"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 23 February 2015

BritCits Divided Family of the Week


“UK puts a price tag on love.”

Suzanne is British, with a fiancée from the USA, living in the north-east of England. They’ve been together for nearly three years and planned to marry this year.

At £16,600, Suzanne earns just £2,000 below the required threshold. However, average wages in northern England are lower than in the rest of the country and £16,600 is considered a very good salary.

The couple’s only recourse is to try and save up over £20,000 in cash – a figure the couple feel government has plucked out of thin air, to make up for the £2,000 income deficit from the £18,600 per annum salary requirement. An amount that will take years to save, if ever, evident of how out of touch politicians are.

Suzanne cannot move to the US because the American government does not recognise same-sex unions.

So, their lives are on hold, and their right to a private life is held in check by two countries with equally discriminatory laws. UK puts a price tag on love, and America has a gender requirement.

Since they have no idea when they will be able to be together, the separation is slowing chipping away at their sanity as they struggle to stay on track; relationships are hard enough to maintain at the best of times.

However, enforced distance results in additional frustrations, distress and depression.

Update: Unfortunately, thanks to the havoc wreaked by the new rules, Suzanne and her fiancée broke up. 

The positive change since 2012 was that the United States did overturn the federal law which previously prevented American citizens from sponsoring same-sex spouses and fiancees, and it's much easier to do so as well, as third party support is allowed, personal financial circumstances such as cost of living in the state of residence vs income are considered, and the income level is at a reasonable level such that anyone with a full time job would satisfy it.

Unfortunately, moving to the United States wasn't an option for Suzanne because both her parents in the UK are ill.  Suzanne felt it was her duty to stay and look after her parents, as there is no other family nearby to assist.  However as Suzanne still doesn’t earn £18,600, she couldn’t sponsor her fiancée either.  If she came here, it would be impossible for her to return to the UK with me, again because of the financial requirement.

The more relaxed US laws on family reunification would actually for Suzanne’s parents to also relocate to the US, so that their daughter could be with her partner; but their health condition prevents such a move.

The couple were at an impasse with no resolution in sight, and unfortunately, both thought it best to end things than continue in a long distance relationship with no means visible for their being able to finally live together.  Another family fallen victim to Home Office’s family immigration rules.


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  2. Nothing to do with the silly high income requirement, but I just have a question about "Suzanne cannot move to the US because the American government does not recognise same-sex unions." In what sense does the US government not recognise same-sex unions?

    1. I believe for the purposes of marriage, at the intiial point Suzanne was faced with the separation.