“We will not stop fighting for the right to be together.”
Amy is a 20 year old British citizen. She is married to Sean, 23 years old and South African.
They met in 2009 when Amy went over to South Africa for the wedding of a British friend, marrying
a South African.
a South African.
Amy and Sean had a long-distance relationship until 2010, when she decided to join Sean in South Africa where they lived together until May 2012. Amy is very close to her family back home though and returned to the UK every few months to see them.
Whilst in South Africa, Amy witnessed countless violent situations, deaths and several incidents where even her home was broken into by intruders with weapons.
Although all this was a normal occurrence for Sean, for Amy it was difficult to reconcile this with the relative safety in the UK, or have this as an environment where she was happy raising any children they may have.
The violence affected Amy on a fundamental level. She started to refuse to leave the house. She’d only sleep during the day when she felt safer.
It got bad enough that Sean noticed and began to fear that something would happen to his wife, who was only in the country for him.
So in May 2012 the couple moved to the UK. Sean had been to the UK twice before; in June 2011 and December 2011.
On 23rd June 2012 Amy and Sean married in a beautiful ceremony attended by Amy’s family.
Directly after the wedding, they began job hunting, for it was once Amy had a job that they’d be able to apply for a spouse visa for Sean. However in July 2012 the rules changed mandating a minimum income level beyond anything that Amy alone would be able to achieve.
It was not possible for Amy to return to South Africa – she just wasn’t coping there. The idea of moving back left her in cold sweats and with severe anxiety. Sean naturally refused to take steps which would put his wife in harm's way.
The couple sought advice from Kings Court Chambers and through them, applied for Discretionary Leave to Remain for Sean. With their application in November 2012, they included Amy’s psychology report, showing she had been diagnosed with a very high form of PTSD.
Amy was feeling positive, getting the application together. It was a step towards being with her husband, in her home country, where she felt safe.
Until July 2013, nearly nine months later, they received the refusal decision. They were devastated. Accompanied with the refusal letter, clearly a copy and paste job, the Home Office had stated that though they realised it would cause the couple hardship, they could easily return to South Africa and continue their life there.
Amy is currently in a government funded apprenticeship position with the promise of a managerial position at the end of her training. She fought for this position and if she loses it, she won't get it again, and she would never get an opportunity like this in South Africa.
Sean has good qualifications in music, having had a successful music career in South Africa. He is fluent in English and has a decent amount of savings which due to being unable to work even during the application process have been somewhat eroded.
He is eminently employable though and has a deep seated willingness to work.
They have sought help from their local MP, Sir James Paice, who has also written a letter in support of their situation to the Home Office. However the couple continues to wait.
Sean refuses to leave his wife. Amy refuses to let Sean go.
The couple has vowed to fight for as long as they can for the right to be together.