“I am being punished by my country for exercising my right to marry who I want . I can’t be with my daughter and grandchild – I can’t be around parents if they need me because of these rules.”
Sandra is a British Citizen, she married her husband Aftab, an Egyptian, in Bournemouth.
Sandra and Aftab decided to try out life in Egypt; accommodation was organised and Aftab had work. However, Sandra did not fit into life in Egypt and she missed her daughter and grandchild, who were still in the UK.
Aftab agreed to move to the UK – while home for him is Egypt, he liked the UK and wanted Sandra to be happy, understanding the importance of her family ties. Soon after Aftab enrolled on a business studies course in the UK, Sandra found out she was pregnant.
They applied for a spouse visa for Aftab before 9 July 2012, with £4,000 savings in the bank. Additionally, Sandra’s father provided a guarantee, acting as a third-party sponsor, with a healthy bank balance and proof of the deeds to his bungalow. Sandra and Aftab therefore had shown they had no intention to access any welfare benefits.
Sandra succeeded in obtained a job in telesales, which was good as it did not put too much strain on her body. Shortly after, Aftab found work in a restaurant, though he could only work 20 hours per week because of legal restrictions. Between them, they earned £18,600 although this was not the requirement at the time of application.
It became more and more important for the spouse visa to come through; Sandra was finding the pregnancy difficult. Further complications meant she could no longer work full time and sadly they lost the baby. It was a traumatic time for them both, but somehow, together, they managed to carry on.
More bad news was to follow, with the spouse visa being rejected because payment from Aftab’s bank in Egypt didn’t go through. Sandra and Aftab were not given a second chance to make payment by alternative means; and so, because of a fault of the bank, Sandra and Aftab now have now moved back to Egypt.
Sandra doesn’t feel she can earn £18,600 at this point and has been through a lot already, with the loss of the baby. She has secured a teaching job in Sharm El Sheikh at least.
So their situation is this. Sandra cannot return to her own home with her husband because she doesn’t earn enough. She feels she is being punished just because she chose to marry someone ‘different’.
She is being forced to choose between being a wife, and being a mother, grandmother, and daughter.
Sandra is pleading with whoever reads this to do what they can to change the current law to help British citizens.
She is a British citizen but now she cannot live in her own country.