“My poor boys. First their mummy leaves them and now their daddy. They don't deserve this.”
Situation: Married for 6 years, has 2 children with his wife, Molly. Doesn’t meet the income criteria, so having to be a single parent. A new job which would satisfy the income criteria means he is travelling a lot and therefore unable to live with his kids. What does this mean? A British husband apart from his wife and children. British children forced to live apart from their mummy and daddy...
British citizen, Andy, has been happily married for six years, and he and his wife, from China, have been patiently waiting for him to find the golden job paying £18,600 so that they can once again be reunited as a family.
This has proven to be extremely difficult, despite his qualifications and experience, and so this law abiding and devoted couple have been forced to separate, leaving Andy to act as a single parent to their two infant children in Somerset. There are no words to fully convey the stress this family has been under, with Andy trying to find a well-paid job that will, hopefully, reunite his family.
|The family the night before Molly left the UK|
During Molly’s last visit Andy wrote to MP David Laws asking if there was any way he could help extend Molly’s stay, because Andy stood more chance of finding a high-paying job if she were here looking after the children. David did not reply and so Molly returned to China, rather than overstay her visa.
Two weeks later Andy received a letter from Mark Harper, Minister for Immigration, claiming Molly attempted to deceive UKBA by visiting her husband & children:
‘If the immigration officer at port of entry had known this, she would have been refused entry on this basis’.
This is because apparently she should have applied for a spouse visa rather than a visitor visa; however, at that time, they were genuinely only intending to visit for a family reunion as Andy’s brother was visiting the UK at that time with his Canadian wife and their newborn daughter.
Despite leaving UK within the six months allowed under a visitor visa, by applying as a visitor rather than a spouse, according to Mark Harper, Molly ‘deceived’ the UK Border Agency, and this alleged deception means that she cannot visit UK for ten years, even though she has proved she is not an 'over-stayer'. David Laws confirmed that Harper's stamp of deception would remain in Molly’s file, leaving this poor couple to face the reality that they would remain separated unless and until Andy could find a high paying job.
They all miss each other so much and while there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel, with Andy receiving a job offer paying over the threshold (which should in theory qualify him to sponsor Molly six months down the line), it raises location and their children as major issues. So, the family faces further heartbreak over the next six months.
The job is in Cornwall, 3 hours away from home in Somerset where the boys are settled in school and playgroup. As his job involves travelling, Andy would need a live-in child-carer. He can’t cope with the thought of another person taking the place of his sweetheart and the children's mummy – another woman the kids would be looking up to as a mum.
Taking everything into account they have decided that the boys should stay with their grandparents temporarily, while Andy is working and until a better solution can be found. Andy will see them as many weekends as possible, but he won't be able to spend the school holidays with them, read them a bedtime story, tuck them into bed or be there to soothe away any nightmares.
Andy’s job began in late October and so, exactly six months later, on his eldest child’s sixth birthday, the couple believes they should qualify to begin the application process for a spouse visa. By this time the family will have spent nearly 8 months apart; including Christmas, and all their birthdays.
The children have already stopped attempting to speak Chinese and it breaks Andy’s heart that his kids are losing their heritage and that memories are being created without their mother being a part of them.
If Molly was here, they’d be moving to Cornwall together, as a strong happy family, but instead they’re being split up in a scenario reminiscent of Australia’s Stolen Generation – a disastrous episode in that country's history. Have we learnt nothing from past mistakes?
Andy is tired and desperately sad, yet somehow finding the energy to stay strong.
“I miss my wife so much and feel so heartbroken for her having to explain to friends, family, neighbours and colleagues, why she cannot be with her loving husband and sweet little boys. She’s so brave, so patient and trusting that someday we’ll be reunited. I’m so very proud of her.”
Who with a modicum of decency could break up this family? British MPs could and therefore do.
|With the 8 hour time difference the boys only get to Skype their mummy at weekends. A clearly demoralised Andy says: “Devon (3) now calls us ‘Computer Mummy and Daddy’”|
UPDATE: Molly successfully applied for the spouse visa relying on Andy's income. The family is now reunited and living in Bath. The kids are very happy to have their mummy there for real-life cuddles.