An open letter to Theresa May, from someone affected by the rules.
Dear Rt Hon Theresa May MP,
Dear Rt Hon Theresa May MP,
Family Immigration Rules
'I am writing to request that you reconsider the new, harsher, family immigration rules which were introduced in 2012. I have personally been affected and have found myself effectively having to choose a life outside of my home country with my Fijian husband, away from my family, friends and job prospects, or to come back to the UK without my husband in order to find work over the income threshold for six months and then wait a further three months for a decision to be made.
'I am a recent Masters graduate, having gained a Distinction from Oxford Brookes University in December '2012. I will have no trouble at all in gaining work over the income threshold when coming back to the UK, and I have applied for jobs and received invites to interview for jobs way over the income requirement. I wish to work in the UK and I loathe feeling like my hard gained skills are being wasted by being here, in Fiji, where I am not legally able to work or volunteer as a spouse for three years. My parents have asked if they can sponsor us by providing some money for our first couple of months and a place to live rent free. They were shocked that this is not allowed under the new rules – the rules are not reflecting the reality of how families support each other.
'My husband and I were married two months ago, after meeting in 2008 and having been together for the the last two years. I visited him on numerous occasions, this time for seven months, and the time apart was a strain on our relationship, but necessary as I pursued a Masters degree to secure our future. My husband has been employed ever since he left school, would not accept social security benefits and wishes to fully contribute to the UK economy. We are now faced with spending the first year of our married life apart as we try to fulfill the requirements to come to the UK as a couple. The thought of more time apart makes me despair, and I have started to experience some negative impacts on my mental health as a result of the worry.
'I was shocked to discover that if I was an EEA national I would be able to bring my non-EEA spouse to the UK to live and work, by just filling in some paperwork, showing simple supporting documentation, and paying no fee whatsoever for the privilege. How can this be a fair system, when I am a well qualified UK national and I wish to live in my own country with my husband?
'I realise that you are very busy, and a gatekeeper is likely to divert this message elsewhere before you have a chance to read it, but being here, away from home, it seems like the best way to show how frustrated I am with the new rules. We are good people, in a genuine relationship, and I want to come back home. I didn't know that when I fell in love with someone outside of the EEA I would face these barriers to spending our lives together. I am requesting that you fully consider the implications these rules are having on normal people, just like us.'