“They said I was too old for my husband and our marriage would not be accepted in Moroccan culture and so, refused his visa.”
Margaret is a British citizen, aged 58. She first met her husband, Mustapha, aged 32, online. They
became friends when Margaret went to visit her daughter's family in Morocco, and the friendship strengthened over time, even when Margaret had returned to the UK.
Having come out of a bad marriage that had lasted 17 years and with her own health issues, Margaret was wary of getting into another relationship and trusting again. However, more time passed and gradually Margaret couldn’t deny that she cared for Mustapha, particularly after another visit to Morocco, when Margaret fell ill and Mustapha looked after her.
Parting at the airport was horrendous and Margaret realised how much she missed him. She went
back a few times, spending time with Mustapha’s family as well, with whom she gets along very well.
They sought permission from Mustapha’s parents and Moroccan judges (as is the requirement there) and finally in June 2010, they got married. Two years later, they applied for a visit visa, for Mustapha to be with Margaret for the bypass surgery she was having to help alleviate some of her health problems. The visa was refused. So Margaret had to have surgery without her husband by her side.
Post-surgery, Margaret and Mustapha applied for a settlement visa, in order to have her husband with her during the post-op recovery. This too was rejected. The reasons given? The UKBA staff member processing their application thought Moroccan culture would deem Margaret was too old for Mustapha and therefore, Mustapha’s intention cannot have been to stay with Margaret, and finally that Mustapha would be able to seek public funds.
Given Mustapha would not qualify for public funds for at least ten years, and Margaret and Mustapha had gotten married in spite of age difference because of their feelings for each other, the refusal was not justified..especially in light of the fact that UKBA did not even bother to interview the couple – they just made the decision based on a written application!
For Margaret the issue is not the £18,600. She is a registered disabled person and therefore the income threshold does not apply to her. And so the UKBA creates another barrier by assuming their marriage cannot be genuine. They did not interview him. They did not carry out any research into the marriage. They just assumed.