“Poor immigration rules which lead to breaking up of families, will only keep away highly skilled migrants and economic contributors.”
Shailendra is a British resident living with his wife and child, both also British residents. Both Shailendra and his wife are high earners; they pay their taxes and contribute to National Insurance.
Shailendra came here on a Highly Skilled Visa (Tier 1) and has been working hard ever since - yes to earn a decent salary to better his own quality of life - but also contributing to the British economy – all without claiming any benefits.
All three members of this family satisfy the requirements needed to obtain British citizenship. They have living here for several years now and are looking forward to spending the rest of their lives here, having already established their home.
However, they want their dependant and ageing parents, currently in India, to live with them, in order to be able to take care of them, whilst also living as complete a family life as possible. Culturally, it is the norm for children to look after ageing parents personally, rather than outsource the care.
Shailendra’s parents are not jumping over themselves to move to the UK. Leaving India and all that is familiar to them, is not an easy decision. However they are only willing to do this so that Shailendra does not have to sacrifice his family, career, friends and home in the UK. However, the settlement visa regulations for parents is making Shailendra re-consider his future.
Shailendra’s roots are in India, a country known for its rich culture and close ties with UK. However, what UK completely misses out in understanding, is the close relationship that Indian children share with their parents. Parents are an integral part of family anywhere, but especially in Asia the definition of family includes "parents, spouse and children".
Shailendra really misses this ‘complete family’. His child, just like Shailendra himself, shares a very strong bond with the grandparents, both over 60 and financially dependant on Shailendra.
They need care due to their age related health issues and just sending money is not enough as it defies the purpose of living together as a family, which is - "to support each other in every stage of life".
Most importantly, Shailendra wants to spend his life with his parents, care for them, and provide them the same opportunity to live and develop closer bonds with his kids as they would have got in India or anywhere else.
Shailendra is bemused. He is self-sufficient, does not require any public funds and has the means to look after his parents without any help. He is willing to sign a waiver for his own access to state funds, provide a guarantee or deposit or bonds, and take private healthcare cover for his parents to alleviate any such fears this government might have nonetheless.
But it seems that the government has completely overlooked a very important aspect of immigration, thus forcing him to consider leaving the UK just to be able to reunite with his parents.
With Shailendra will go his taxes, his disposable income and his skills. Indeed, he is already
being approached by agencies for roles in Germany and Ireland. With Shailendra will go his wife and child, and the latter’s right to a British education and upbringing.
However, he doesn’t want to leave his home, however lucrative other offers are. He cannot believe that he has to go into exile just because the UK government cannot understand the value of a very simple family relationship and definition of "family member".
Shailendra is aware that by exercising treaty rights he may be able to return to the UK with his parents using the Surinder Singh route. This most of all strikes him as bizarre.
Several months of unsettling his life in UK, uprooting his child, leaving his job – all because he wants to live in the UK with his parents, without recourse to public funds. All just to be able to live once again in the UK with his parents,.
Rather than denying people their rights in this country the government should make it fairer and possible to reunite family members – the value it brings to the community is priceless.
Else, poor immigration rules will only keep away highly skilled migrants and economic contributors, which UK desperately needs if we are to compete in the global environment with countries like USA, Australia, India, China, Germany and Russia.
More stories about elderly dependants : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/elderly%20dependants
BMA - 'Family migration rules lack 'basic common sense' : http://bma.org.uk/news-views-analysis/news/2013/june/family-migration-rules-lack-basic-common-sense