"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.

Friday 10 July 2015

9th July 2015 - third anniversary of UK's divisive family immigration rules.

photographer: Mark Stokes
The third anniversary of divisive family immigration rules saw campaigners, lawyers, politicians and most importantly, families, battle tube and train strikes to voice their opposition to rules which keep parents apart from children; spouses and partners separated; elderly relatives to fend for themselves.

Sadly, more often than not, those paying the highest price for simply wanting to live in the UK are British citizens, mis-treated by the political elite, who in the pursuit of a net migration target (its ridiculousness evident to all who understand the components of it) are all too willing to sacrifice the very people they are employed to represent.

The number of attendees were not as high as in previous years because of transport issues, yet the day - meeting, demo and 'after-party' - were no less fabulous than previous years, for many reasons.  

1.  The panel at the meeting in parliament consisted of: 

 The panel at the MRN-organised meeting in parliament. Photographer: Mark Stokes
Baroness Sally Hamwee - a long-time supported in the campaign against these immigration rules.
Gethin Jones - husband and father, separated from his Russian wife and one British child.
David Hanson MP - Shadow Immigration Minister (but possibly not come September!)
Natalie Bennett - Leader of the Green Party
Stuart McDonald MP - Member of the Scottish National Party
Anne Longfied - Children's Commissioner for England
Ryan Shorthouse - representative of the Conservative thinktank, Bright Blue

And from the back, Colin Yeo - barrister and freemovement.org.uk founder
View of each of these speakers varied, but they were unanimous in agreeing that the rules are not fit for purpose.  (I'll update this page with a bit on what each said when I have more energy and time!)

2. It saw the coming together of all those who are apart from loved ones, instilling confidence in the knowledge no one is alone in this battle.  It also provided an opportunity to meet people, many of whom till now have simply been faces behind a profile photo - time for lots of hugs and laughter.

3. As time goes by, more families will find themselves affected by the rules.  However, more are also finding a solution, and this 9th July was a demonstration in humanity outliving our own selfish purposes with a very high percentage of attendees now united with their family in the UK - under domestic rules or EEA regulations (Surinder Singh) - yet showing up to encourage those still divided.
Wayne proudly displays his cap, an ode to the man who paved the way for family reunification - photographer: Sonel
There were so many messages of love triumphing, of the benefits of free movement rights, of encouragement that however hard the battle, the prize of family reunification was well worth it.  Yes, there were tears of pent up grief at the emotional rollercoaster resulting from the rules and their application; stress from moving countries multiple times; sadness for events that could only be shared on Skype; lamenting at missed firsts of babies; but also,joy and an overpowering sense of relief at being able to defeat the Home Office in a battle reminiscent of David versus Goliath.
Roz gets emotional recalling her journey to family reunification in the UK, with Ivy in tow - photographer:Sonel
I was especially inspired by the strength of the divided and hope from the united; the almost passing of the baton, as if saying 'now it's your turn to be with your family'.

4. The chance it afforded so many to voice how the rules have impacted (message to Gove: I am no longer a civil servant) them, a therapeutic activity with an audience who really does understand.  There was an en masse gasp of incredulity at being told of an Indonesian's mum refusal letter suggesting her presence in the UK to be with her British baby was not necessary because breastfeeding is a lifestyle choice! Beggars belief, unless you know that Home Office has provided reasons such as those below as well: (source for both is freemovement.org.uk)
Chloe and Charlie - all too aware of the government's attempts to divide families - photographer:Sonel
5. Removal of blinkers with the acknowledgement that the Tory party's manifesto claims that families are the bedrock of our society are mere words; that when David Cameron said in support of gay marriage, 'When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change', he excluded rules/laws that were brought in under his authority.
An extract from the Tory election manifesto - photographer:Sonel
 Dani with her placard, pointin out the obvious hypocrisy underlying Cameron's statement - photographer:Sonel

6. The weather was perfect, with industrial action thrusting the glorious London skyline on those who ordinarily lose themselves in the coloured tunnels that is the London Underground.  The gathering at a nearby pub, the Red Lion, saw drinks being shared, many a conversation take place - not all immigration related - and even displays of card and coin magic tricks.

What never ceases to amaze me is the 'but I'm British' sentiment echoed repeatedly, and that's what we need to give the loudest voice to, as even those most opposed to immigration tend to support policies allowing Brits to live in the UK with immediate family.  How can they not if all the commotion around wanting to replicate Australia's immigration policy is genuine? Australia has no income requirement for sponsorhsip of spouses/partners and encourage sponsorship of parents of its adult citizens whilst they are younger, healthier and thus better able to integrate. 

UK's immigration rules particularly discriminate against British citizens whose passports are somewhat hypocritically printed with a request and requirement for other nations, 'in the Name of Her Majesty all those it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary'.  A request and requirement for other nations to do for British citizens what the British government chooses not to do itself.  
For tweets of the events, look up #DividedFamilies
Some photos of the event here.
Coverage of the demo by the guardian


  1. The Tories are known to be a sad bunch of hypocrites. It's not surprising we have discriminatory rules like this when we they have put the likes of Theresa May in charge of the Home Office. She does not have a family of her own so why would she understand what its like to be apart from them.

    Theresa May is said to be the only daughter of a Vicar and a church goer. Christian values do not advocate tearing families apart.

  2. Very well said, i couldn't agree more.

  3. Doing demonstrations like this every year has clearly not got the rules change. We need to be demonstrating frequently in larger numbers. Only then will something be done about the rules.

    Its very worrying to see that the state has more power than the people and we are allowing them to control our lives. We need to hit back.

    Now that the Tories are governing on their own they are only going to make things more difficult for immigrants and their families.

    They've already changed the list of accepted English language test providers. Those who worked really hard to achieve A1 & B1 in ESOL will find their tests will no longer be accepted from November 2015.

    We also have the ridiculous NHS surcharge added on top of the already extortionate application fees to make an application which rises by a considerable amount every April.

    The Tory government is not only making it difficult for British Citizens married to a non-eu spouse they are also ripping us off by making money out of application fees and tests.

    1. Agree the larger the demos the more effective they will be - but for this people need to attend. Did you attend the demos in the last three years? There's one in Scotland tomorrow too.

      However we cannot and do not limit our attempt to change the rules to just carrying out demos...there's a lot more effort put in throughout the year. But sometimes it is a case of those in charge not wanting to listen, so we also work with lawyers to attempt to get the rules changed through the courts.

      If you have any other ideas, pls do email them to us so we can think about what more we can do. If we are to succeed in getting the rules changed it will need to bea group effort.

  4. I really hope that all these people in government who support these laws and make them up live in misery.
    This is absolutely crazy what they have done.
    Why don't they just say: look we don't want any foreigners in this country. Because that's what they doing.
    I have a wife and baby and if they don't let me live with them here and it's in my rights, I would kill myself from being turn upart by some stupid ignorant selfish people.
    It's unfair. This like a communist rule

    1. I agree, when you look at this rule it's clearly taking away basic human rights. It's a matter of time before somebody does something crazy in order for people to realize how sickening this rule is. Watching half of my family and friends out of work and losing there jobs by Europeans, but in the country I was born I am not allowed to be with my wife and son because they will be a burden? So ok give me a piece of paperwork to sign saying that they can claim nothing here for 5 years, I will sign it right now. I have always been.in full time employment since leaving school, always payed tax, never done a crime. And another man can really have the right to tell me I can not be with my family? Come on people of Britain we are better then this, we are slowly slipping away from democracy when we are being told we can not love certain people unless we are rich. Makes me feel sick and until a reasonable financial requirement is met, I'm not proud to be english, Im repulsed to even see that flag.

  5. I hate conservative and will never vote,do you?

    1. Everybody should have voted for Labour when you had the chance in May. Now we are stuck with these idiots for the next 5 years. It's only going to get worse for immigrants.

      The family migration rules need to be brought back to what they were before they were change in 2012 excluding the English language and life in the UK test requirement.

      I don't see what purpose the English language test will serve. It was introduced to take the burden off the NHS translation services but it has had no impact at all. The NHS spending on translation services have tripled since 2010. Most of this is down to European immigrants who don't speak English.

      Its absurd to have an English language requirement for non-EU family members when EU nationals and their family members can enter the UK without speaking any English at all.

      It is clear the current family migration rules seek to discriminate against British Citizens only and the Home Office is making money out of this at our expense.

    2. I agree with the rules being discriminatory. I made an application for further leave to remain for my wife who was on spouse visa which was about 1 month out of time. We had genuine reasons for the lateness which should have been accepted. The home office refused stating we didn't meet the insurmountable obstacles test under Article 8 of the ECHR and completely ignored our reasons for the lateness.

      My wife and I left our jobs in the UK and relocated to Canada where foreigners are welcome. The UK government has not only lost our valuable skills which are most in demand they have also lost out on the tax we would have paid if we remained in the UK due to these crazy rules.

      We are very happy we took the decision of moving to Canada and wouldn't dream of settling in the UK again.

    3. English language testing was introduced to promote integration is the Home Office stance from introducing pre-entry tests. The real reason was to control net migration but its had no effects on the numbers. In the Bibi case the lawyer has pointed out that majority of spouses pass the tests pre and post entry into the UK. So either the Government is ignorant and assumes majority of the world population is not able to speak English or they are using these test as a money making scheme.

      Since the Government stance was to control net migration the pre-entry tests breach EU family reunification laws and should be struck down in the much awaited judgement from the Supreme Court.

    4. Partly right. Home Office arguments in the Bibi case for the pre-entry tests and the income requirement in the MM case is justified as they are in the economic well being of the country. What makes them unlawful is the fact as you pointed out the main reason is to reduce net migration and if that is the case then they are in breach of the family reunification directive and Article 8 ECHR. As the rules were introduced with the view of keeping families apart.

      As long as the Home Office keep hiding behind the economic well being argument they stand to win. One would hope better sense prevails and the Supreme court sees through their treachery and declare the rules as unlawful.

  6. The dangers of the family immigration rule 2012.
    Before july 2012, family immigration or spousal immigration to the uk have always been efficient and less draconian. The rules has always applied as stated on the visa "No recourse to public funds" which means before now, spouses and family member of a british citizens have no recourse to public fund. Today, i will be discussing a number of potential dangers this rule posses on the united kingdom as a nation.

    1. The family as an institution.
    Every true democracy and government recognizes the "family" as an institution, as a building block and cell that makes up the society. Each unit of family is distinct and thats what makes up the society, each family works, pay taxes which collectively builds the society. Furthermore each family unit is responsible for instilling cultural values, morals and education into the younger offsprings, which later builds another unit of family later in life. As much as i agree that not all is able to perform this duties to peak, and dats why we see some children and youngster turning to islamist radicals today. The uk government invariably may be building an army of terrorists and radicals in the nearest future with this rule. Because morals cannot be taught in schools only, it is best learn within the family, between both parents. Islamist terrorist group plays on the minds of youngsters that have little or no care within the family, youngster that are not well attended to, or monitored. 1 parent cannot effectively train a child neither does 2. But it makes so much difference when both parents are together to train these children and youngster. The uk family immigration rule does not put in consideration the interest of the children. And am so sorry it might be too late to correct the mistakes when the axe come falling down. Because it will be a self death to the united kingdom as a whole as its breeding its enemy of state by itself, within the uk.