“Just when my son and I have found a wonderful man to give us the family life we so desire, UK Home Office persists in snatching away our chance at happiness.”
British citizen Nicola met her husband Tarik, in 2008 while visiting her parent’s holiday home in Turkey.
After returning home they exchanged emails, phone calls and chatted online. In early 2009, they began to speak more frequently as their feelings developed from just friends to something more.
They made arrangements to meet in Turkey in May 2009, where they spent two weeks together. Nicola, Tarik and Nicola’s six year old son, MJ, were inseparable. It just felt right.
Since then they have been in a long term relationship, with Nicola and MJ going to visit Tarik as often as possible. Tarik also came to the UK in June 2009 where he combined work with a visit to Nicola and MJ. He stayed in the UK for less than eight days – within the visa limit.
Nicola is somewhat an entrepreneur. In October 2010 she opened a barber shop, making it more difficult to travel. So they applied for Tarik to come visit them in April 2011 to coincide with MJ’s school holidays, in order to all be able to spend more time together. However, the application was refused!
UKBA deduced that Tarik was trying to deceive them, because he had not mentioned visiting Nicola during his 2009 visit. They assumed he had not met his business contact (even though he had).
UKBA assumed because Tarik on his initial application said he was divorced then on the next one said he was single, meant he was trying to deceive them.
UKBA threatened them with paragraph 320 (7A), mentioning any future applications could be refused under 320(7B) which could attract an automatic refusal of up to 10 years.
Despite this, Nicola and Tarik re-applied and addressed the assumptions UKBA had made. However the application was automatically refused under 320(7B) with no reasons for the decision. UKBA stated that as he had previously been refused by failing to provide information, any future applications would automatically be refused for the same reason until 26/02/2019!! Nicola felt like Tarik was being treated like a criminal.
In July 2012 they heard that the rules had changed and that financially, Nicola would no longer qualify to have her foreign spouse living with her. In August 2012 Nicola found out she was pregnant.
Nicola and Tarik are ecstatically happy to be expecting their daughter. They got married in September 2012 with all her family travelling to Turkey from Scotland. It was a wonderful time, despite the stress of knowing they would continue to be apart. They decided as a family to live in the UK to save any upheaval to MJ's life and education. Nicola continues to try and build her business while being a single parent to her son.
They were hoping Tarik could join them for the baby scan and return in April for the birth. However, the family visit visa was refused. UKBA said they did not believe Tarik’s bank statement was accurate. They also did not believe that Tarik would leave the UK. It was also noted that as Tarik had the previous refusal under 320(7B), any future applications would also be automatically refused for the same reason.
Nicola is bemused. She has planned her daughter to receive her first immunisation and then taking her to Turkey to meet her grandparents. She doesn’t understand how UKBA can make their own judgement and assume what their intentions are.
Which brings us to where we are now.
Nicola’s pregnancy is tainted with stress. She will need to take maternity leave, she will need to find someone to replace her to run the business while she is not working and she needs to be a single mum to her son. With her husband by her side, the burden would be shared and halved.
Tarik and MJ have built a great bond even through the distance. MJ has been asking since the wedding, "when is Tarik coming?" "Can we put the Christmas tree up as a family this year" (last year they flew to Turkey on Christmas day).
After the visit visa was refused telling MJ was heartbreaking. The ten year old was crying and sobbing, and not understanding why he could not be with his step dad, like the other kids at school.
MJ rubs Nicola’s tummy telling his baby sister that it will all be ok when she comes. A ten year old child should not have to experience this worry and confusion. Just as he has found this family life he so desires, his step dad is not allowed to be part of his daily life. He was let down by his biological father, now when they both have a wonderful man in their lives, who wants to take care of them, they are denied the right to that family life by the UK government.
Since the story above, Nicola gave birth to a beautiful girl, though it was without her husband by her side. Nicola and her kids subsequently visited Tarik in Turkey so as to also allow Tarik’s parents to spend time with their newest grandchild. The family then moved to Ireland, using free movement rights.
While Nicola found the idea of moving to a new country with two kids daunting, she said ‘..but it’s a way to live a family life together’.
The family are now happily in the UK and Nicola is already putting her entrepreneurial skills to good use once again, to the benefit of the local community.