Phil and Amanda
“As a British student, I can’t live in my country with my wife, because she is American and I don’t earn £18,600 – how many British students do?!”
Phil is a British citizen who met his now wife, Amanda in Scotland. Amanda is American and was
studying at Stirling University when they met, nearly three years ago.
Their relationship survived being an ocean apart when Amanda had to return home to finish her undergraduate degree in the US. She got in to the Masters program at Stirling University for postgraduate studies. She accepted this to be with her partner and on the understanding that the UK provided Post Study Work visas allowing those with degrees from recognised UK universities to work here for two years.
Amanda started her course in September 2011. In April 2012, the PSW route was closed, not just to new students, but including those students who had come to the UK on the basis of the PSW. Indeed, students who may have chosen to go to other countries over the UK if this had been made clear to them in advance.
Facing a future apart, Phil knew the only way Amanda could stay in the UK was if she obtained a job. However work visas have all sorts of requirements (like the job has to pay £20,000 or more, for example).
They became aware of the income requirement being brought in by the government for spouses; although not married at this point they realised that even if they did get married they would not be able to stay in the UK together. They did however get married in October 2011 - it would make it possible for Phil to go to the US if Amanda had to leave, so they could be together.
Unfortunately, they cannot leave for America immediately, as Phil is still finishing his degree; so they are facing months or even years apart, as students don’t tend to earn £18,600 (well except for those with rich parents).
Because Phil fell in love with an American, he has to leave his family and everything he knows in the UK to be with his wife.
They both accept the need to control immigration, but feel that it is absolutely ridiculous that the rules punish British citizens - and their families - to such an extent.