"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 30 January 2017

UK does humanity proud

UK has done humanity proud tonight.  Displays of immense heart and courage have taken place across several cities with people of all ages and backgrounds standing up against a tyrannical policy in another country that threatens to undermine our own values.  

It is a demonstration of solidarity against discriminatory and vile treatment by a government professing to be leaders of the free world (likely a self-appointed title, carrying responsibilities nevertheless).   It is also an essential action, and likely typical of more to come, what with Brexit driving UK to appear as USA's 51st state....literally, 100%, if some politicians can have their wicked way.  

Theresa May has consistently defied pleas from British citizens to be allowed to live with their family - family who would have no recourse to public funds anyway. Instead, she has instructed British citizens to maintain family ties over Skype, or better yet, leave the country altogether.  All in the aid of a misguided net migration target, forcing children into a single parent upbringing and elderly into a life of loneliness and isolation.  For four and a half years, families have suffered at the hands of this woman.  Rather than be content with damaging the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, she now wants to ignore the will of millions who who do not want to afford Trump a state visit.  She is complicit in her silence, guilty of turning a blind eye and a traitor in ignoring the very people she is paid to, and has taken an oath to, represent.

We will share some photos over the next few weeks.  These have been selected from social media because they give an insight into the spirit behind the people who came together today, because they are clever and funny, because they say what so many are thinking and because the sharing settings are 'global'. Apologies for not being able to credit the poster makers and the photographers.

It has been a very hard four and a half years bringing the plight of Brits with foreign family, victims of Theresa May's divisive policies to the foreground.  With more now engaged and directly affected by decisions taken by Downing Street, faith is once again restored that maybe, maybe, families won't have to be divided for much longer after all.

Sunday 29 January 2017

Kevin - Featured Family

“I haven’t seen my wife and son in nearly a year and my family in Britain hasn’t met or held my son.”

Kevin is a British citizen who met his wife while travelling and they have been together for five years, though they were in no hurry to move to the UK.

After being made redundant by his insurance-company employer, they decided to live in Asia for a couple of years. While in Hong Kong, they were blessed with a beautiful son.

As Kevin does not have a degree, finding a suitable job in Asia proved to be near impossible, but with a child to look after it was imperative that Kevin have a good job and provide for his family.

So Kevin decided to return to the UK and six months later he obtained a permanent job with a basic salary of £16,000. Two months into this job, however, the government brought in the minimum threshold, meaning that his target earnings would keep him way below the threshold.

With bonuses the £18,600 may be achievable, but given the volatile nature of sales, there might be the odd month where he cannot maintain the annual average required, which means that his wife’s visa application would be rejected.

Kevin has been living apart from his wife and near-one-year-old son for almost a year. He has already missed his son’s first Christmas; he will miss his first birthday, and he will only see his son’s first steps on Skype, rather than in person.

Kevin is close to a nervous breakdown; whenever he sees a family together with a toddler his heart sinks and he is unable to put aside everything he is missing out on.

Kevin’s wife’s family think Kevin has chosen to leave his wife and son in their home country rather than bring her to the UK. This has brought shame on his wife's family as well as embarrassment.

Kevin’s immediate British family have neither met nor held his son. His son does not know his British family. The new rules are a prison sentence for Kevin and his family.

Even if Kevin were to find a job paying £18,600, the visa process requires that he wait six months before applying for a spouse visa. This is far too long, especially when you have been living apart for a year already. This Tory government is demonstrating how out of touch it is with the people of Britain today.

For the sake of everybody’s sanity, welfare, physical and mental health, these rules must be scrapped sooner rather than later.

Sunday 22 January 2017

BC newsletter - 22 January 2017

The most recent newsletter from 22nd January 2017 is now online, covering:
Past issues available here.

If you'd like to receive the newsletters directly into your inbox, please sign up here.

Paul - Featured Family

“My life now is just about work, work, work ... and when I have time off, I am too fatigued to do anything but sleep.”

Paul, a British citizen, married his partner in May 2012, in the Philippines. She is Filipino and the decision to marry was based on the assumption that having met the visa requirements they would be able to make a life together in the UK.

Suddenly though the rules changed, leaving Paul and his wife devastated.

The massive increase in the amount Paul had to earn before he could sponsor his wife has made it impossible for them to be together.

He works full time in retail and doesn’t claim a single penny in benefits. Recently, he changed the branch of the store he worked in to reduce travelling costs, and is taking on as much overtime as possible, including working night shifts. Despite this, however, he cannot meet the income criteria.

His life now is just about work, work, work ... and when he has time off, he is too fatigued to do anything but sleep and cope with the relapse of the depression he has suffered from, on and off, for many years.

Paul is not asking for handouts, he just wants to be able to live with his wife in the UK.

Paul’s wife is not entitled to any benefits, so the message being put across in the media by Theresa May that the presence of non-EU spouses would be a drain on the benefits system is intended blatantly to mislead the British public, as their rights are chipped away.

Paul does not have a fancy accountant. He has paid his taxes diligently for years. It is Paul and others like him who have contributed to the system, and yet he is being told he cannot be with his wife as they are a threat to the system.

MPs get a huge salary, they can claim all manner of household expenses ranging from food and their TV licence, to interest on their mortgage and rent payments (blatant abuse of expense policies) and yet they have the nerve to put restrictions on the lives of ordinary British citizens, and accuse us of being a threat to the British economy?

Call for families: Valentine’s Video Project

Another Europe is Possible

BritCits has been contacted by a fellow campaigner, Zoe Gardner, in relation to a Valentine's Video Project.  Zoe is keen to speak with all sorts of couples to participate in a video campaign telling the not enough heard story about the positives of immigration - that love that has no regard for borders. The aim is to demonstrte in a tangible and understandable way the benefits immigrants bring to the lives of the Brits who fall in love with them. 

The couples should comprise of one British national and one foreign partner - in the UK, or navigating the rules to try and be allowed in. The videos will tell a universal story about each couple in a 2-minute video.  Couples will talk unscripted about how they met and fell in love.   Discussion of immigration rules on the family is optional.  The goal though is to get across a pro-migrant message 

The videos will be short, sweet and depending on you, even humorous :)

The idea is to share these videos, starting on Valentine’s Day, and encourage others to make and share their own, to create a library of positive stories celebrating the love between people, regardless of their origin. A suitable tag-line and hashtag is in the works…

The videos will be filmed on one day (probably very early February) in London, exact date and location TBC.  If you are part of a divided family, Zoe thinks showing a Skype conversation would be quite powerful. 

For the tech savvy who want to take part themselves, please do upload your own video using the hashtag (TBC) from Valentine's Day.
Please contact zoehgardner@gmail.com if you would like to be involved