taken place over the last few days there has been a new group set up to offer support from one detainee to another. If you have ever been detained by UKBA even if less then a day please feel free to join and offer support to others going through or have gone through this horrific experience as well.'

Dee's detention : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/an-account-of-detention-of-spouse-of.html
Melissa's detention : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/another-detention-original-piece-on.html
Posts on Alois Dvorzac : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/alois%20dvorzac
Posts on Yashika Bageerathi : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/yashika%20bageerathi
Detention Forum : https://twitter.com/DetentionForum

https://twitter.com/DetentionForum tweets :
Q: What would you miss most if you were detained?. A: Love. From the faith group workshop last week. #detention