"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.
"I have never
been so stressed and depressed in my life. Even if I work I would be
extremely lucky to get a job offering a salary of £18,600"
Salli is a British citizen. Some time ago, Salli went to South Korea where she worked for several
years. Over there she met and fell in love with Izzat, from Uzbekistan. Izzat was a student at a local university there.
Izzat and Salli
In the natural course of a relationship, the couple planned their lives together - to get married, live in England, progress with their careers and then have children.
In December 2014, Salli went to Uzbekistan for the marriage with his parents blessing. At the time, she had no idea that the immigration rules had changed. Salli was assured by her friends that as a British citizen she would have no issues living in England wiht her husband.
It was while Salli was in Uzbekistan that she found out she was pregnant; however she had to leave Uzbekistan as her visa there was nearing its end; she no longer had a valid visa for South Korea either, having left her job there. So Sally returned to England.
Once here, Salli and her husband decided to apply for a spouse visa - and that's when they came across the financial requirements which were impossible for the newly married couple to meet. Salli managed to get a
part time job and saved a little bit of money to add to her savings in excess of £10,000. Salli's mum said she was willing to support them as well, and co-sponsor Salli's husband.
However, the rules of course ignore any savings under £16,000 and third party support, even from a parent, is no longer allowed.
So Salli went through the pregnancy without her husband. He was also refused a visa to witness the birth of their daughter, Layla. Salli is struggling as a single parent and diagnosed with post-natal depression.
Layla, is now over six months old but has
never been held by her father. In sending BritCits photos, Salli said 'as you know, there are no photos of us [three] together'.
Salli and Layla
Salli has been forced into the position of a single mother claiming benefits which she has never had to do before; all her savings were used up in trying to sponsor her husband for a spouse or visit visa, and furnishing her home.
With Salli's sister also recently diagnosed
with terminal cancer and now given only a few months to live, Salli can't even think of
leaving the UK, nor focus on getting a full time job with a baby to look after alone.
She told us "I have never
been so stressed and depressed in my life. Even if I work I would be
extremely lucky to get a job offering £18,600 salary. Maintaining a long
distance relationship under all this stress has been extremely
difficult at times."
Salli and Layla
When asked why she doesn't just go and live in Uzbekistan, Salli says she and her daughter are both British, she has the right to be here and her daughter has the right to be brought up here. Uzbekistan is also a developing country; education, healthcare, work and living conditions are all better in the UK compared with Uzbekistan.
"This is the best place to raise my family and I
shouldn't have to choose between my husband and providing the best life
for my family."
will give this country my all. In return I hope it gives me back my husband.”
Hayley is a British citizen.
Between the ages 10 and 17, Hayley lived in Spain.
She is now 19 years old and is
mother to 4-year old Byron.Even though
she was only 14 when she fell pregnant, despite being so young she decided to
keep the baby.Even at that age Hayley
knew all she wanted was a family.
When the father of her baby turned abusive – emotionally, mentally and sexually
- Hayley suffered for three years.She
was alone in Spain without financial independence and only her son as family –
she felt like she had nowhere to turn.There were times she considered committing suicide, but obtained
strength and hope from her son, who also was her impetus to find the courage to
escape.She decided she did not want her
son to witness the abuse; to see his mother being beaten and raped.
Hayley returned home, to England, believing here she would be safe.She had many dreams.She would continue her education and provide
her son with a good life.She felt free
and ready for a fresh start.However,
the abuse had left its scars and Hayley sought therapy for the resulting
depression, nightmares, flashbacks and general negativity.Nothing seemed to bring about closure to
allow her to truly move on.
It was then that Hayley met Manuel.A
police officer from Colombiawho had been sent to England to learn
English.They immediately became great
friends and then the relationship developed into more.Seven years older than her, Manuel provides
Hayley with the stability and maturity she needs. He is intelligent, kind and
wonderful with children, including Byron.
Manuel understood Hayley’s pain.He
encouraged her to accept the past and love herself.He would playfight with her, give her a
reason to smile every time he walked into the room.
For Hayley and Byron, their lives changed with Manuel’s
presence.He provided the happiness that
had been missing and hope that their future could be bright after all.
They planned to marry in August 2012, before Hayley started university in
Just when everything was going well, it happened. The rules changed.
Hayley was devastated.Here she was about to embark on university, with her husband by her
side. And now she was being told employment not education should be her
priority.However at the age of 18,
without a university degree, Hayley did not see how she would be able to get a
job that paid over £18,600 anyway.
So Manuel left England.Hayley felt the
effects of depression again, was referred to a mental health department and
then diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
Everything suddenly made sense.She wasn't crazy.She had just been affected by many things and
finding happiness just to lose it again, felt worse than ever.
Hayley’s doctor recommended she defer university until she was better.So Hayley decided to go to Colombia to be
with Manuel instead.
Hayley and Byron joined Manuel in December 2012, though she
immediately realised that Colombia wasn't where she wanted to be as it was
dangerous and didn't offer good education for her son, let alone any future
children she and Manuel may have.
She cried and cried; thinking about England night after night.Manuel would simply tell her that one day
she’ll be able to come home again.
The stress caused further health problems, with Hayley
suffering from chronic gastritis and IBS.The doctors recommended she relax and return home where it would be
Hayley ignored the medical advice - she did not want to leave Manuel.In May 2013, the couple got married – not
only making them feel like the happiest couple on earth, but providing Byron
with his wish to have a daddy who would love and raise him.Hayley feels every day that she and Byron
are lucky to have found such a wonderful man.
When Manuel however was posted in an even more dangerous part of Colombia, they
agreed it would be safer for Hayley and Byron to return home.
Hayley has since been in London seeking employment paying over £18,600.She is spending a lot of money on babysitters
just so she can attend interviews. She has given up on her dream of going to
university.She is heartbroken and at a
loss as to what to tell Byron when he asks why his daddy is not with them.How can she explain to a 4-year old that
mummy doesn’t earn enough for the government to let daddy in.
Manuel is a good hardworking man.
He isn’t a criminal nor someone who will sponge off the system or other
people.He is willing to leave his home
and career to ensure a better life for his wife and stepson.Manuel is now not only Hayley’s husband, he
is also Byron’s daddy.
Out of the first four months of
their marriage, they have only been able to live together for one.Hayley feels that she hasn’t even had the
chance to yet learn what it feels like to be a wife.
She feels betrayed and cheated by her own government.How is it they expect her to find a job paying
£18,600 while having a child to look after, being forced once again into single
parenthood?She needs time to heal and
excessive stress is more likely to play havoc with her health.
Hayley is determined to help other people and has written a book about her
experience.She hopes to prevent teenage
pregnancies and raise awareness of rape and domestic violence.She is now an author having self-published
her first book through Kindle, “Lead towards the unknown”.
She has dreams and is prepared to
give the UK her all.In return she hopes
the UK would just allow her to live with her husband.