“We’re not asking for hand-outs, just the chance to live as a family unit.”
Alice is a British citizen living here in the UK, in Norfolk. She is 34 years of age, with an 8-year-old daughter from her first marriage.
In May 2010 she met a lovely man who happened to be Tunisian. Just over two years later, in June 2012, they got married in Tunisia.
They previously applied for him to come here for a 6-week visit in December 2011. They were refused entry, even though they had a guarantor (Alice’s reasonably well-off father) AND had savings to pay for the visit.
The reason for the refusal was that the UKBA felt he did not have enough reason to return to his country following the visit. They subsequently decided to apply for a spouse visa following the marriage but missed the deadline for the rules changing on 9th July (background here: http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/introduction.html ).
Alice lives in a small town in Norfolk where a salary of £18,600, particularly in retail – the industry she works in – is very difficult to obtain. As with many other regions of the UK, though, a salary of £18,600 can go a long way.
The language requirement is not an issue – her husband speaks fluent English and even has a TEFL certificate.
Alice is a single mother and has been using her savings to visit her husband in Tunisia (last year she
managed three visits) because he can't come here, even for a visit!!
Like countless other families affected by these rules, Alice spends most of her life on Skype and is regretfully beginning to accept that she may never be able to be with her husband, because otherwise it would mean keeping her daughter away from her dad. (Skype Mummy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhHpaq4KBxY ; Skype Daddy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKrCUaKB4KM )
It is a wrenching choice. One which many others in similar situations are facing - not even a choice between 'exile or family breakup' ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/08/immigration-rules-couples-stark-choice ) - as whichever choice she makes will lead to loved ones being apart..
She is at a loss. She feels discriminated against by the British government.
Alice is not asking for handouts, just the chance to live as a family unit.
Alice, and hundreds like her, is exactly the sort of person we and the UK, as a caring society, should be protecting.