"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.

Thursday 29 December 2022

Personal finance flowchart

I know a lot of people are struggling with finances as they go through the visa process, and this is now more true than ever.

The subreddit ukpersonalfinance has shared this 'personal finance' flowchart which I think gives excellent advice on options available to manage personal finances at any level : https://ukpersonal.finance/flowchart/

I recommend it and think it's very useful to anyone no matter where they are on this flowchart.

(Just a note here that some care needs to be taken with those using savings e.g. to apply for a spouse visa under Cat D as the savings must be -instantly- accessible - this doesn't contradict the advice in the chart, but it's something to bear in mind!).

Wednesday 28 December 2022

'Seven bits of bad news that dripped out while people were scoffing mince pies ' https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/seven-bits-bad-news-dripped-28822205  -  raising the minimum income requirement is in there. Good to see the Mirror covering this in a way which frames it as the bad news it is, especially given the Mirror's profile among Labour supporters.

Call to action! Lobby your candidates! Don't forget! : https://britcits.blogspot.com/2022/12/call-to-action-in-light-of-recent-media.html

Tuesday 27 December 2022


In light of recent media coverage regarding a potential increase in the spouse/fiance/partner minimum income requirements, (see : https://britcits.blogspot.com/2022/12/this-is-important-post-there-is-media.html ) we are requesting that all our supporters write to MPs and where possible parliamentary candidates in their constituency as follows.

Note that parties many constituencies have not yet chosen their candidates - it's ok, where possible you can write to the local party or the MP, or check back and write back where chosen.

You can identify and write to your local MP using these tools - https://www.writetothem.com/ or https://members.parliament.uk/members/commons or https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

Labour candidates for the next election where chosen can be found using this tool when available - https://vote.labour.org.uk/

Liberal Democrats - https://www.libdems.org.uk/in-your-community

We expect Greens will share their candidates here - https://www.greenparty.org.uk/find-your-local-party.html

We also encourage people to share with trade unions they belong to.
This is just a template - please do feel free to modify with your own story!

Dear <candidate name>,

As a voter in the constituency you want to represent in Parliament, I am writing to you with what I want you and any future Government to address in creating a fair immigration policy.

Since 2012, many reforms have been introduced with a view to creating a 'hostile environment' towards those who come here from overseas. This includes not only migrants - but also British people with overseas families - spouses, partners, children, dependant relatives. I believe the vast majority of people who come to the UK want to actively take part in their local communities, and contribute to wider British society. Current immigration policies are undermining their ability to feel welcome and are increasing social divisions.

In particular, I want to highlight the rules around spousal/partner/family visas which have caused division for many UK families.
- The minimum income requirement, introduced in 2012, was set far higher than the vast majority of developed nations, at a level which close to 40% of the UK population - higher among women and in many regions - could not hope to meet. This has caused many people to have to choose between exile or family division.
- This has also caused untold mental health and financial harm to thousands of families - including small children at vulnerable points in their lives - as they struggle to meet the requirement.
- As well as family impact, contrary to stated reasoning that they promote integration and the economy, the legacy of these rules is of family division - and of in fact harming the economy through forcing people into single parenthood and denying the economy hardpaying workers and taxpayers who will support their families and the country as a whole.
- As well as this, partner visa fees have spiralled since 2012 - the cost for the whole process, not including legal fees, approach £15,000 - £20,000 - prohibitively expensive, far more than most people can afford! All in support of a policy which just divides families, harming society and the economy.
- Furthermore, I would like to highlight that family policies around adult dependant relatives are nearly impossible to meet regardless - a ban masquerading as a rule - the impact on families is truly multi-generational.

<those impacted may want to include a bit about their stories here>

Now I hear through the media (Times article 26 December 2022) that the government wishes to set this even higher - details are vague right now - seemingly in an endless quest to divide even more families and cause even more misery!

As a nation, our history of tolerance, openness and compassion is being undermined by the politics of fear and division. I want to see an end to arbitrary and short-sighted immigration policies that feed into the creation of an unwelcoming environment for families and ultimately are unsustainable.

A step that can be taken immediately to improve the immigration system and resolve some its biggest problems is simply to commit to protecting the right to a family life for British residents and their families, wherever they come from :
- abolishing rather than increasing the cruel minimum income requirement
- cutting fees to a humane and affordable level while ensuring an appropriate service level
- making the regime 'family friendly' and not 'hostile'

I believe we need an open and honest public discussion about migration and families and that the British public is crying out for one. And I believe the next Government can and must do better.

I would ask you to carefully consider this call for change and incorporate this into your work.

Yours sincerely,


*** This is an important post - there is media coverage of the MIR possibly increasing - this is an opptunity for those potentially affected to push back

Brace yourselves.

Times :
'Under a draft of the proposals, seen by The Times, the government would increase the minimum income threshold for British citizens applying for a family visa for a spouse or children.'
Express :
Her new blueprint would see the government pushing up the minimum income threshold for British citizens applying for a family visa for a spouse or children.

Forewarned is fore-armed. I think this is likely to be a race against time given the election may be coming up in a year or so.

So I'm sharing this so people can 
- write to Labour / Lib Dem / other opposition candidates in your area to ask them to re-affirm their commitment to ditching the MIR, if and when there is a change of government (it's unlikely the Conservatives will do this, but Labour or a coalition which includes Labour may - you will need to know your constituency and then identify local political parties)
- engage trade unions you belong to (this is likely to be very important in this time of discontent)
- engage with other community groups 

- if you are considering the spouse/partner visa process, you may want to bring your plans forward *before* the MIR increases. On past experience (2012 rules) bridging arrangements may apply so that people currently in the process at the point the thresholds/rules change will be considered under the old arrangements. 
This is what happened to those who got their applications in before the MIR was introduced in 2012, so if this happens, you'll kick yourself if you delay.

Thursday 3 November 2022

Stitched with Love - Coventry Cathedral - Workshop 3rd December and display throughout December 2022

Our friend Phavine - a non-UK spouse herself - has put together this project with the crafting contributions of members of online communities impacted by the UK's family rules. It looks fantastic and I'd encourage anyone who can to try to make it. (Who knows, you may even see me at some point).

Coventry Cathedral itself, of course, rebuilt from the ruins after World War 2, is a symbol of international reconciliation and harmony (for all religions and none). So it's hard to think of a better location for this.

Phavine says :

“Stitched with Love” is a collaborative quilt making project, initiated by Phavine Phung, a doctoral researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London, with participation from a community of families who faced separation due to the Hostile Environment in the UK family visa system. 

We are pleased to invite you to the launch of our “Stitched with Love: Stories of Family Migration” exhibition and a crafting workshop on 03 December 2022. The event will take place at the Lady Chapel, Coventry Cathedral (Priory St, Coventry, CV1 5AB). 

On the 03 December 2022, we will be running a crafting workshop from 12-4pm. This drop-in workshop will provide a slow-paced atmosphere where participants can share experiences or learn from other’s experiences of immigration while stitching a quilt together. No prior skills are needed. Tea and biscuits will be served. This is followed by a panel discussion at 4:30-5:30pmThe panel will consist of speakers who have personal experiences with the UK family visa system and immigration practitioners from local organisations. Both events are free. 

The exhibition will be open for the public to view from 01-31 December 2022

For further information, please visit:   www.stitchedwithlovequilt.wordpress.com

Instagram: stitchedwithlove_quilt 

Email: stitchedwithlovequilt@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you at the event! 

Related : Summer of Love

Sunday 30 October 2022

House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee

Many thanks to our friend Rebecca for appearing in front of the House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee. This was part of the family migration inquiry which BritCits helped to contribute to via the University of Sheffield's Centre for Care. We are happy to be working with Sheffield and were grateful to facilitate a representation based on the request from the Lords.

All three witnesses gave compelling and moving testimony as to the impact of the family migration rules on their families, in different ways - across generations.

You can watch the session here. And a transcript will be available in due course.

(Our trustee, Steve, was also present - but you can't see him because he's off camera :) ). 

(Our friend, Ella of the group Reunite Families UK, also contributed to this inquiry and you can read a piece on that here). 

Updated 8/Nov/2022 : The transcript is available here. 

Monday 17 October 2022

Deaths of children with no recourse to public funds

Deaths of children with no recourse to public funds

Author/Source : Via Andy Jolly, Twitter

Thread and article about about deaths of children with no recourse to public funds : https://twitter.com/andy_jolly/status/1580620356318294017 + https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/chso.12646 

 This is an important, shocking piece. 

 From the abstract : 'This paper reviews 26 reports into deaths and serious abuse of children in families who were subject to the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) rule. Our analysis illustrates vulnerabilities caused by exclusionary policies, exacerbating social deprivation and isolation experienced by the children and families and making it more difficult for professionals to respond in ways which safeguarded children's welfare. Drawing upon a social model for protecting children that requires recognition of the social determinants of harm and the economic, social and cultural barriers faced by families, we examine the experiences of children and families with NRPF who were the subject of a serious case review, and the responses of agencies responsible for safeguarding child welfare. We conclude with recommendations for practices aimed at promoting the rights and well-being of children and families subject to NRPF rules.' 

 From the conclusion : 'Our analysis of SCRs suggests that the NRPF rule was a barrier to ensuring that the children were cared for safely. Children experienced situations such as hunger and homelessness which directly resulted from their NRPF status, and support services did not always understand the implications of the NRPF rule for safeguarding children. The current child protection system in England focuses on the harm caused by parental action or inaction, with less attention given to social determinants of harm, and therefore is unable to consistently safeguard the welfare of children who are subject to immigration control.'