More stories and excerpts from the report
The stories below highlight the sheer range and diversity of those affected by the rules - people of many cultural backgrounds, including those whose families have been in Britain since time immemorial; and all income levels. The one thing they all have in common is that the government is seeking to separate them from those they love - in many cases by offering a false choice.
Source : http://www.appgmigration.org.uk/family-inquiry
Some British citizens and permanent residents in the UK, including people in full-time employment, have been separated from a non-EEA partner and in some cases their children as a result of the income requirement
Some British citizens and permanent residents have been prevented from returning to the UK with their non-EEA partner and any children as a result of the income requirement
Some children, including British children, have been indefinitely separated from a non-EEA parent as a result of the income requirement
The adult dependent relative visa category appears in effect to have been closed
“I served in the British Army for 9 and a half years, have a First Class Honours degree and my husband is also degree educated and currently earning more than I do [overseas]...I am antagonised by the fact that citizens of the EEA face none of these obstacles when bringing their non-EEA spouse to the UK, yet I, a British citizen and former member of the British Army, am not entitled to the same rights in my own country.” (In dividual submission, Yorkshire)”
“If £18,600 is considered a minimum income for an adult to survive on, why as a clinically skilled NHS Aux. Nurse am I only earning £14,153 p.a. in my full time post? ... I am paying my taxes/rent without help/public funds.” (Individual submission, West Midlands)
“[I]f I was doing exactly the same job for the NHS in London I would meet the financial requirement and would be able to bring my wife here so I could carry on with my work and live a happy life.”
(Individual submission, West Midlands)
An MP for a constituency in South East England reported:
“most of the people who have approached me because their spouse cannot join them are women, often unable to work full time because of childcare commitments”
A visa consultant in Thailand stated that, in his experience, the level of the income requirement means that “a British sponsor living on a UK state pension, or a small company pension, can never bring his wife to the UK”.
An MP for a Scottish constituency submitted that “casework suggests that this limit is preventing elderly couples from being able to live together in the UK.”
A worker for the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council reported that the income requirement had already had a disproportionate impact on the local Pakistani community:
“Keighley is a low wage high unemployment area and Pakistanis are disproportionately affected by the state of the labour market. These rules make it impossible for all but the very few to choose a partner from abroad.”
A representative of a Scottish organization working with Asian women told the Committee that the new family migration rules had resulted in some people feeling “that this country doesn’t want them”
The Brussels-based Migration Policy Group reported that
“the UK has now set an income threshold that is higher than in all other major Western countries of immigration, [except] oil-rich Norway”
Researchers at Middlesex University submitted that “the consequence of admitting a partner will be not an increase but a decrease in claims for most existing benefits. This is not surprising: with two potential incomes, a family unit is more likely to earn above the cut-off point for welfare”
“I am a British citizen. I have a 8 month old daughter with my Moroccan husband... I have had to go on benefits for the first time in my life as I can’t afford to eat without them.” (Individual submission, South East England)
“My Canadian-born wife (who I have been married to since June 2007) has to remain in Canada... I currently care for my seventeen year old Autistic daughter...
My wife being able to immigrate to the UK would benefit my daughter's emotional and mental health [and] would mean that I would be available for wider employment opportunities.” (Individual submission, Wales)
“I particularly point out that where the income threshhold is difficult to reach in the UK, the exchange rate renders it entirely impossible to reach in other countries (including all C ommonwealth countries). As barristers, we are top earners here, but when converted into pounds we fall short.”
(Individual submission, South Africa)
“Our client, an Australian national, is a Chief Financial Officer with a multinational company in Dubai.
His current salary package is £250,000 per annum. Our client is married to a British national and they have children together... However, despite his earnings abroad and prospective earnings in the UK of £400,000 per annum as well as having property in the UK valued over £3.5 million, our client is not eligible under the new threshold... This is because his earnings overseas could not be considered and his wife is not employed nor does she intend or need to undertake employment in the UK.”
“I moved to the UK with [our 4 year old] son to find a job with a salary of £18,600 for 6 months, so my wife could qualify for a spouse visa, leaving her alone in the US. I am living in a rural location with my parents.
Salaries of £18,600 in this area are uncommon so I’m looking for work in London.”
(Individual submission, South East England)
“I have been here in Australia for 45 years and I wanted to spend these later years in my home country which is Scotland. We got a shock when my Australian husband of 43 years applied for a visa.... We intended buying a house in Scotland and we have more than enough money to keep ourselves. ... We have decided to stay here in Australia as we feel we now don't want to go to a country that obviously does not want us.”
(Individual submission, Australia)
“My parents are elderly but not completely dependent, with my father hospitalised with Alzheimers. They are in the UK, I am in Australia. I am British and have been considering a return to the UK with my Australian husband to be nearer them and to provide more support and be part of the load sharing my other siblings currently undertake...
[But a] return is currently not possible as my spouse and I do not meet the minimum financial requirements.” (Individual submission, Australia)
In January 2013, the Chief Inspector reported that: "We were disappointed to find that specific consideration was given to the best interests of the child in only 1 of the 21 further [non-EEA partner] leave and settlement cases where leave was refused outright...
[W]e found no evidence that the best interests of the child had been referred to specifically in any of the 39 [non-EEA partner entry clearance] cases that had been refused and involved children in the UK”
“I am a British citizen and ... my partner is Albanian... My baby is now two months old and an absolute joy to me. His father has only seen him via Skype. I’m now struggling to manage the final year of my degree on my own with a newborn.”
(Individual submission, East England)
“Coram Children’s Legal Centre was contacted by a family divided by the new family migration rules.
The mother is a non-EU citizen who is currently abroad and her husband and two sons, aged just five months and 18 months, all British citizens, are in the UK. The separation means that the mother has had to stop breastfeeding her five-month-old baby”
“The reason why the rule changes impacts us, as British citizens, is because we have a 25-year-old son who... recently married a [non-EEA national] girl.
They are expecting their first child-our first grandchild.
The new rules affect us because they make it harder for them to settle in the UK in the future to the point where they may be put off altogether.
Such a situation will potentially deny us the precious opportunity to see our grandchild grow up in this country.”
(Individual submission, North-East England)
PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that “[t]he alternative route to meeting the threshold – demonstrating income from non-employment sources and savings, is rigorous and ... can be beyond applicants, including those high income earners and those with substantial investments”
“In practice X earned over the £18,600 prescribed for a spousal application...However, because X worked on a rolling short-term contract, his predicted annual gross income at the point of application was lower than the amount he would ultimately receive for that year. In order for X to meet the necessary gross salary, he was required to (legitimately) contract with three separate employers on three new fixed te m contracts. The total combined earnings totaled around £14,000 leaving a shortfall of over £4,000... X then had to find savings of over £26,000 to meet the requirements”
(Fragomen LLP submission).
Individual submissions also objected to the restriction on combining cash savings with income from self-employment, with one individual saying that he “could not understand why self- employed people would be singled out in this way
PWC reported that ”[t]he new requirement does not take into consideration the non-EEA applicants who are high income earners and can support their families in a lifestyle which would not require their UK sponsor to be in employment”
A submission made by an MP for a Yorkshire constituency reported that, in the case of one of his constituents, family support “would have ensured that there would have been no recourse to public funds”
My daughter [British]and her [non-EEA national] husband decided after being together for 4 years that they wanted to have a child and move to the UK so that she could have a baby near to her family...
We have a large house with plenty of room for [them] and we expect them to stay with us until they get jobs, a house etc. We can support them in the meantime.”
(Individual submission, North West England)
ILPA reported that “[u]nder the new rules, form is valued over substance...
The inflexible evidential requirements exclude many who are able to support themselves without recourse to public funds, including many persons in higher income brackets”
“a self-employed sponsor must provide more than 10 specific documents evidencing income”
The new requirement that relatives are ‘unable even with the practical and financial help of a sponsor to obtain a required level of care in the country where they are living because either it is not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it or it is not affordable’ appears to have made it particularly difficult for an adult dependent application to succeed
“My current salary is well over GBP 100,000, and I am a practicing solicitor in the City of London. I have a five-bedroom house, which I purchased with a view to getting my widowed mother to come live with me...
There is no reason for her not to be here, other than the fact that she is another number. There is no burden on the public purse-she is retired, not seeking employment and I have the means to support her and provide for her fully.” (Individual
submission, East England)
“[w]e have found that potential sponsors (those wanting to bring in an elderly parent) find it incomprehensible that if their parent has resources of their own, this makes the application more likely to fail”
“We are effectively being told by the current Government to abandon my mother left widowed, and that she has to be ‘vegetating’ before her entry to the UK can be even considered.”
(Individual submission, Scotland)
One individual described how the rules had placed UK sponsors in an “impossible, inhumane position”
(Individual submission, London)
“I am a British citizen, and work as consultant forensic psychiatrist in Singapore. I am 44 years old, and at the peak of my career...
Prior to leaving the UK in July 2011, I was working as a full time consultant in the NHS in North West England. I relocated to Singapore because it allowed my parent s to stay with me...
Now my sister and her family are also considering relocating here so that the family could be together.”
“[t]he only option left with British citizens, to be able to live with and care for their dependent parents, is to emigrate”
(Individual submission, Scotland).
“I am a US citizen... about to become a naturalised UK citizen... I am the only child of my elderly parents, who are in declining health in the US ... The recent change in the rules for elderly dependents means that I now face an unbelievable choice, and one that I never imagined I would be forced to make: abandon my parents at a time of crucial need, or abandon my life in the UK to look after my parents.” (Individual submission, South East England)