"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

'Neighbours' to highlight difficulty of getting a British spouse visa in coming few weeks? Interesting...

http://www.thesoapshow.com/soaps/neighbours.htm

'Zeke reveals he’s engaged to marry Vic, a British woman he met in London. They both caution against a hasty union, which is exactly what Zeke had feared. He reveals marriage is the only way to ensure Zeke gets a visa to permanently stay in London with Vic. Reminding them of their promise to support him - Susan and Karl meet Vic and give the happy couple their blessing.'

My own Buddha

http://wangbangy.tumblr.com/

Wang Bang : A Chinese writer torn apart from her husband by UKBA








David and Bang's story :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/david-bang-we-are-aware-many.html

'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.'

Bang's interrogation :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/account-of-interview-in-british-embassy.html

David and Bang's petition - please sign :
https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/uk-border-agency-overturn-my-wife-s-spouse-visa-refusal-and-allow-her-to-return-to-the-uk

More :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/bang
WELCOME NEWS: Liberal Democrats endorse a fairer family immigration policy

The Liberal Democrat policy paper 'Making Migration Work for Britain: For a stronger economy and a fairer society' can be read here :
http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/libdems/pages/4138/attachments/original/1392840151/116_-_Making_Migration_Work_for_Britain.pdf?1392840151

The paper contains multiple welcome and progressive policy positions - music to my ears, in fact, after years of negative rhetoric.

Excerpts below :

Page 26 :
'However the tighter rules have restricted the ability of some British citizens to live in the UK with their partner and families and created important areas of friction for migrant communities. They are affected by family separation, of husbands and wives, and from elderly parents living in their home countries. Recent changes to the Immigration Rules including the increased financial thresholds for the granting of ‘leave to remain’ have put historic expectations of reunion out of reach. There is also the significant issue of short-term visits for holidays and family events some, such as funerals, occurring at very short notice that the visa system can frustrate. It is important to address those legitimate concerns. '

On the income requirement :

'... However the current rule means that many residents in full time employment at,or above, the minimum wage have been unable to bring their partner or children to the UK. It sets a standard that 47% of the UK population would fail to meet, and has even caused children to be separated from their parents. '

'For these reasons we agree with the recommendation of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration that this income level should be re-examined. '

On job offers and employability of the foreign spouse :

'... However at present any offer of employment the partner may have in the UK, any likely employment, or their earnings in their home country is completely discounted. In previous advice to the Government the MAC reported that it would be understandable if these factors were allowed to be considered. In the context of our proposed reforms to the entire visa handling system, outlined in the Getting the Basics Right chapter, we believe that such a discretionary power should be given to the decision-maker. '

On elderly dependants :

'The changes made to the Immigration Rules in July 2012 went further, requiring dependent relatives to demonstrate that “as a result of age, illness or disability they require long term care to perform everyday tasks and are unable even with the practical and financial help of a sponsor to obtain a required level of care within the country they are living”.
As a result of this change only one visa was issued via this route between July and October 2012. Liberal Democrats believe it is right that migrants bringing elderly relatives to the country should be able to maintain and accommodate them without recourse to public funds. However the Immigration Rules must be fair and reasonable and not simply written to exclude all applicants... '

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Money well spent: Part II - Home Office paid Treasury Solicitors £93 MILLION since 2010

I'd like to make a request under the FOI Act for information on the total amount of money received by Treasury Solicitors from the Home Office in the years below, in terms of legal fees: 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013
and if available, to date for the year 2013-14 (or an estimate).

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/legal_fees_10#comment-49460 &
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/202302/response/505582/attach/html/2/RM%2021%2014%20Final.docx.html

'I am responding to your request of 16 March 2014, which asked for the total amount of money in terms of legal fees that Treasury Solicitors received from the Home Office, for the financial years 2010-11 until 2013-14.

'The total amount of fees received from the Home Office for the time periods covered are listed below:

Fees (Excluding VAT)

2010-11 £17,598,617

2011-12 £17,728,218

2012-13 £19,539,871

2013-14 £22,374,704

£17,598,617 + £17,728,218, £19,539,871 + £22,374,704 = £77,241,410
Plus VAT = £92,689,692

Money well spent?

Note that the Home Office cited cost reasons not to provide a full answer, but the Treasury Solicitors had no problems doing this. #joinedupgovernment
Money well spent: Part I- Home Office spent over £21 MILLION in legal fees in 2010-2011

How much money did the Home Office spend on legal costs in the year 2010 - 2011?

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/198997/response/508822/attach/3/31126%20Response.pdf

'I apologise for the delay in replying.

'Your request has been handled as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

'I can confirm that the Home Office paid £17,598,617 (excluding VAT) in relation to legal fees to Treasury Solicitors for the financial year 2010 - 2011. However, it is not possible to provide any further information at a cost below the £600 limit. This is because the information requested is not held centrally. During 2010 - 11 the Home Office and its bodies used different accounting systems. It would therefore be necessary to conduct a manual search of our databases and file records to find the information requested.

£17,598,617 plus VAT = £21,118,340.40. 

Money well spent?

Many millions spent on legal fees, but a £600 search is too much. Strange world we live in.
Photos from the 'Love Letters to the Home Office' book launch

... are on the Facebook event page :
https://www.facebook.com/events/1585236218367667/permalink/1595851813972774/

Take a look!

Reading a love letter to the Home Office  : https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203273025080463
Immigration Law Practitioners' Association: Information Sheet: EU Free Movement: 'Surinder Singh' cases

http://www.ilpa.org.uk/resources.php/26070/information-sheet-eu-free-movement-surinder-singh-cases

'Ever since a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (then called the ‘European Court of Justice’) in 1992 known as the Surinder Singh case1, nationals of countries in the European Economic Area (EEA)2 and their non-EEA family members have been able to rely on European free movement rules when returning from another European State to their home country. If the EEA national has been “exercising EU Treaty rights” in the other country (for example by working or studying) then they will gain the right to bring their family members back to their home State with them, and will not have to meet requirements of domestic immigration laws.

'This information sheet discusses recent judgments from the Court of Justice of the European Union which have clarified the scope of the Surinder Singh route to family reunion and may have an impact on the UK’s domestic rules in this regard...'
Families will do what they need to do to be together






https://twitter.com/BritCits/status/392288310833332225

Monday, 28 April 2014

Kelly, victim of abuse, detained in Yarl's Wood

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/nick-clegg-do-not-breach-kelly-s-human-right-to-family-life-with-the-people-she-loves

'Kelly La Vaux was kept a virtual prisoner and abused for 29 years of her life. After escaping the US she sought to seek refuge with the only people she trusts; her fiancee Darren and family. However after being misled repeatedly by the home office Kelly's future remains uncertain. She is threatened with removal from the UK on 11th May back to a country she no longer feels safe and has any ties to. Kelly needs your help. Please sign the petition to allow Kelly to remain in the UK and have what she's always wanted; people that love and support her.'

Via https://twitter.com/followMFJ

 
Dominic Self writes on 'Love Letters to the Home Office'

http://dominicself.co.uk/blog/item/2014/04/love-letters-to-the-home-office/

'Tonight I was invited by Abbi to join the book launch of Love Letters to the Home Office, a collection of stories about families kept apart by the UK’s 2012 immigration laws. These reforms mandate a minimum income of almost £19,000 before you can begin to get your partner or your family home.

'As it happens, I do know a little of what it’s like to say goodbye to someone you love at an airport, knowing that you have no legal right to stay in the same place together.

'But that is nothing compared to the stories in this book...'
Cutting crew


Outside the Home Office - leafletting and promoting 'Love Letters to the Home Office'.

'Downing St cop on being told of £18600 asked: 'whats money got to do with it' in rgds to price tag for Brits staying in UK with non EEA partner.' - https://twitter.com/BritCits/status/460863956446642176

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Create Equal Human Rights for everyone in the UK

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/david-cameron-equal-uk-human-rights

The petition of the book.

'Since 2012, people in the UK have no longer had the same human rights as each other.  Our human rights, and lack of them, are now based on our income.

'Your ability to be with the person you love depends, if you are from different countries, on how much money you earn - even if you have enough to support you both....'

Launch event tomorrow - details of it and the book are here :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/please-join-us-for-official-launch-of.html
https://www.facebook.com/lovelettershome

Also please read :

We call on you to create a Home Office Visas and Immigration Section that works

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/david-cameron-we-call-on-you-to-create-a-home-office-visas-and-immigration-section-that-works

'When we started the Love Letters to the Home Office project it was because of the effects of one particular law that we believe violates the human rights that The Home Office Visas and Immigration Section is entrusted to uphold. As we gathered stories of those who have been affected by the unfair Family Migration law of 2012, we realised that no one we encountered, including ourselves, had had a positive experience of dealing with the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section. The themes were the same – confusion, frustration, inefficiency and delays. But worst of all is an overriding impression that the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section is not objective, respectful or accountable to the people it serves...'


Read about why Abbi decided to get involved with the campaign :
http://wherethewildthingsare14.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/love-letters-to-the-home-office/

Stop putting a price tag on love and rights to be a family in the UK

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/upper-tribunal-stop-putting-a-price-tag-on-love-and-rights-to-be-a-family-in-the-uk



Lyndsey and Tom's campaign to keep their family together. Please do sign their petition.

Lyndsey writes :

'For my family, changing these rules would mean that Tom is able to stay here in the UK to provide both financially and emotionally for his family, and to be a full time dad to our three-year old daughter Alara.

'Our second daughter could arrive any day and instead of embracing the joy of our family becoming four of us, we spend everyday on countdown to the Home Office's decision to make him leave and return to Turkey.

'Please sign this and help us to keep our family together and to help change the rules so other families don't suffer as we are.'

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Good news - campaigning and perserverance pay off for Stephen and Yilei

Via Facebook:
'We won at last, they have 5 days to appeal but is unlikely. Thanks everyone for your support and friendship - been tough but we got there in the end.'

Great news - well done!



Theresa May, let her stay :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/theresa-may-let-her-stay-httpswww.html

Stephen and Yilei's story :

http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/stephen-yilei-we-dont-claim-benefits.html

Facebook campaign :
https://www.facebook.com/saveYilei

Petition :
http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/teresa-may-dont-force-my-babies-mother-to-leave-the-uk


More good news stories : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/a%20good%20day
Petition : Allow unconditional permanent right of residence in U.K. to parents of all U.K. Citizens - not just to those within EEA countries

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/rt-hon-theresa-may-mp-allow-unconditional-permanent-right-of-residence-in-u-k-to-parents-of-all-u-k-citizens-not-just-to-those-within-eea-countries

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Please come to the official launch of the Love Letters to the Home Office book.

With stories from the book, insights from immigration experts and activists and a manifesto. 



Details from the organisers below :

Launch event: this Monday 28th April!

The launch day schedule is as follows:

5pm-6pm We meet at the Home Office (2 Marsham Street) and deliver love letters, copies of the book and the current petition.
Here's a link to the petition for those interested in signing:

6pm We walk the 3.2 miles to the launch, past the Royal Courts of Justice and finish at the launch venue in Angel. En route distribute handouts to the general public with a love story on one side and what they can do to get involved on the other side. 

7.15pm-9.15pm Launch event at Coffeeworks project in Angel.

During the event, speeches will happen, and 3 separate readings of a limited number of stories will take place.

There will be an online event at the same time so all those involved who are not able to be present at the launch can attend the online launch... And thus be together that way. :) 

Please rsvp to katharine@lovelettershome.org letting us know if you are able to be at either the online event or the London event, and if you are available, coming to the Home Office for 5pm, which will make a massive difference.  (If you are not in London, you might consider going to your local British Embassy or another government building to deliver your love letter.)

This is an open event and you are invited to bring as many guests as you wish, just let me know numbers.

We are looking for someone with a good fast internet connection who is internet-savvy to host the online event.  If you are interested in being that person, please let me know.  


Love Letters available on the Amazon site


Don't worry about the fact that Amazon is currently saying 'out of stock'.  The book is set up to print on demand, so as soon as you order a copy, it will be printed for you!  (Also, the title currently is displaying incorrectly ("loveletters" rather than the correct two-word "Love Letters") and they aren't yet displaying our beautiful book cover.  Those issues will be ironed out next week.  

The book is priced at £4.50, so that as many people as possible can read it, without cost being a factor.  

We encourage people to consider buying copies to send to a local MP, newspaper editor, etc and enclosing a personal letter too.  Sharing our stories with individuals can make a massive difference.  (The reason that Love Letters was in the Guardian and Newsnight are currently filming some of you is because I shared about our project with people at work and at my friend's birthday party.  The more we talk about this, the more we create change.)


- Katharine


 
Facebook event - please share :
https://www.facebook.com/events/1585236218367667/

Love Letters to the Home Office :
http://lovelettershome.org/

Previously :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/love-letters-to-home-office-loveletters.html

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Syrian dad appeals to British Foreign Office to reunite him with his son

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/04/20/syrian-dad-appeals-to-british-foreign-office-to-reunite-him-with-his-son/

'Wael Zain, a Syrian living and working in London, has turned to Twitter to draw attention to the plight of his five-year-old son, Maudh, who holds a British nationality, and who has been stranded in Syria for three years.


Wael has not seen his son in three years :



'In a series of tweets, Zain explains that his son, whom he claims was recently shot at, is with his mother in a village in Deraa, and needs medical attention. He also claims that the British Foreign Office has turned a deaf ear to his ordeal. '




Follow Wael :
https://twitter.com/Wael_Zain

This situation is very similar to Christine's and Ziad's (now happily reunited) :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/ziad

... and Shafik's and Nusrin's :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/shafik

... this is a disturbing trend and questions must be asked here - the embassy must act in the interests of the British citizen.

Monday, 21 April 2014


"Them" and "Us": The damaging rhetoric of immigration 

Guest post by Judith Vonberg

Where do we get our ideas about other nationalities, other religious groups, other ethnicities? It’s a complex question with no less complex answers. My current research looks at British and German popular culture just after the Second World War. I wanted to know what ideas about the former enemy were in circulation in each culture and how those ideas changed as the conflict retreated.

I’ve recently made a curious discovery. The ideas about Germans that dominated popular culture and popular opinion in the 1950s are strikingly similar to the ideas and opinions currently dominating British views about migrants.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Good news: Home Office reverses decision to refuse visa to Jamaican woman wanting to donate kidney to brother

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/home-office-reverses-decision-to-refuse-visa-to-jamaican-woman-wanting-to-donate-kidney-to-brother-9272345.html

'The Home Office has reversed its controversial decision to refuse a visa to a woman who wanted to come to Britain to donate a kidney to her seriously ill brother.


'Politicians, religious leaders, migrants’ groups and journalists had urged the department to allow the potentially life-saving visit to take place.

'Oliver Cameron, from north London, has been unable to work since suffering a near-fatal renal failure in 2012 and needs a kidney transplant to avoid daily dialysis.

'After his older sister, Keisha Rushton, was found to be compatible, the operation was arranged to take place last October.

'But when Ms Rushton, who lives in Jamaica, applied for a visa, it was rejected by the Home Office on the grounds that she might not return home.'

#KidneyVisa : https://twitter.com/search?q=%23KidneyVisa&src=hash&f=realtime

http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/kidneyvisa

.... “There is a fault if a system can’t allow compassion. I'm grateful the authorities have seen sense, but it’s been a long road to reach this decision.”

Saturday, 19 April 2014

"I fled my country because of the persecution I received because of my activism against FGM"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg5ilQaeu_U&index=2&list=PLtPw-Y91GlmWvO9wxMUW-Ey3eMY2vwWYZ



Via https://twitter.com/Refugees

BBC Newsnight : 'Fear of female genital mutilation (FGM) is grounds for seeking asylum in the UK, but campaigners say that hundreds of women have had such applications rejected. Newsnight's Sue Lloyd-Roberts spoke to two women from The Gambia whose applications failed, and travelled to their home country to test their cases on the ground.'

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23933437

Friday, 18 April 2014

Swedish plane passengers stop man's deportation by refusing the buckle seatbelts

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/04/15/swedish-plane-passengers-stop-mans-deportation-by-refusing-to-buckle-seatbelts

'A Kurd fearing persecution in his home country of Iran, Ghader Ghalamere fled the country years ago and now has two young children with his wife Fatemeh, a Swedish resident.

'As a result he qualifies for a residence permit himself – yet because of a quirk in immigration laws he is required to apply for it from outside Sweden.
'I served my country. Then it kicked me out.'

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/04/howard-dean-bailey-deported-i-served-my-country-and-then-it-kicked-me-out-105606.html#.U1GX5ldi1iA

An immigration nightmare from America, where deportations are running at record highs ( http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/obama-administration-tops-its-own-deportation-record/ ).

'I was a veteran, a father and husband and a small-business owner. Then I was deported. '

'I often think about Friday dinners with my family. Every Friday, no matter what, my wife and I took our two children out to eat; it was a ritual we looked forward to all week. We would sometimes try new restaurants, but my children’s favorite was the Olive Garden. My daughter loved to order Shirley Temples and my son always wanted whatever I was having, so I’d order two of the same meal for us.'
Politics.co.uk : Immigrant stories: The British citizen who was stripped of her passport

http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2014/04/17/immigrant-stories-the-british-citizen-whose-passport-was-con

'The holiday wasn't supposed to last long.

'Jean Gander had travelled back to Zambia, where she grew up, to visit family. She couldn't have known that 15 months later she would still be there.

'She is still there now, trapped with her two children in a bureaucratic nightmare....

[...]
Immigration tribunal told to reconsider allowing child needing heart operation to stay in UK

http://www.scottishlegal.com/index.asp?cat=NEWS&Type=Civil&newsID=61329#61329

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Petition: Please grant Oliver Cameron's sister Keisha Rushton a temporary visa to allow her to donate her already matched kidney to save her brother's life

http://goo.gl/FH21rF 

'UK Visas and Immigrant are refusing entry of a matched kidney donor for British citizen Oliver Cameron. Without a transplant Mr Cameron, who suffered from near fatal renal failure in December 2012 could expect to lose 12 to 20 years of life if he remains on dialysis.'

'When your kidneys fail your two options are dialysis or a transplant.  Dialysis is capable of about 10% of the work of a functioning kidney and because of its effects on the body can result in serious complications. Jamaican Keisha Rushton wants to give her brother the life changing donation of her kidney which will release him from the daily grind of renal dialysis.'



'Patients who receive a transplant typically live 12 to 20 years longer than dialysis patients.  Keisha Rushton is a matched living donor for her brother and is desperate to save his life.

'It is a brave decision for Ms Rushton to visit the UK to save the life of her brother, in addition to the typically 3 months time it takes for a kidney donor to recover assuming no complications, Keisha has a business, a fiancé, seven children and an elderly mother at home in Jamaica whom she needs to return to once this donation has been made.'

Previously -
#Kidneyvisa : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/kidneyvisa.html

The perfect kidney match - but not for the Home Office. Would you give up a kidney just to get into Britain? :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-perfect-transplant-match-but-not.html

Petition via https://twitter.com/HackneyAbbott

Also spotted on Twitter - 'It really comes to something when we have to petition to allow a kidney transplant to take place.'
Lesbian asylum-seeker sentenced to death
https://www.allout.org/en/actions/aderonke

'Aderonke's family was killed and she was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death in Nigeria – because she's a lesbian. She fled to safety in the UK.

'Now, they're trying to send her back into danger. Aderonke, like dozens of other LGBT asylum-seekers, is stuck in a process that the UK government has already admitted humiliates and abuses them. It doesn't work or protect anyone.

'But, if thousands of us speak out right now, we could get the Home Office to take the next step and halt the deportations. Will you sign the petition to Home Office Secretary Theresa May now?'

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Family separated due to ‘callous’ immigration rules

http://www.buryfreepress.co.uk/news/local/latest-news/family-separated-due-to-callous-immigration-rules-1-5960801

'‘Callous’ immigration rules have left a family separated by thousands of miles because a woman’s health prevents her earning more than £18,600.

'Scott Henderson has not seen his son Alex, 11, for two years.

'He is prevented from rejoining his family in Lakenheath because his wife, Leighsa Henderson, is unable to meet the Government’s financial requirements.

'Leighsa, 42, said: “Alex really missing his dad. He’s old enough to realise how long things are going to be.

'“It’s difficult having your partner so far away when they could be there to support you.”

Leighsa's story was previously featured here :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/leighsa-scott-we-dont-want-public-funds.html
#KidneyVisa

... is the hashtag being used to track this story :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-perfect-transplant-match-but-not.html

'Woman refused entry to Britain to give her brother a kidney' :
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10762485/Woman-refused-entry-to-Britain-to-give-her-brother-a-kidney.html

"By taking a donor from within my family, we're ensuring that another organ could go to someone else. But the system is not built to take these things into consideration. From what I have seen, it's built to keep people who want to do good things out."

Letters: Bar on brave kidney donor disgraces Home Office :
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/letters-bar-on-brave-kidney-donor-disgraces-home-office-9257534.html
Dinnae deport oor Arbroath Angie

'Please help @Angela Faye from being deported back to the USA without her 13 year old British citizen daughter. '





Angela, who was featured here a few days ago, has a great Facebook and Twitter campaign going - please do support her (and her family and friends) by liking, following, and sharing their pages :

https://www.facebook.com/helpangiefayefighttostay

https://twitter.com/keepoorangie

Angela says :
'I'm the American mother of two UK citizens and have lived here in Scotland with them legally since 2007.
Harsh but fair?


Sent by a friend.

I'll only say this - the it's quite unfair to blame the civil servant for this. My own perception - and the perception of many end users - is that the system is set up to be bureaucratic, unfriendly, inefficient and expensive to the user. The phrase 'trial by ordeal' crops up again and again.

See :
Our bureaucracy tag  :
 http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/bureaucracy

The Chief Inspector of Borders : 'Such was the inefficiency of this operation that at one point over 150 boxes of post, including correspondence from applicants, MPs and their legal representatives, lay unopened in a room in Liverpool.' :
 http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/UK-Border-Agencys-handling-of-legacy-asylum-and-migration-cases-22.11.2012.pdf

'Backlogs hit half a million at immigration service' :
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/news/130713-ukba-rpt-published/

'Shambles: The Home Office numbers which don't add up' :
http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2014/02/05/shambles-the-home-office-numbers-which-don-t-add-up

''8,000 potential illegal visa 'overstayers' have (already) left UK' :
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23187320 & http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/through-post-following-missive-arrived.html

etc. etc.

For amusement - 'Immigration as a game: 'Papers, Please' makes you the border guard' :
http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/14/4329676/papers-please-a-game-about-an-immigration-inspector

Saturday, 12 April 2014

The perfect transplant match – but not for the Home Office: Would you give up a kidney just to get into Britain?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-perfect-transplant-match--but-not-for-the-home-office-would-you-give-up-a-kidney-just-to-get-into-britain-9255123.html

'Oliver Cameron tells Cahal Milmo how the heartlessness of Britain’s immigration policy is preventing his sister’s mercy mission from Jamaica.

'When Oliver Cameron made the difficult phone call to his family in Jamaica, to explain that he needed a donor for a life-changing kidney transplant, his elder sister Keisha Rushton did not hesitate. She told him: “You are the only brother I have got. I love you. Let me do this for you.”...

'... Despite the risks, Ms Rushton, a mother of seven, decided to sacrifice one of her two healthy kidneys for her younger brother living on the other side of the world, and applied for a visa to come to London to undergo the NHS operation.

'Mr Cameron, a plumber who has been unable to work since suffering near-fatal renal failure in 2012, borrowed £700 he could ill afford to fund her visa application, excited at the prospect of a future without the gruelling order of daily dialysis and being able to once more earn a living.

'While most people would have seen Ms Rushton’s request to visit Britain as the fruit of filial love and an admirable self-sacrifice, that was not how it was seen by those at the Home Office in charge of applying Britain’s draconian immigration rules.

'Inside was a letter bluntly telling her that she had been refused entry to Britain because she could not be trusted to return home. She had been unable to provide evidence to officials of her income in Jamaica and thus prove she would return home after the operation, the refusal notice said.'

Family values?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Is putting applications on hold an attempt to prevent people's right to appeal!

Hidden away on page 7 of the Statement of Intent: Family Migration  June 2012 before the new rules came in the following appeared.

"19.  The 2011 family migration consultation also consulted on whether the full right of appeal should be retained for the refusal of a visa to visit a family member in the UK. In the light of the consultation, the Government has decided that it should not. The Crime and Courts Bill, published on 11 May 2012, contains provision to abolish the full right of appeal.

A limited right of appeal will remain on human rights and race discrimination grounds. Subject to Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent, this provision is expected to be implemented by 2014."

So Is the act of putting so many applications on hold a delaying tactic to bring the decisions under a new law that abolishes people's full right of appeal?


http://www.scribd.com/doc/129790309/soi-fam-mig

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Aldeburgh: Support grows for teacher and his Russian wife split by visa row

http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/politics/aldeburgh_support_grows_for_teacher_and_his_russian_wife_split_by_visa_row_1_3533389

'Support is mounting for a teacher’s battle with immigration officials to reunite his family at their Suffolk home.

'Yesterday, this paper reported Charles Tait’s bid to convince the Government to allow his Russian wife, Eugenia, back into the UK after she was twice denied entry on a visitor’s visa.

'Since then, supporters of the Taits’ plight have added their signatures to an online petition, while an offer of legal assistance has come from a London immigration lawyer.
Bletchingley man is forced to live 7,000 miles from his wife - because he's too poor

http://www.surreymirror.co.uk/Bletchingley-man-7-000-miles-wife-s-poor/story-20900932-detail/story.html

'A COACH driver is isolated 7,000 miles apart from his wife – because he does not earn enough for her to return to Britain.


'Ian Crabb married his Filipino bride Doricel in 2009 in her home town, following a drawn-out wrangle over her visa.

'She came here three months later to live with him in Bletchingley.

'They settled down in his flat in Barfields, and his new wife then earned a living locally as a carer in a nursing home.

'But two years ago, 29-year-old Doricel went back to the Philippines for a while, to support her sister with her new baby, and now she finds she can't return here due to her husband's low income...'
Refugee Action : Bring back dignity to our asylum support system

http://www.refugee-action.org.uk/policy_campaigning/campaigns/1152_bring_back_dignity_to_our_asylum_support_system

'You can help us bring back dignity to survivors like Vianney, Koroush and Clara.

'Join our campaign now and show the Home Office that enough is enough – the unjust poverty facing thousands of asylum seekers must end.

#bringbackdignity : https://twitter.com/search?q=%23bringbackdignity&src=hash
Arbroath mother shocked by deportation order

http://www.arbroathherald.co.uk/news/local-news/arbroath-mother-shocked-by-deportation-order-1-3369179

'Angela Smith, mother of two and active member of the Arbroath community
, has received shocking news from the Home Office urging her to leave the country immediately.

'Born in Ohio, Ms Smith has lived in Arbroath since 2007 and has had an ongoing battle with the Home Office around gaining permanent residence.

'“This is the third time they’ve tried to toss me out and I’m not putting up with it now,” she told us.

'Following the filing of paperwork for permanent residence, Ms Smith’s work visa expired and she believes the Home Office have let time lapse on her application.

'“Basically they have been sitting on my paperwork for nine months.
They have made me illegal by not filing my paperwork in a timely fashion...'


More stories about bureaucracy : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/bureaucracy
Celebrate St. George the immigrant - Wednesday 23rd April

https://www.facebook.com/events/345128585623585/

'Join us in this simple day of (in)action to celebrate the life of St George the Immigrant on St George's Day, April 23rd.'

'His father was born a Greek, travelled to the city of Lod in Palestine, where he served in the Roman army and married a local girl. As a young man, George himself emigrated to Turkey, joined the army there, and did very well for himself, rising to the high rank of Tribunus.'

Emily Dugan, Social Affairs correspondent of the Independent Newspaper wants to write a piece about this.  She wants to speak to people taking part, particularly those who are migrants themselves.
Contact e.dugan@independent.co.uk to tell her why you are taking part.

Patron saint of Bulgaria, among other places.
Light On

Light On 'maps contemporary symbols of discrimination in Europe, provides tools to spot racism and oppose hatred manifestations'.

A promising new campaign - follow it on Facebook :
https://www.facebook.com/lightonproject/info


UKBA site still exists in archived form

For those people trying to find information, documents or links that were contained on the old UKBA site you will find that all the previous links are now forwarded to the new .gov.uk site.  Often this results in a general page coming up and not the information or document that you were looking for.


This can be a big problem when looking for things like the rules or guidance in operation at the time of a past application.

There is a way around this and the UKBA site still exists with all the old information thanks to the National archives.

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/*/http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk

So no matter how any Government would like to hide or rewrite history in the case of the online world there is a snapshot of what was there thanks to the National Archives.

The UKBA archive covers the period from August 2008 through until  February 2014.

UKBA old site

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Gypsies, Roma, Travellers: An animated history

http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/gypsies-roma-travellers-animated-history

Fascinating stuff and an inspired piece of work - take a look.

Buzzfeed : The government illustrated an immigration story with a picture of a girl it tried to deport

More coverage of this ineptitude.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/the-government-illustrated-an-immigration-story-with-a-pictu

'The government has apologised after using a picture of a girl it tried to deport to illustrate a story on tough immigration controls.'






'The news story covers the Home Office’s decision to appeal against the decision to impose a a high court ruling on the minimum income threshold for new immigrants... '

Previously :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/clusterflock-today-i-learned-that-our.html
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/daily-record-mums-fury-after-government.html
Judith Vonberg : Yashika Bageerathi and the immigration debate

http://www.migrantvoice.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=528

'The sad fact is of course that we should not have to campaign for the fair treatment of human beings in this country. That should be a given. Campaigns for individuals are vital and can raise awareness of the flaws, confusions and corruption in the UK immigration system. But we must not get so caught up in the battles that we forget the war. Only through wholesale reform of the system can justice for every immigrant to this country, from Yashika to Christine and Alois, be achieved.'


Memorial for Christine Case, Yarl's Wood 

http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/News/Memorial-held-at-Yarls-Wood-to-remember-Christine-Case-GALLERY-20140407130042.htm
New survey: For immigration practitioners dealing with Adult Dependent Relatives 

BritCits and JCWI are collecting data to assess the impact of the Adult Dependent Relatives ("ADR") rules in force from 9 July 2012. With the government systematically attacking the judicial process, the legal profession and NGO's must rally together. Your help is therefore much appreciated in the research on ADR rules which parliamentarians and lawyers have labelled 'a ban masquerading as a rule'.

Survey results are anonymised and no answer will be attributable to you without your prior consent.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Migrants' Rights Network : EU Commission calls for greater clarity on family reunion rights

http://www.migrantsrights.org.uk/news/2014/eu-commission-calls-greater-clarity-family-reunion-rights

'The European Commission has issued a new communication which aims to clarify the right to family life for EU nationals who have exercised free movement in the European Union.

'The communication addresses the situation of EU nationals who have exercised a free movement right and who then wish to sponsor a family member to join them in the country in which they are established. 

'It describes family reunification as a "necessary way of making family life possible and migrants have the right to have their close family members join them if all the conditions of the Family Reunification Directive are fulfilled'

Previously : A clear legal regime for family members of non EU citizens -
Europe moves towards providing clarity and direction on free movement rights?

http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/european-commission-press-release-clear.html


Daily Record : Mum's fury after government website publishes picture of girl, 8, who was saved from deportation by Daily Record campaign

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/real-life/mums-fury-after-government-website-3383844

'THE mother of a young girl saved from being kicked out of Scotland by a Daily Record campaign has spoken of her disgust after the youngster’s picture was published on a Government website.

'Francisca Canales, 28, was furious when she saw eight-year-old Millie’s photograph on the Gov.UK website alongside an article about immigration appeals.

'The picture of Millie and two friends was taken by a Record photographer when we highlighted moves to deport Francisca to Chile...'

'... A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are extremely sorry.

“The photograph should never have been used in this way.”'

Previously - Clusterflock :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/clusterflock-today-i-learned-that-our.html

Francisca, Barry and Millie :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/barry-francisca-and-millie-francisca.html

Free Movement : The power of connection 
tells the story in tweets :

http://www.freemovement.org.uk/the-power-of-connection/

Press

BBC South Today - Trev Rungasamy, ex-soldier, discusses his divided family :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JidBTDfAgcg




Sunday Politics West - Andy and Molly Russell, and Trev again :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq04uqbTB8A



Previously :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/sunday-politics-west-andy-and-molly-and.html


Andy and Molly :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/andy-my-poor-boys.html
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/molly

Trev :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/from-comments-section-my-name-is.html
Calling students...

There is potential for a media story on how the divided families immigration rules affects students and recent graduates. They are looking for case studies to discuss their stories.

If this fits you and you are interesting in discussing, drop a line to :
michaelkevinallen@gmail.com
steve@britcits.com

Thanks,

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sunday Politics West
Andy and Molly and Trev's family on Sunday Politics West - at 42:36 :
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03zhsvr/Sunday_Politics_West_06_04_2014/

'It's like a nail being driven through my heart. I live for my kids and my wife... I wake up for them every morning. It's just a sad, sad situation.' - Trev Rungasamy, Afghanistan and Iraq veteran, husband and father to a divided family.

'The Tory government is heartless. '
- Labour prospective candidate, Labour NW. Is that a commitment then?
Hugh Muir : 'Where there is compassion, it is for a minister exposed over expenses, rather than a 'good' applicant for asylum' :

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/04/yashika-bageerathi-compassionate-conservatism-minister-expenses


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Andy on the radio

BritCits member Andy interviewed at around 2:07:00 here :
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01txqp8


Andy's story :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/andy-my-poor-boys.html
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/molly
European Commission press release : A clear legal regime for family members of non EU citizens

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-372_en.htm?locale=en

Europe moves towards providing clarity and direction on free movement rights?

'Migrants' right to family reunification is recognised throughout the EU. Common rules are in place on the conditions under which family members of a non-EU citizen, legally resident in a Member State, are allowed to enter and reside in the EU. Experience however shows the need to ensure greater coherence in the implementation of these rules.

'That is why the Commission is presenting guidance for the correct and meaningful application of the Family Reunification Directive (2003/86/EC) across Member States while avoiding possible abuses.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Clusterflock

Today I learned that our friend Francisca's family was picked by the Home Office for a campaign about dividing families. Without her - or the photographer's - permission.





We previously published the family's story - and their marvellous campaign - here :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/barry-francisca-and-millie-francisca.html

At the time, Francisca wrote :
'My daughter Millie was born in the UK. She has no understanding of her mum’s (my) home country. Why does she need to be deported too?'


Francisca and Barry.
Millie is the same girl whose likeness someone at the Home Office picked for its ill-advised campaign.

The family was ultimately successful (testament to it being possible for families to campaign - and win - although this is no easy proposition) :
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/an-update-from-francisca-franciscas.html
http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/birthday-delight-for-scottish.html

Given what this family has already been through, the actions of the bureaucrats in using the young girl's image - a girl who knows only Scotland as home - constitute a breaktakingly insensitive masterclass in callousness and incompetence - first as tragedy, then as farce.

The original photograph which the Home Office decided to use was published by the Daily Record - 'Girl, 7, spared deportation to Chile as UK Border Agency drop fight to have her kicked out of Britain ' :
http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/girl-7-spared-deportation-chile-1928558






The story is, unsurprisingly, making its way around the blogs and Twitter.

Free Movement -  'Home Office picks wrong family photo for campaign ' :
http://www.freemovement.org.uk/home-office-picks-wrong-family-photo-for-campaign/

Francisca herself is naturally furious and experessing that fury on her Twitter feed ( https://twitter.com/PanxaUrra ) :

'This is a slap in the face to my family and especially my daughter … we are ever so distressed.'
 

'I'm a mum and I will fight teeth and nail to protect my family's integrity. I was born a a fighter.'

Update 5/April :As Francisca and others have pointed out, the post with the offending image was removed from the Home Office website.
However, the Web has a long memory and screenshots were taken by several people.

http://web.archive.org/web/20130905215745/https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/uk-immigration-policy-update-family-migration

https://twitter.com/HarleyM65 points out :
'For the record, Home Office also removed the photographer's copyright mark in the photo.'

Theresa May MP: Immediately retract Anne's removal directions to Uganda

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/theresa-may-mp-immediately-retract-anne-s-removal-directions-to-uganda

'Anne was forced to flee her village because she has relationships with women, and rented properties to other lesbians. On 21st March she received removal directions for her deportation to Uganda. Her deportation is scheduled for Wednesday 9th April. Anne will face certain danger if she is returned to Uganda.

'Anne's case is the first documented scenario where a landlord letting property to gay tenants has been violently persecuted, since the passing of Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law last month. It is an extremely concerning indicator of the consequences of passing this Law; consequences which can only be expected to accelerate in severity if appropriate support and protection is not afforded to those at risk. The wider ramifications of Anne’s imminent deportation, and consequent danger to her life must not be ignored. The harm certain to befall Anne on her return to Uganda will act as a direct deterrent to landlords currently providing housing for gay people in the country.

'I urge you to immediately retract Anne's removal directions to Uganda. '

Background :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda_Anti-Homosexuality_Act,_2014

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

BritCits - written submission to Public Bill Committee on Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, March 2014 :

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmpublic/criminaljustice/memo/cjc41.htm

ABOUT US

1. BritCits is a human rights charity and campaign group, focused on the rights of British citizens, residents and non-EEA family members. We are especially concerned about UK’s family immigration rules and hurdles being put in the way to prevent family unity or those which force citizens into exile. Often judicial review is the only means to keeping the family together so any curbs on this route presents a further barrier for our members and others in similar positions.