"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.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Divided Families Scotland

MeetUp 20th September 2014

Hi guys,

First of all, thank you for making it to our meetup that took place 20th September in Glasgow.
It was a great turn up and valuable opportunity to have stories heard and share tips among members affected by the Immigration Rules. Without you, we wouldn't be able to deliver the chance to hear and be heard and most of all, the support that each one of us need when struggling against such discriminatory rules. Definitely you are not alone!

I am sorry that I took long in update you all with the minutes that I wrote down during the meeting, I find myself often disrupted by daily life, and I hope you don't think I had forgotten about you all,

Our meetup took place in Glasgow inside a little cafe called Carlton Studios. Thumbs up to the owner who let us used their facilities with no issues.

Those who attended made great input in our conversation. Members started sharing their stories straight away after introducing themselves. Many of us, felt very moved by hearing some of the atrocities some families are put through this fight against Immigration Rules.

I also shared a piece on Britics work with members, so they know what work they have done and how much support and other stories are here in this blogging site.

Members also discussed possibilities of SS route, the pros and cons, tips and rules in this journey.

Exemptions of the rules were brought up, for those who can claim DLA and other benefits.

And lastly, we agreed in carrying out a demonstration to coincide with the London Demo for Divided Families, 18th October outside the doors of the Scottish Parliament at 12 pm.
Event has been created under Divided Families Scotland and also I love my Foreign Spouse Facebook groups.

Event under Divided Families Scotland

Event under I Love My Foreign Spouse

Two demos could definitely have such impact that our presences can not then be ignored. We have many talented member that will make of this event a very especial one.

The meetup was a success and hearing people's stories made made realize that we all have something in common, great strength!
We will be holding many more in the future so please sign up to our MeetUp page so you dont miss out. Remember, you are not alone!

You can also share your stories here by emailing britcits@gmail.com or contacting Steven Green or me:D

Best regards and always love and light to each one of you

Francisca (Fran)

Poignant goodbyes

Source :Twitter

https://twitter.com/tinkerthomas83 tweets :

'Heading home from Honduras. Leaving my fiancée behind. Just had last breakfast together.'

More -

Justice for Rubel Ahmed

Source :Movement Against Xenophobia

Read the story and weep.

The demo has happened but expect a concerted campaign on this issue. Please follow MAX for further updates.


Via MAX - http://movagxen.wordpress.com/

More essential reading -

'Call for inquiry into death at Morton Hall immigration detention centre' :

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

Unlocking Detention - a fantastic, crucially important blog :

Unlocking detention, unlocking change :

More posts on asylum, asylum seekers and detention :

Saturday 20 September 2014

From Bang and David: News!

Source :Wang Bang / David Rushmer / I love my foreign spouse Facebook group

This has just been posted on the I love my foreign spouse Facebook support group by Bang :

'After a one year battle, we won our appeal!
(To watch our documentary film please click the link of Google Drive below)

'Our court day came in early August 2014. We had 11 witnesses attending the courtroom including my parents-in-law, my sister-in-law, and most of our common friends, although many of them had to stand outside because of the limited availability of seats in the courtroom. The hearing lasted for about 45 minutes. The Judge ended by saying, "I hope my decision will bring an end to this matter."

'Four weeks after we received the final determination from the First Tribunal, the Judge produced a carefully written report pointing out every error in my wife’s refusal, and our appeal fee was also refunded.

'In the 7 page long statement, the Judge said:

'There is a strong evidential base for inferring that the future intention of both parties is to live together as husband and wife. The supporting evidence appears to have been overlooked because of the focus on previous applications…

'I have no hesitation in finding on the voluminous evidence before me that there is a genuine and subsisting relationship between the parties. The evidence is well documented and supported not only by a documentary record but by the sponsor who I found to be a credible witness. He provided a straightforward and plausible account…
'Setting these concerns against the evidence regarding the current relationship and the development of that relationship since 2012 I find that the Appellant has demonstrated an intention to live permanently in the United Kingdom. Both of them are mature adults who have entered into this relationship with considerable regard for each other and their respective families. They are deeply committed to each other, share common interests and enthusiasm for literature and poetry in particular. The sponsor occupies a responsible position in the academic world and is responsible for the care of elderly parents. He has the strong support of colleagues and a wide circle of friends who know him…

'The Appellant has demonstrated through her actions in seeking leave, namely returning voluntarily to China, maintaining this close relationship, committing herself to marriage and submitting an application from outside the UK that she has a settled intention to live together with the sponsor…

'As indicated above I have taken into consideration her previous applications. I do not find in them anything which would suggest that the previous relationships were used in order to contrive entry clearance into the United Kingdom. In all the circumstance I find that the refusal decision was not in accordance with the law and Immigration Rules.

'No appeal has been lodged by the Home office against the Judge’s decision, therefore the determination is final and my visa will be issued.

'All our families and friends are over the moon. We cannot wait to share this good news with everyone who has been kind enough to support us. We would like to especially thank everyone in this group, thank you so much for sharing your stories, advice, experiences, happiness, kindness and compassion, your support has given us great strength to fight for justice. We would also like to say a big thank you to BritCits, who have been outstanding in defending the rights of international families and documenting the plight of those divided families, and a big thank you to Steven Green from BritCits, Journalist Michael Allen from The Independent, freelance Journalist and writer Hsiao-Hung Pai, Journalist Claudia Leong from Cambridge Tab and all the people who have helped us to gain publicity on various social medias, and 2,164 supporters who kindly signed our online petition.

'And finally, a big thank you to our lawyer, Paul Richmond from Richmond Chambers Immigration Barristers(winner of numerous prizes including the Best Immigration Set of the Year in the UK at 2014 Global Mobility & Immigration Award. )

'We will continually fight for a humane immigration policy with you for a fair and better society.
Please don’t give up hope! Never give up!
Love and hugs from David and Bang

our marriage.mpg

David's update on change.org :
'... Don’t forget we are still only one couple of approx 17,000 people currently separated by these rulings, do continue to give them your support.'

Bang's blog :

David and Bang's story :
“We are aware many applications despite satisfying all requirements are being refused for trivial or erroneous reasons...”

Bang's interrogation :

Paradise Lost? Help Cambridge librarian bring his wife home!


‘It feels like a lead weight has been lifted’ - Norfolk couple win two-year immigration battle to stay in UK

Source :Eastern Daily Press (East Anglia)


'Arlene and Stephen Watty broke down in tears when they heard their two-year ordeal was finally over and the Home Office had granted Arlene leave to stay in Britain on a spouse visa.'

'... The spousal visa give Arlene permission to stay in the UK for 30 months, after which she can apply for an extension and then a permanent visa. “I used to call her my wife and now I call her my permanent wife,” joked Stephen. “We’ve been to hell and back. But it’s finally over.”

Better together.

Previously -
Hemsby couple fighting to stay together fear Home Office battle might be lost :

‘I do not want to be separated from my husband’ - east Norfolk couple facing immigration battle :

Immigration battle goes on for Newport couple facing separation :

'Mary's story'

Source : Family Immigration Alliance


'... I can not take my child to Iran unless my husband goes to the Iranian Islamic centre in London and convert to Islam: a religion that nor me not my husband believe in or practice. All this in order to be allowed to apply for a visa to take my child to Iran. I feel trapped in a prison  and back in Iran I felt the same I don’t know where on this planet I can go to live a simple life and feel free.'

Please follow the Family Immigration Alliance : http://familyimmigrationalliance.wordpress.com/

Sunday 14 September 2014

Same-sex Surinder Singh


A new Facebook support group for same-sex couples exercising EEA free movement.

Via EEA visa... EU free movement.

More Facebook campaigns and support groups : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/facebook

Stories from same-sex couples : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/lgbt

Surinder Singh guides : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/surinder%20singh%20for%20newbies

Two great new storytelling resources

'Immigrant X just put out a comic strip and it’s awesome'


'The fictional story takes place in an unnamed Western democracy, sometime in the recent past, or in the near future — or maybe even today. It centers around three radical activists who use their contacts within the immigration system to figure out the location of raids in advance. They then rush to warn undocumented families before immigration authorities can arrest them...'

Immigrant X : http://www.immigrantx.org/ - https://twitter.com/Immigrant_X


'My journey : stories of London migrants'


Looks very very interesting. I hope I can make it.

'They make up 40% of the population of London, and everyone seems to be talking about them. But what do the capital’s migrants say about themselves?

'My Journey showcases the work of London migrants from all over the world, who use a range of media to tell their personal stories, including experiences of immigration detention and homelessness, the triumph of settling in, and candid observations about London life.

'Visitors are invited to browse comic strips, listen to audio stories, watch short films and view medium format, tintype and digital photographs produced by the group.'

The event is run by Migrants' Resource Centre and will be at -
The Mayor’s Parlour, Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT
Opening times:
Saturday 4th October: 10am – 5pm
Sunday 5th: 1pm – 8pm
6th - 10th: 10am – 8pm
Contact Emily Churchill Zaraa:

Saturday 13 September 2014

Divided Families Scotland MeetUp event

Hi everyone,

My name is Francisca and I would like to introduce myself as a new blogger and event organizer for BritCits based in Scotland.

I recently opened a Facebook group called "Divided Families Scotland" which you can find on the following link:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/416927848454512/

Divided Families Scotland is  group to support those who are struggling to meet the income requirement set by the UK's immigration system and are currently living in Scotland. We are here to support in good faith.

Please join us if you have been affected by the income threshold and live in Scotland.

I will be hosting our next Scotland MeetUp event that will take place on Saturday 20th September
at 12 pm . Please join us on the following link for more info: http://www.meetup.com/BritCits/events/203660542/

Hoping to see new faces on the day.

Best wishes


Friday 12 September 2014

Surinder Singh and Scotland

Hi guys

Hope summer has been good to you.  Some updates:

MM case
Last week the lawyers involved indicated they were still waiting on legal aid approval.  There is some confidence that this will be granted, as will permission to appeal to Supreme Court, possibly for a hearing in February next year. However nothing is for certain yet.  More to come when more is known.

Surinder Singh
Please find here the first version of the Surinder Singh country specific guide.  This collates experience of some members (my sincere thanks to these people) who have exercised treaty rights in various member states, covering Residence Card application process to rentals; from best places to find a job to supermarkets; from mobile phone networks to issues faced in opening a bank account.  There is currently substantive information for Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland and Malta. 
Some have put their hand up to be in-country mentors to those who need more help and these mentors will also organise local meetups.

There are lots of gaps still to be filled in (especially for Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain) so pls do your bit to help us help others by dropping me an email with some pointers along the lines of what you have learnt, what you wish you had known before embarking on your SS journey etc  It doesn't have to be major - can even be something as small as recommended restaurants!

If you have any experience you wish to share or are keen to be a mentor, please let me know.
Amended versions will be uploaded to the BritCits website and http://www.scribd.com/doc/239558037/Surinder-Singh-country-specific-guide  If you have trouble downloading from this website let me know and we will email you the latest soft copy.

Scotland independence referendum
Next week as you're aware is the Scottish independence referendum.  A lot is in the media about what people north and south of the border feel would be best.  Not much however seems to have been said from the perspective of migrants - which is where you guys come in.  You could be the first or second generation migrant; have migrant parents or be the migrant partner.

If this is you, it would be great if you could spend just five minutes this weekend to write a paragraph or two (max 400 words) on the emotions evoked by the words British as opposed to say English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish.  Which one/(s) do you identify with?

This is for Politics.co.uk so please send your contributions to us to forward on, or to them directly, no later than Sunday.



For all content on mailers sent out this month, see: http://www.scribd.com/word/document_edit/239570170

Surinder Singh - country specific guide

Author: Sonel  

Surinder Singh guide

Free movement rights afforded by European regulations are a saviour for British citizens with non-EEA family members who find Home Office’s interference grossly disruptive.  Surinder Singh is an extension of these rights whereby Brits move to another Member State with their non-EEA family, to then live together in the UK, under EEA regulations rather than UK immigration rules.  

If followed in accordance with regulations and Home Office interpretation of the regulations, the Surinder Singh route can be favourable, incurring negligible visa and legal fees, no language tests to pass, nil financial requirements, and no intrusive five year probationary period.  Non-EEA family members also have recourse to public funds. This is in stark contrast to those falling under UK immigration rules.

Despite the obvious advantages, exercise of free movement rights, even where the intention may be to return to the UK, is not a decision made lightly.  Relocating is expensive and inconvenient, especially when there are kids, elderly or disabled involved.  Where someone has a secure job in the UK, albeit one paying less than £18,600, the decision is even more difficult and uncertain for the family’s financial security, with added concern over obtaining work in another country, finding housing, managing school admissions and going through all that again on return to the UK.  Surinder Singh is also not an option for residents and refugees, nor does it help citizens unable to leave the UK because of financial or family obligations.   

So while it provides hope for some families, Surinder Singh is by no means a permanent solution for divisive domestic family immigration rules. 

BritCits will therefore continue to campaign for fair family immigration rules in the UK.  However, alongside the campaigning our aim is to help at least some families who whilst being unfortunate to be impacted by UK’s immigration rules, are lucky enough to be able to use Surinder Singh.  

Some who started the process with the intention to use Surinder Singh to return to the UK fell in love with their adopted home and now have no intention to return.  While most of you will be itching to start your life in the UK as a family, I urge you to treat living in another country as a fun adventure – make the most of the new culture, language, environment you find yourself in, even if it is just a means to an end.  Leave your adopted home with fond memories. 

I hope this guide providing practical tips and an overview of the process, makes exercising free movement rights smoother, by allowing readers to benefit from the experience of others who have already forged the path, and sharing things they wish they’d known when they embarked on the journey themselves.

Thursday 11 September 2014

'The process of getting a UK spousal visa'

Source :Buzzfeed/Emily O.


'Congratulations, you’ve just gotten married! Time to start your married life together! …Er, actually, you’ve got to wait until UK Visas and Immigration decides it’s okay for you to be together... '

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Wednesday morning links

The Forum/Zrinka Bralo : 'How to solve a problem like Calais?'


'Now, here is another kind of fantasy: maybe, just maybe, our political leadership (we mean all parties) will face the facts and try different approach, and for once deal with factual reality of migration as normal, positive, human phenomenon and that as a grown up country we can deal with it to our advantage.'


The Daily Show : 'No country for little kids'


'Michael Che investigates an elaborate conspiracy involving thousands of children posing as refugees in order to invade America. '


The Right to Remain conference, storified


'On Saturday 6 September, we held our first annual conference with our new name, Right to Remain. It was an incredible day with over 100 people from all over the UK - and from all over the world - sharing stories of courage, resistance and solidarity in campaigning for migration justice. '


Lincolnshire Echo : 'Twelve-hour riot after detainee dies at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Swinderby, Lincolnshire'

BBC : 'Morton Hall Immigration Centre disorder investigated'

The Right to Remain conference in London last weekend held a minute's silence for the man who died.


Unlocked Detention/Ben from Detention Action : 'Shining a light on the inhumanity of the current system'


Remembering Rubel Ahmed. Powerful stuff - a must read.


Unlocked Detention : 'Visiting someone in detention' 



Free Movement : 'Family visitor receives £125,000 damages for mistreatment by immigration officials '


Politics.co.uk/Ian Dunt : 'The Home Office's campaign of lies and intimidation against a mother '


'It is a story about men with too much power and too little accountability, and how innocent people can get lost in the system if one of these men takes a dislike to them. It is a story about officials fabricating evidence to win legal cases. It is a story about a government department which is out of control.' 


Politics.co.uk/Ian Dunt : Grey and hopeless: The grim reality of immigration tribunals


Harley Miller's ongoing struggle.

'In the afternoon we're told there will be no hearing today. So that's it: six months waiting, ten people taking the day off, all for nothing.'

Migrants' Rights Network/Don Flynn : 'MRN sets out reasons why The Guardian should not use the term 'illegal immigrant' '


No human is illegal.


Vox : '38 maps that explain Europe'


Particularly interested in the fantasy map dividing the European Union into 28 equal-population states, including evocative states like Cisalpina, Czecho-Silesia, Anglo-Mercia, the Celtic Union, and a resurrected Prussia. Border are fluid.

Don't forget to check out the commuter rail map across three nations, and the maps of Europe in the fifth century and during the Cold War. Borders are fluid.

(Europe by night is particularly beautiful).


Grantland : 'A fighter abroad'


The fascinating story of prizefighter Tom Molineaux - freed American slave (and immigrant to Britain).

'On December 10, 1810, in a muddy field around 25 miles from London, a fight took place that was so dramatic, controversial, and ferocious that it continues to haunt the imagination of boxing more than 200 years later. One of the fighters was the greatest champion of his age, a bareknuckle boxer so tough he reportedly trained by punching the bark off trees. The other was a freed slave, an illiterate African-American who had made the voyage across the Atlantic to seek glory in the ring...' 

'...“It will also not be forgotten, if justice holds the scales, that his colour alone prevented him from becoming the hero of that fight.” '


Washington Post/Kenneth J. Rose : 'I just freed an innocent man from death row. And I’m still furious.'



Via : I love my foreign spouse (Facebook support group)

Families that have been ripped apart : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/stories

Friday 5 September 2014

Yashika Bageerathi, student deported to Mauritius despite protests, aces A-levels

Sources : Huffington Post, BBC


According to the BBC, Yashika said :
 "The last six months of my life have been more turbulent and surreal than I ever expected.
"In this episode I believe I have seen the best and worst that humanity has to offer."

 'Where there is compassion, it is for a minister exposed over expenses, rather than a 'good' applicant for asylum' : http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/04/yashika-bageerathi-compassionate-conservatism-minister-expenses

Other posts on Yashika Bageerathi : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/yashika%20bageerathi

 Don't forget!
Kilwinning dad reveals campaign to change UK immigration rules keeping his family apart 

Source : Daily Record (Scotland)


'Phillip Malloy has begun a campaign to call on the UK Government to review changes to immigration law that are keeping his wife and son on the other side of the world. He first met his wife Kyoko at a Halloween party in Japan five years ago, where he was working as an English teacher. The couple married in 2011 and began to build a life together with their son Joshua, now three years old. But what should have been the start of a dream life turned quickly into a nightmare after UK rules on immigration were tightened up in July 2012.'

Phillip and Kyoko's e-petition is here :

Previous post  :

'Immigration rules are tearing us apart'

Source : Driffield Times & Post (East Yorkshire)


'A Driffield man has attacked UK immigration laws which are about to force him and his American girlfriend to live on different sides of the Atlantic. Archeologist Peter Makey, 51, has now started a petition and is writing to Home Secretary Theresa May to ask her to show compassion and allow his fiancée Tina Cintron, 61, from Honolulu, Hawaii, to live with him at his home in Bridge Street. '

The article goes on to note that Peter has been an unpaid carer for his late brother and late mother for many years.

The average salary in Yorkshire and the Humber in 2007 (pre-recession) was £18,614  - just £14 above the income threshold of £18,600. As East Yorkshire is a largely rural area, one might anticipate the average salary to be below the income threshold.

You can sign the petition here :

Thursday 4 September 2014

Are you affected by the UK's family division rules?

Do you have children?

Please make your voice heard! Contribute to the Children's Commissioner's survey.
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 :
or here :
or here :

Blog post :

Full instructions on where to send the survey to - as well as a letter from the Children's Commissioner for England herself, and interesting reading on the background to this and the work of the OCC - are in the links 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.

The Children's Commissioners' briefing on the APPG on Migration 'Report of the Inquiry into the New Family Migration Rules' is both excellent and devastating. Read it here :


Wednesday 3 September 2014

Don't deport Wadih Chourey!

Source :38degrees


'Please do not deport Wadih Chourey, a 44 year old man with Down's syndrome who currently lives in Twickenham, back to Beirut. He came to the United Kingdom in 1997 because his life was in danger from the various gangs operating in Beirut. He was looked after by his parents and is now being looked after by his brother.'

More on the disgraceful story of Wadih Chourey, a man with Down's Syndrome who has lived in the UK for 17 years. Wadih is cared for by his brothers and lives a happy life with his family, and with the support of his local community. He cannot conceivably be a drain on British resources, and deporting him is just plain nasty.

Please support this campaign!

News story :

Previous post :

Facebook campaign :

Monday 1 September 2014

Huddersfield couple Matt Mallinson and Brett Rice fight deportation threat - over £361.20

Source :Huddersfield Daily Examiner


This couple are £361.20 short of the income requirement - and face division or exile as a result. Inflexible and crazy.
*** IMPORTANT - The Children's Commissioner survey is now open until 15th September

If you have children, and are affected by the UK's immigration rules, please please please complete the survey :


The Office of the Children's Commissioner 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.'

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 

Previous post : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/childrens-commissioner-questionnaire.html