"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.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

EU Ruling to impact on European Free Movement and the right to residence?

Source : BBC News with Analysis by Europe correspondent Chris Morris
The ruling

Today the European Court of Justice gave its ruling on a case that could have a wide ranging impact on European Free Movement. 

"The European Court of Justice has said member states are within their rights to refuse to give financial help to unemployed EU citizens who move to that country just to claim benefits".

The most concerning part of the ruling could be the part relating to the right of residency.
"The Court also said Ms Dano and her son could not claim a right of residence in Germany because they do not have sufficient resources to support themselves"

It could pave the way for even more restrictions to be announced before the end of the year.
"The BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith said the government - which has often been at odds with the European Court of Justice in the past - was hailing the ruling as evidence the UK and Germany were on the "same page" when it came to benefit abuses and could pave the way for further restrictions in the coming months."
"The prime minister has said he wants to go further and will set out his plans in a speech before the end of the year, amid pressure from Conservative backbenchers to act."

Since posting this yesterday there are now further sources and links to articles now that the press, legal community and the spin doctors have read the ruling:-







Update 20 Nov 2014

It has now been a week since this came out and has been widely hyped and spun by the press in the anti-immigration climate that has developed in the run up to the Rochester by-election that happens today.

So how much of this has been hyped or distorted by the press, spin doctors and politicians? 

Our learned friends at the freemovement blog have been spending a lot of time looking at the facts, analysing the possible implications and cutting through the media spin and hype to bring us an objective view of what if any impact this will have.

A big thank you to them for making this widely available to everyone.

EuLawAnalysis blog has also done an article about the historical context of the judgement.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Divided families in the news

Sources :Torquay Herald Express, Burton Mail, Cornish Guardian

The extent of the effect of family division rules is highlighted by these recent news stories, which have been covered in the local press. It would be good for national media and national politicians to join the dots to see how widespread these stories are - thousands upon thousands of families affected or divided.

My own experience, after 2 1/2 years of campaigning and working with divided families, is that the local news media does a very good job of picking up on the stories of those affected - which can then be relayed to the national media or by campaigning MPs, as some of the stories on this blog attest. I'd suggest to anyone affected that approaching the local newspaper or local radio station is a very effective way of getting your story out there and building momentum for your campaign.


Torquay Herald Express : Brixham family 'could be torn apart by immigration rules'


'Andrew Wade, 42, has been married to his wife Kingdao, a Thai national, for five years and has three children with her. But he fears his family could be devastated by bureaucracy and immigration rules as her visa to stay in the UK is soon to run out.'


Burton Mail : Family ripped apart by laws campaigns to reunite children with their father


'Her husband, Omer, should be there with her and their two daughters, but, instead, he is stuck in one of the most dangerous places in the world, almost 3,000 miles away.'

Related - Christine and Ziad : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/ziad
Nusrin and Shafik : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/shafik
Posts on divided families and the situation in Syria : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/syria


Cornish Guardian : Polzeath family faces being torn apart due to immigration battle


... "The rules need to be readdressed by Theresa May and the Home Office," she said. "The disproportionately high financial requirements serve only to filter out the rich from the poor and put a price on love and happiness.'

More stories of divided families : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/stories

Friday, 31 October 2014

How to marry an Armenian (part 1)

Author :Jo Magpie


'Most of us don’t realise how much freedom we have, until it’s suddenly limited...'

Jo Magpie on the trials of marrying a non-EEA citizen. To be continued!

Jo's blog : https://agirlandherthumb.wordpress.com/

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Free movement - references to some key court rulings

Here is a summary of some useful case law and other official documentation which could prove useful to those interested in exercising free movement rights.   Reliance on case law should not be blind as it is not necessarily all that is needed to establish rights.  It may not be appropriate for your situation and showing off how much more you know than the caseworker by OD’ing on case law references is likely to piss them off.  Pride is a strange thing! 
Furthermore, Home Office is notoriously slow in updating UK regulations to reflect recent court decisions it is not happy with.  Sadly, it is also not unknown for the Home Office to adopt the most restrictive interpretation possible, leaving it to another case years down the line, to shed clarity or hold the department accountable. 

There are sometimes inconsistencies between judgments where the more recent judgment could ‘trump’ an earlier one, or provide clarification. 

The key message is based on my understanding.  Links are provided so readers can form their own opinions and as always, when in any doubt, you are strongly advised to seek specialist immigration advice.  

Please send any suggestions and corrections (much welcomed) to BritCits@gmail.com

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Thousands of UK families forced to live apart due to visa rules

Source : Workpermit.com via QQ


'A UK Labour MP has called for income requirements for marriage visas to be reviewed, after being contacted by two families who are being forced to live apart under the current scheme.'

'... The first is Phillip and Kyoko Malloy, who met and married while Mr Malloy was teaching English in Japan. Mr Malloy then returned to the UK with his wife...

'The second family is Mr and Mrs Briggs, who met in New Zealand after Mrs Briggs moved there for work. They married, and settled down happily with successful careers, until Mrs Briggs decided she needed to be closer to family in the UK..'
Trial collapses after immigration officials 'lie under oath'

Source : Channel 4 News


'The UK's biggest sham marriage trial has collapsed with the judge accusing UKBA officers of deliberately concealing evidence and lying under oath.

'The Home Office has revealed to Channel 4 News that three immigration officers have been suspended and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has been called in to carry out an investigation.

'The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is to conduct a full review into the handling of the case and accepts it fell below acceptable standards.'
Living in the shadows: When Brits are made illegal

Source : Politics.co.uk


'... A hard-working single father, Aubrey was sacked from his job of three years when he couldn't prove his immigration status. For the past nine months, he has been reliant on borrowing money from friends and family. His passport, with its precious 'indefinite leave to remain' stamp, was lost some years back. When he made a new application earlier this year, it was refused. When his solicitor started judicial review proceedings, the Home Office initially defended the case, although they backed down before it went in front of a judge.'

"Surprised Brits" report tells of long-term residents shocked to discover they are 'illegal immigrants' :

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Our PEO experience - ILR

 Author : Steve

A few days ago we had an interview for Indefinite Leave to Remain SET M (spouse of a married person) at PEO Solihull (PEO = public enquiry office, also called premium service centre). I'm happy to say straight off that we got ILR.

This brings to a close a long, stressful and expensive chapter in our lives. Of course, it's much worse now for the people currently going through the process. Our application was under the old rules and furthermore was as strong as these things can be, but it still felt like a trial by ordeal at times. This note is shared to be useful to those currently going through this and hopefully to point people in the right direction.

In due course, I'll tot up the total expense of the whole process from the initial fiancee visa through to ILR (which in our case I estimate ran to several thousand pounds - that's including solicitor's fees to guide us through the initial process for a fiancee visa - expensive but reassuring if you're new to this; language test etc. costs; travel costs; and lost earnings - as I'm self-employed). I'll also do a comparison with at least one other country, to provide an international perspective.

These are our experiences :

Monday, 20 October 2014

Divided Families Scotland - demo outside Holyrood

Source : Dinnae Deport Oor Arbroath Angie / Divided Families Scotland

Thanks to Angie for sharing these!

More flyers for the demo : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/flyers-for-this-saturdays-demonstration.html
"Surprised Brits" report tells of long-term residents shocked to discover they are 'illegal immigrants'

Source :Migrants' Rights Network / Legal Action Group


'A new report from the Legal Action Group (LAG) details the experiences of people who have lived in the UK for many years and who had believed they were British citizens or at least had a legal residence status.'

'Chasing Status challenges the idea that being ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ in the country is a simple matter and everyone must surely know if they are one or the other.'

Chasing Status : http://www.lag.org.uk/magazine/2014/10/the-unintended-victims-of-%27a-hostile-environment%27.aspx

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Is UK handling of EEA Family Permit visas still a problem?
Source : EU Movement blog


Quotes :
'In the past, British embassy handling of EEA Family Permit visas has systematically violated EU Law, even in the straight forward cases. The problems are detailed in the Oct 2012 complaint to the European Commission CHAP(2012)3146.
'The executive summary of the complaint (reproduced below) highlights some of the problems encountered by married couples applying for an EEA Family Permit.  The full complaint has significantly more detail.

UK handling of EU family member visas systematically violates EU law :
Flyers for this Saturday's demonstration in Edinburgh

Created by :Tania

More information : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/divided-families-scotland-demonstration.html

Outside Scottish Parliament Building (EH99 1SP) on Saturday 18th October 2014 at 12:00 noon.

Divided Families Scotland on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/groups/416927848454512/

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

After 20 years of marriage, wife from Bristol now faces deportation

Source :Bristol Post


'Mr Draper, 59, a property developer, said: "After more than a year of visa negotiations involving lawyers and wranglings with the court, our faith in the immigration system has been totally destroyed. We don't know why Mae wasn't given a one-on-one interview at the time of applying, in which our circumstances could have been explained properly, instead of forms containing tick boxes.

"Mae is a trained midwife and wants to work and live in this country but is being denied that opportunity, despite us having been married for nearly 20 years.

"The UK Border Agency should not be using immigration rules in this way, to keep a decent hard-working family apart."

Don't take my mum away, Hanham teenager begs immigration authorities : http://theweekin.co.uk/uncategorized/dont-take-mum-away-hanham-teenager-begs-immigration-authorities/

'A DVD highlighting the Save Mae Campaign has been produced, in which the couple’s 14-year-old daughter Rhian, a student at the John Cabot Academy in Kingswood, pleads with the immigration authorities not to take her mum away, saying: “My family is being torn apart by the UK Government.” '


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Divided Families Scotland is on Twitter

https://twitter.com/DividedFamScot - give them a follow!

Don't forget the demonstration outside Holyrood this Saturday! : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/divided-families-scotland-demonstration.html 

‘Under detention they think you’re criminal’

Source : Portsmouth News


"If I’m deported there’s no chance of seeing my son. I left Nigeria 31 years ago – where on earth I going to stay? I don’t know anybody in Nigeria, my mum died in 2002, my dad died when I was four years old. What happens to my wife and who looks after my son? They call this justice – there is no justice in the Home Office. Detention is inhuman – I don’t know what to do."

Via Dinnae deport oor Arbroath Angie.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Divided Families Scotland - demonstrate outside Holyrood this Saturday 18th October

Negatively affected by the UKBA?
Denied a visa unjustly?
Separated from a loved one?
Denied a future and life in the UK?

... then we cordially invite you to join our demonstration to make a difference at the Scottish Parliament Building (EH99 1SP) on Saturday 18th October 2014 at 12:00 noon.

Come and make some noise against the discriminatory and unfair immigration rules set by the Home Office against our families. Please bring your families, brothers, sisters, neighbours, friend, grannies, to shout and support us. Let our voices be heard!

Our families are not a minority, and in fact, these rules cand and will be affecting more and more families each day.

Bring your banners, photos, collages etc to make the demo more colourfully displayed.

Flyers by our members and supporters Fran, Tania and Angie :

Family Christmas denied!

United by love - divided by the Home Office!

Divided Families Scotland on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/groups/416927848454512/

More ideas for flyers : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/flyers

Saturday, 11 October 2014

'Brothers who may be woman's last chance of beating leukaemia barred from entering UK'

Source :Mirror

'A mum fighting leukaemia has seen her three brothers – her last chance of a bone marrow transplant – barred from Britain.

'Fatemeh Mehdipour’s siblings were refused visas to fly in from Iran, despite being the closest surgical matches.

'The Home Office said it was “not satisfied” they would be “genuine visitors” and feared they would seek to stay in Britain after their visas expired.

'Fatemeh’s devastated daughter Azar, 24, told the Birmingham Mail: “We were all so positive, and thought mum would be having her transplant.

'“Everyone is so angry – she will die if she doesn’t get this transplant."'

Mirror Poll: 'Should Fatemeh's brothers be allowed into the country?' currently running at 81% YES. Add your voice.
Previously - posts on the campaign to save Oliver Cameron, whose sister was initially refused a visa to donate a kidney. The decision was ultimately reversed :

Friday, 10 October 2014

UKIP's policies

Whilst watching Question Time last night I found myself exasperated that once again we were seeing a UKIP candidate on the panel -  a party with no MP's at that time, whereas the Green party, with Members of Parliament continued to be shafted by the what should be an impartial BBC.

I found myself asking once again what were these other UKIP policies - so we all know they want us out of the EU to stop free movement of people, but what are their views on other issues? BBC has provided info on other UKIP policies but they're just as non-sensical as the EU exit one.

UKIP proposes to leave the EU, but retain trading links, whilst withdrawing from treaties, not paying membership fees and they claim this would be similar to the relationship with the EU had by Norway and Switzerland.  Their primary concern here seems to stem from reducing EU workers moving to the UK.

Let's be clear. Free movement of people is as much a pillar of the EU as free movement of goods and services.  So if we are to retain our trade links, so must we free movement of people.  We cannot despite UKIP's hoodwinking attempt, have one without the other.

Norway whilst not a member of the EU, is a member of the European Economic Area. Which means it pays about half the membership fees into the EU as we do, but it still must accept the treaties, including free movement of people.  It just doesn't have a say in what the treaties are!  Our stance changing to be like Norway will not deliver what the bulk of UKIP's supporters think they will get with more power to UKIP.

Switzerland is neither a member of the EU nor the EEA, but it does have bilateral agreements with the EU.  So just as a French, Norwegian or Polish person can move to the UK to live and work here, so can a Swiss - and similarly, a British person can go to France, Norway, Poland or Switzerland.

There's also no mention of the fact that goods and services are cheaper for us because of the EU and the resulting increased competition.  Imagine no Polish plumbers. Don't you think a British plumber will then charge more? Basic supply-demand theory.

I did try and explain this to Nigel Farage, whilst speaking with him last year after a debate hosted by Intelligence Squared, however Nigel refused to believe that an exit from the EU whilst retaining membership of the EEA would not stop free movement of people.   

I wholeheartedly feel UKIP made these grand claims of what they could achieve because they don't believe there will ever come a point when they would need to deliver.  Else why is it that with seemingly the entire purpose of UKIP being to stem free movement of people they don't understand the very basic mechanics.  

Mass uncontrolled immigration - statistics please!  Where are the lack of controls when thousands of British citizens are prevented from being with their family, only because their husband, wife, mum or dad is not British?  When someone earning £18,599 is unable to have his wife join him in the UK because he is just £1 short of the dont-get-me-started £18,600 income level.

What does UKIP mean by a freeze on immigration for permanent settlement? Would we for a five year period, issue no ILR to people who have already been living here for over five years, or do they mean put in a five year waiting period before someone is granted ILR - which in fact is already the case for almost all visas that I can think of except adult dependant relatives (to which the door is slammed shut anyway) so UKIP is not promising anything new.

New arrivals to the UK already have no recourse to public funds for five years - which prevents their accessing ppublic housing or benefits - so again nothing new from UKIP here.  The execption is EU citizens - who must be treated the same as British citizens, just as British citizens are treated as locals by other member states. If the proposal was you have to have paid tax here for five years before accessing benefits - whether you are a British citizen or not, then this requirement could also be imposed on fellow EU citizens.  However this is not what UKIP states - they state they want this restriction to apply only to migrants - which it already does!

A single rate of income tax.  I think I might cry.  The whole point of a progressive tax system, as we have in the UK - whereby income is divided into bands, and the income which falls into the higher bands is taxed at a higher rate, is to redistribute income from higher-earners to lower-earners.  A flat rate of tax will mean tax revenue will drop and the people who will benefit from this the most, are the higher-earners, not Joe Bloggs!  This is an incredibly stupid proposal that will widen the divide between the rich and the poor.

That the uber-rich manage to avoid tax is another issue and I'd love to hear more from all parties on how they will tackle that.

I'm not against grammar schools actually so this proposal doesn't offend me so much - except I would like to know how UKIP believes it can fund student grants as opposed to student loans?

Proposal to hand control of NHS to locally elected County Health Boards - this would result in a huge variation in level of service amongst countries; inflated salaries paid to more people, and dare I say, corruption, inefficiencies, and lack of responsbiility.  How will this be funded?

UKIP wants to increase defence spending and build more warships. Sigh.  Where is the money coming from please?

Energy and climate change
UKIP is openly sceptical over the concept of climate change altogether. UKIP wants to scrap any increntives for renewable energy, cancel wind farm developments ad expand fracking and nuclear power stations.

Oh my goodness me.  The importance of increasing our usage of renewable sources of energy, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, was something I learned about in science at the age of 12. It's just common sense. Work with nature, not against it.  If UKIP thinks fracking and nuclear power stations are the way to go, let's start these in the areas UKIP candidates and supporters live in and hear the loud cries of 'not in my backyard'.

It's this policy which makes Clacton-on-Sea's vote last night for UKIP particularly bemusing as mentioned in this tweet.

Gay marriage
UKIP is all for civil partnerships, hurrah, but opposes gay marriage because churches should be able to decide for themselves who they will or will not marry.  As far as I'm aware, this decision is up to the local priest (or equivalent in other religions).  Frankly who'd want a reluctant party to preside over their marriage anyway?

Law and order
UKIP wants to double prison places, enforce zero tolerance and protect frontline policing.

Doubling of prison places - how? Where is the land to do this and where will the funds come from? What do they mean by zero tolerance? Is there nothing for which community service would suffice? What are their thoughts on rehabilitation to reduce recurrences?

Ah here is the answer to my question. Sort of.  UKIP says the tens of billions of tax cuts will be funded by cuts to public expenditure to deal with the deficit.  Questions
1) Are the cuts to fund the tax cuts or to eliminate the deficit? It can't be both as the numbers don't add up.
2) Where will the cuts be? Prisons and defence would see a rise in expenditure under UKIP.  UKIP has already aired their wanting cuts to tax, including council tax.  What's left? Schools, NHS, roads, welfare benefits....

Thank goodness Bank of England has a mandate to operate independently of political motives, else we'd just see our currency depreciate with wheelbarrows filled with money used to buy bread and milk from orders of printing money to pay for increased expenditure.

Social issues
UKIP isn't a fan of multiculturalism - how many people do you know who have family members hailing from a different part of the world to themselves?  Has this not enriched their life?

UKIP also wants to allow smoking in pubs and bring back hunting.  Yes, this really is progress to them.

UKIP wants more local and national referendums on 'major issues'.  Referendums are expensive. Who will pay for these and what does UKIP consider to be 'major issues'?

Why UKIP so badly wants to get into Westminster I don't understand given they already are known for not particpating in votes in European parliament depiste being MEP's. Perhaps they just want yet another role they get paid for not turning up to.

I urge anyone voting in May 2015, to question the promises made by the parties - whatever your political affiliation. Ask - will they be able to deliver this promise, and if so how? What resources are required? Where will the funding come from? What areas will consequently see a cut? What happens if this promise is not fulfilled? Ask. Ask out loud, ask the candidate directly, ask on twitter - discuss with your friends, family, colleagues. Use your education and learn to question. Remember politicians are paid to represent us. Ensure they do.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Family permit refusal letter

Not much astounds me when it comes to appalling behaviour from the Home Office, but they sure deserve a prize for coming up with the most bizarre reasons for deportation or refusal of entry.

One I've just come across has made me so angry, I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the HO's ability to still get to me.  Perhaps because I've not been on twitter much over the last few days the frustration is on overload.  Despite that I have seen many incredibly poor reasons for refusal already, illegal reasons, this refusal letter has really got to me, because in refusing the family permit, HO cites the applicant and sponsor went to 'extensive lengths to understand fully Regulation 9.." thereby deducing that it must have been an attempt to circumvent the rules.

Oh my goodness me.  So a family which ensures they understand the rules so as to comply with them is penalised; whilst another that does not understand the complex and ever changing rules, is also penalised for not complying with the very same rules.

Home Office goes on to state that because the British sponsor's salary in France was less than their spend, they are considered to be self-sufficient not employed. Again, a stupid deduction. The EEA regs do not specify a required level of income.  They actually don't even require any employment at all for exercise of rights under Surinder Singh, as long as the initial free movement exercise was genuine and family life was created or strengthened.  So by imposing the condition of employment/self-employment in itself, I believe UK is in violation of EEA law - and I understand the European Commission has commenced infringement proceedings against the UK for it's regulation 9 requirements (centre of life).

Of course, if those who spend more than their earnings are not considered to be employed, wonder if this means the no doubt thousands of Brits living in the UK who engage in just this kind of behaviour can just claim self-sufficiency and avoid income tax and possibly even claim income-related benefits!

It just beggars belief that we live in a country where a government department can flout the law so openly, and be so uncaring of how ridiculous their reasons for refusal are.  See not just the above refusal letter, but this extract from a deportation letterthis one too,blog piece by Colin Yeo and this blatantly racist HO statement shared by Melanie Griffiths.

I urge anyone who finds Home Office in violation of the EEA regulations to make a complaint to Solvit.  When faced with a government that refuses to listen, holding them accountable for their behaviour may be the only way to ensure we live in a country where the government doesn't use its muscle to act unlawfully, and that it is obliged to interpret regulations in the manner intended.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Leeds school caretaker who lost fight to stay in UK in emotional exit

Source :Yorkshire Evening Post


'... Staff at Collingham Lady Elizabeth Hastings CE Primary School held a special assembly yesterday to pay tribute to hardworking colleague Portas Ongondo, who had worked there for six years.

'Pupils returning to their classrooms for the autumn term were upset to find the caring character was no longer a feature of their school lives.

'The dedicated worker, whose commitment to the school “far exceeded the role of caretaker”, was told during the summer break he could no longer live and work in the UK following the breakdown of his marriage. '

Portas on Twitter : https://twitter.com/PortasUK

Via I Love My Foreign Spouse and Dinnae Deport Oor Arbroath Angie.


Updated answers to the most frequently asked questions here with links to some excellent articles, reports and forums.  Topics covered include:
  • UK's immigration rules, including the MM case impacting spouses/partners, 
  • UK's immigration rules for Adult Dependant Relatives
  • EU treaty rights
  • Surinder Singh - special application of EU treaty rights for home state