"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Lizzie & Alexander

Lizzie & Alexander

“I’m angry, hurt and upset. I meet the financial requirements yet they rejected my husband’s application..this is clearly discrimination against women.”

Lizzie is a British citizen. Her husband Alexander, is a doctor from Ecuador. They have been living together for four and a half years in Chile, married for two of these years.

They married in June 2011 in UK, in Lizzie’s local church, before returning to Chile where Lizzie worked as a financial consultant and Alexander eventually as a consulting doctor. Their daughter was born in February 2012 following which they decided to relocate to UK to be close to Lizzie’s family and ensure their daughter benefited from a British education.

They submitted Alexander’s application in November 2012 and then…nothing. No emails, no calls, no news. In February 2013, Lizzie and her daughter returned to the UK expecting Alexander would follow not long after. However, in March 2013, Lizzie complained about the delay to WorldBridge. The response received further to the complaint was a refusal.

The couple has been apart for several months already. Father and daughter have been apart for the same length of time. The family is missing out on sharing precious moments..precious ‘first’ moments. Stolen moments that will never return.

What makes the situation worse is that Lizzie’s income in Chile combined with her cash savings in the UK, this family actually meets UKBA’s financial requirement. Yet UKBA was able to manufacture a reason to refuse the couple, stating Lizzie had not continued employment for the six month period prior to the application since her income was from maternity payments i.e. that maternity pay was not evidence of continuous employment. This is despite Lizzie having sent a certificate signed by her employer in Chile stating her continued employment.

UKBA said Lizzie had not shown evidence of her savings. This despite her having submitted bank statements, although she admits they were a few months older – an ISA which only sends out statements on an annual basis and premium bond statements which were first sent to Lizzie’s parents' home and then sent across to Chile. But the money was there and she did the best she could to obtain evidence of her UK savings UK from Chile, while also juggling recent motherhood.

Lizzie is furious that rules which clearly discriminate against women are in place…rules which systematically penalise women, for having kids, for adopting the traditional role of homemaker, for sacrificing their career to care for their family...for being women who historically and statistically are paid less than men.

Legal advice obtained has indicated that Alexander will not even qualify for a visitor’s visa now as he has displayed an intent to live in the UK. So the only way for this family to see each other again is for Lizzie to travel to Ecuador, on a 15+ hour flight with one year old. She cannot remain there as she is employed in the UK – she wants to ensure she does not jeopardise her income levels here lest she lose her appeal. So she is juggling childcare and employment.

Yet Lizzie believes the real victim of these unfair rules – rules which should be illegal – is her daughter. The Geneva Convention was created to protect families from exactly this sort of abuse. Her daughter only sees her daddy through Skype for an hour each day and her mother is constantly stressed, tired and struggling.

This is not how their little family was. They were so happy.

Lizzie never thought this would happen to her. She never dreamed a British system could get things so badly wrong. Her faith in British democracy and justice has been misplaced; her family torn apart just so politicians can say they’re being "tough on immigration" whatever the cost. She is upset that families of British citizens are being used as scapegoats for a bemusing political agenda. She’s hurt that her country has let her down. She is angry that there is no one who is going to be held accountable for the misery caused.

With a further 3-9 months separation Lizzie is having difficulty focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel. She is desperate for the rules to change – to change now, not after the next election.


  1. My sympathies ... having had the same happen to us - my husband of 46 years is a US citizen and a "smug suit" at the US Embassy in London denied me permanent resident status 4 years ago because Roger's USAF pension wasn't enough for me not to become a "burden on the state" ... these sneering little jobsworths are from all over; they are nothing but wield power ... I do not think I want to be denied again and am permitted to visit our family ... red tape will strangle all honest folk but oh! hey let us allow people with no intention of ever paying their way in by the shedloads because they are in the EU ...

  2. This is absolutely heart wrenching. I thought that the issues that my fiance and I have been experiencing was tough but this is terrible. I feel for the family and more specifically, the child. My fiance has a two year degree from America (UK Citizen) and has been unsuccessful with finding a job that can pay the 18,600 per year. I've got a Bachelor's and have been unsuccessful with gaining employment for jobs that I've been over-qualified for as the government has restricted all Visas it seems. Its a catch 22 in that I have to have a work visa to work and a job to provide a work visa. In America, all you have to do for income is provide that you can afford to support the amount of people you are sponsoring and that it is above the poverty line. Its upsetting and I understand the overall purpose of the requirement but it does hurt so many families.