“I am desperate to return home to spend time with my parents in their final years..as they are both fighting cancer…but I can’t leave my wife! ”
Sean is a British citizen who for the past ten years has worked in South East Asia. Sean's wife is from that region and together, they have a three year old son, also British. Sean’s parents, also British, live in the UK.
Both of Sean's parents are battling cancer and Sean is keen to spend time with his parents in their last few years and ensure his son gets to spend that incredibly precious time with the grandparents that for many of us, has been invaluable in our own lives.
However, because of this government, Sean and his son are now facing the prospect of never being able to return here - to their home, their family and the lives they are entitled to.
Sean’s parents are devastated at the prospect of never seeing Sean or their beloved grandson again.
They are depressed, habitually in tears and at a time when cancer is attacking them, so is this government.
Sean is horrified that his little boy will never experience a family Christmas or the warmth and love of his grandparents.
This government has deemed that in order for Sean, as a British citizen to return to the UK he must abandon his wife because he just doesn’t make an arbitrary amount of £18,600 in the developing country he is living in – an amount he does not need to live on there.
This government has deemed that for Sean’s son to be able to live in his home and get to know his
grandparents, he must either live with his mum in Asia or his dad in the UK.
This government is encouraging the breakup of a marriage and family, forcing British citizens into exile, and forcing elderly British citizens in a time of need, to battle debilitating diseases alone.
What’s even more unbelievable is that these new rules only affect British citizens with non-EU spouses. Other EU citizens have the freedom to live in Sean’s home country with their non-EU spouses..but because Sean is British he has additional hurdles to jump over.
We have no answer for Sean when he asked us to explain to him why he, as British citizen, and his son, also a British citizen, are forced to live in exile. The rights of Sean’s non-European spouse are not the issue here. The issue is around the rights we afford British citizens and families, and the heartbreak this government deems it justified to wreak on its own people.
When did we become a society where an elderly British couple battling cancer are forced to do it without their British son to support them?
Perhaps the government can tell us why.
A quote from Ian Dunt, posting at http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2013/01/18/comment-how-the-government-breaks-up-british-families , springs to mind :
Our constant obsession with immigration is making this a hard, mean
place; a place that splits up families so it can satisfy David Cameron's
absent-minded promise of 'tens-of-thousands' coming in a year.