Larissa & Nicolas
“It’s a shame the UK government is blind to common sense and so averse to doing the right thing, in the interest of massaging some numbers.”
Larissa is a British citizen, born and raised in London. She has lived and worked in Argentina with her fiancé, Nicolas. They intend to get married in Buenos Aires, Argentina on April 9th, and then "fight" their way into the UK.
They are facing a fight because of both, the salary rule and the English requirement – requirements which have been brought in because of, the government says, the basis of ensuring the foreign spouse is not a burden on UK taxpayers and that s/he can integrate well into the community here.
Nicolas is the son of an English teacher – he has been learning English since he was a baby, studied it in a private institute for over six years and received his own ‘Elementary English Teacher’ certificate, allowing him to teach Argentinean school students English as a foreign language. Between them, they earn more han £25,000 a year.
Yet the rules are such that they are disqualified, despite earning enough to NOT be a burden on the taxpayer and Nicolas being fluent in English.
Nicolas doesn’t have an issue with doing the test. He will pass it. The issue is that the test has to be completed in very specific locations, with no thought to the time, expense and location issues it raises for the couple.
To earn over £18,600 by herself, Larissa will have to get another job, to supplement her £14,000 income. Not easy at the best of times, but especially in this economy – and she has been trying. And even when she is successful in obtaining this job, they will have to wait six months before they can even apply to be together. And then, going by statistics obtained from UKBA, up to another six months before the visa would be granted. So the couple faces 12 months apart, even after Larissa obtains the elusive £18,600 job.
This despite the fact that their joint income is OVER £25,000.
Larissa has been told, "Well, you're marrying someone from abroad, go start your life abroad then".
The issue is Nicolas speaks English, Larissa doesn't speak Spanish.
Larissa is really close to her family in London (as is Nicolas), while Nicolas’s family is scattered around the globe.
Nicolas can take his job with him, it doesn't matter where he is. Larissa’s job is less mobile.
So for many valid reasons, it is just not the same for this young couple to start their family in
Argentina. It’s a shame the UK government is blind to common sense and so averse to doing the right thing.
Editor's note: Regarding the issue of timescales. Relevant here are the news stories from late
January 2013 of the UKBA backlogs in dealing with delays to partner and
family visas :
'Border agency backlog keeps Britons and their foreign spouses in limbo' : http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/08/immigration-marriage
'UKBA backlog: Inspectors find thousands of new cases : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21170495
inspectors visited a UKBA office in Sheffield they found a further
backlog of 2,100 "complex" temporary migration cases. These included 180
marriage entry or settlement applications which had not received an
initial decision. Some dated back to 2003.
One inspector said the
unresolved applications had been effectively "dumped" on the Sheffield
team after being transferred in a box from the UKBA's Croydon offices.
Officials have since dealt with these cases.
We posted on this issue on 24th January 2013 : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/a-good-day.html
It's worth reading the stories and following the links. This situation - not just the unfairness of the rules but the poor implementation of the rules - causes heartbreak and uncertainty for many people. Several contributors to the BritCits pack contributed to the linked news stories. See also our very special 'bureaucracy' tag : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/bureaucracy
The Independent Chief Inspector on Twitter : https://twitter.com/ICIBIVine