“I hope the rules change so families can stop being split up.”
Aneela is a British citizen, born and bred in the UK.
She has been a single parent raising a beautiful little boy on her own for the last six years. After her divorce Aneela had vowed she would never marry again; love, she decided, wasn’t for her.
However, on holiday in Pakistan in 2012, staying with her nan and cousins, she met her now husband during an Eid celebration. Aneela had actually met him many times before, but never spoken to him.
They then met for every day of Aneela’s stay in Pakistan. He acted as Aneela’s tour guide, showing her sites in Pakistan she would not have been able to go to alone. Aneela extended her one month stay by another two weeks to prolong their time together, and then extended it yet again.
It was soon clear to Aneela and her family that what had started as a friendship was now developing into something much more serious. Aneela’s family was not keen. They thought things were being rushed and tried to keep the couple apart. However, love knows no boundaries. Aneela married the man she loved in secret. In him seeing the good role model and father she wanted for her son, as well as a good husband for herself.
Aneela was risking the displeasure of her family with this relationship, but she knew in her bones this was the man who made her family complete.
She returned to the UK looking for a job paying over the required £18,600. However it took six months to do so, and in that time Aneela found herself disowned by her family. Her husband was being told by all and sundry that he could do better than Aneela, a divorced single mother.
However the couple stuck by each other. Aneela returned to Pakistan where they had an official marriage ceremony with her in-laws present. To Aneela’s surprise and pleasure, her in-laws have accepted her and her son, and they speak on the phone every day.
Now Aneela works two jobs to make ends meet, with Aneela’s sister and her friends helping out with babysitting.
Aneela desperately hopes the immigration rules change so families can stop being separated.