David & Bang
“We are aware many applications despite satisfying all requirements are being refused for trivial or erroneous reasons.”
David is a British citizen married to Bang from China. Their experience of the Home Office has not been positive, with nearly 15 months being taken to make a decision on Bang’s earlier application for leave to remain in the UK.
Bang submitted over 15 supporting letters from human rights organisations, universities, artists and writers. However, the application was refused despite the fact that the nature of her work touches on politically sensitive issues in China. The Home Office also ignored the fact that Bang had been a victim of domestic violence from her ex-husband in the UK who kicked her out after just six months.
Bang got by and undertook menial jobs. She took pride in the fact that she supported herself as a Chinese writer and documentary filmmaker; as a freelance translator for a watch company, with a film workshop in a German university and invited to present at British Film Institute and Free Word Centre. Commissions from journalism work rolled in and Bang volunteered at Chinese Information & Advice Centre in London, providing support to domestic violence victims and refugee seekers. Her language skills and personal experience were put to good use to help others.
Two years later David and Bang met. They don’t understand why the UKBA thinks immigrants are only here to take advantage of the UK benefit system. Bang has never claimed benefits in her life, and as a non-EEA person is unable to claim benefits anyway.
They will never forget the day they received the previous visa refusal. It was on David's birthday. The couple was devastated. Having to rely on the compassion of an ultra-suspicious government simply to be able to live with the person you love is a lamentable, exhausting and an utterly depressing experience.
They overcame this and went on to making plans to get married – formalisation of their relationship would surely satisfy the Home Office they thought. David has a flying phobia; not having been on a plane for 15 years. However he agreed to take a 12 hour flight to China to marry Bang with her family present.
The couple does not struggle financially; they lived together comfortably on David's income from a permanent job, well over £18,600. They have their own flat, sufficient savings and Bang also sold her flat in China to minimise the mortgage.
However the couple is worried. They are aware many applications - despite satisfying all requirements - are being refused for minor or erroneous reasons.
David has returned to England as he has no holiday left, and Bang is in China waiting for the decision on her visa. The couple has been waiting since 14th June 2013. Neither can relax because of the constant worry of Bang not being able to return home and the anxiety of not being rich enough to satisfy the UK government’s excessive requirements to safeguard their future.