"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.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

BritCits United Family of the Week - Aimie & David



I can’t just move to another country to be with my fiancé [now husband] with three years left to complete my Masters degree. I cannot simply drop out of university and earn £18600, as I don’t have the work experience and would not have the qualifications without the degree, to earn that figure.”



Aimie is a British citizen and in the second year of her MSc (Chemistry) at University of Nottingham.  She is 24 years old and now married to David, a 25-year-old Masters graduate from Colombia.  David recently majored in Advanced Computer Science, also at University of Nottingham.





Aimie’s husband is very employable; he is fluent in English, has a master’s degree and has experience in his field of work of software development. He would not be requesting access to public funds, nor would he become a burden on the economy. 

Under the previous rules, the means to meet the financial requirement to demonstrate that they would not need to access public funds.  However, new rules brought in requiring Aimie to earn £18,600 (regardless of David’s earnings) mean this couple is facing years apart.  Because David is Colombian.
     
Aimie has been told that for them to meet the financial requirement for her husband’s visa, she would have to have been earning a salary of £18600 for at least 6 months prior to the visa application.  However, as she is a student, they have been relying solely on their part-time jobs and scholarships.
                                                                    
Aimie feels the new rules for financial requirement are unjust as they don’t take into account individual circumstances.  Aimie cannot simply move to another country for them to be together as she still has three years left at university. She also cannot simply drop out of university and earn £18600, as she doesn’t have the work experience and would not have the qualifications without her degree, to earn that figure.

Indeed, on minimum wage she would earn approximately £12000, which is far off the threshold.

To Aimie it’s nonsensical how £18,600 could be considered reasonable; as a student she receives less than half of that income, and is still able to pay her bills.  The unemployed people on JSA are earning less than that figure and are able to live.

Aimie does not need luxury items to love her husband.


Update: The couple applied for David's first spouse visa in January2013 - they were extremely worried and feared a negative outcome.  Being students, they worked part-time and had to provide evidence of satisfying the income threshold using a combination of six jobs in one year.  This proved to be quite confusing for the couple and no doubt the caseworker, because of the increased bureaucracy underlying the rules even for those who do eventually meet the financial threshold.

The couple was only just over the required £18,600 so even while they were waiting for the visa to be processed, they were planning exercising free movement rights to move to Ireland, just in case the outcome was negative.  Aimie made the arrangements to do one year of her course abroad, but fortunately they did not have to make such a move because the visa was granted.

During the first period of David's visa the couple's situation became more financially stable.  Aimie had been studying throughout and David, having tried out several jobs, finally found a place suiting his skills, bringing in the bacon so to speak.  The second stage of the visa application  in September 2015 (spouse visas are issued for only 30 months, so before they can reach the required five year period for permanent residency status, they must re-apply and once again show satisfying the income requirement - yes there's a lot of red tape!) was a little smoother as the couple this time were able to rely on David's income alone from a job he had been working in for over six months - making the paperwork much simpler than the earlier application.  They paid a premium for a same-day application and were granted the extension.

The future will see David making progress in his career as a Software Developer, while Aimie will pursue further education, starting her doctoral studies in Chemistry in October 2015.  No doubt something she would not have been able to do without David by her side.

However, the couple are very aware of the rules and recall how stressful their lives have been because of them; they're aware that their lives could completely change if their financial circumstances, even temporarily take a wrong turn and they strongly feel these rules, which though they now meet, are unfair.

Aimie and David remain strong in the knowledge they are just a couple of steps away from removing all interference from the Home Office in their marriage, with David application for ILR expected to be in 2018.  However on the off-chance that something goes wrong the couple is united and stronger in the knowledge that come what may, they will travel wherever they need to, do whatever they must do, to stay together.  Their love will triumph the UKVI and the Home Office.

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