"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, 16 December 2014

Wes & Rebecca - Featured Family

“We are not skivers and shirkers.  The rules are excessively harsh to the detriment of family life with Brits abroad forced into exile from their own homes”

Wes is a British citizen.  At the age of 42, in the year 2005, he migrated to USA to marry Rebecca. The primary reason for his moving, rather than Rebecca coming to UK, was for Rebecca’s son.

Through the years, with Rebecca’s son becoming more independent, the couple has spoken of moving to UK.  Wes suffers from ill health in extreme temperatures, however the couple opted not to rush back across the Atlantic, as they always felt they could "go home" when they were ready. 

The Home Office would of course recognise their marriage as legitimate given they had been married for over four years; as Wes & Rebecca have enough income and savings to not require assistance from the state financially they expected there would also not be any issues.  Indeed, any doubts would be covered with Rebecca’s American passport being stamped with “no recourse to public funds”.  The couple understood this.  They understood that even before July 2012, governments have rules and didn’t expect to just waltz in.

However, post July 2012 they find that they cannot move to the UK together, as a married couple - unless we prove we have £62,500 in savings.  Instead, they must endure a lengthy separation while Wes returns here, finds a job earning over £18600 - and works that job for at least six months before they can even file an application for Rebecca to be reunited with her husband. 

Wes is a simple man.  Rebecca is the breadwinner in the family.  She has worked since she was 16 and is the assistant to the Director of a large division (400 employees) of a mental health provider.  Her income in the US and the fact they have never been on benefits in their married life - does not count towards the sponsorship requirements.  Her future earning potential in the UK does not count. 

Wes is what is known as a "carer".  He attends to developmentally delayed individuals in a group day setting.  His work is valuable and necessary to society.  He is good at his job - the individuals love him and he loves them.  But it doesn't pay the equivalent of £18,600.  It wouldn’t pay £18,600 in UK. 

Wes and Rebecca would be returning to a life in Northern Ireland - the odds of Wes getting a job in his field paying over £18,600 are slim to none.  But he could and would get a job as a carer - there are plenty of those jobs out there, even in the UK's current economic climate.  But those jobs, while would pay a liveable wage in Northern Ireland, are insufficient under the new rules.  The new rules don't just "punish" those who are in lower wage professions - they punish people who live outside the south of England - areas with lower wages.  This is not a couple that are "skivers and shirkers". 

Wes suffers from polycystic kidney disease.  Rebecca can’t let him come to UK alone to look for work.  He’s on a special diet which would be difficult to maintain as a "bachelor".  His blood pressure requires constant monitoring.  While Wes cares for others, Rebecca is Wes’s carer, his wife & partner. 

Rebecca has been active on immigration message boards across the internet for eight years now; she advises on three boards and has written two articles for the Transpondia website.  She understands that there are always rules, and they followed those rules to bring Wes to the US.  But the current rules in the UK restrict migration at the expense of families, in an excessively harsh manner – much harsher than the ones in the US, which Rebecca notes the Home Office misrepresented in its consultation report to the public and to Parliament when referring to rules in the US). 

Indeed, in her line of work, she has come across many British citizens who feel "exiled" from their own home.



  1. This sounds so close to the story of my wife an I. We too are currently living in the United States and can't move back to the Midlands - because the job I would do there would pay under the threshold (albeit, it would be a wage easily lived upon for the area).

    Its just London making the rules for the rest of the country (rich, capitalist Londoners at that too!!).

  2. Hi Richard, yes unfortunately there are too many families like yours and Wes's. The MM case is one to keep an eye on as only the Green Party has made a clear commitment to what the family immigration rules should be made better. Labour has promised a review which isnt a firm commitment of anything; Lib Dems, who knows, Tories - the reason we're in this mess and UKIP is just nonsense with no mention of family immigration at all.