The nuts and bolts of the new British Immigration laws/rules, according to many British citizens, are tearing families apart.
“Please help us stand up for what’s right; Please speak up and take action. Please don’t let any government erode basic rights of British citizens in our own country. Please allow us to be real families, and not forced into being ‘Skype’ families,” the statement issued by a campaign group of British Citizens known as BritCits stipulates.
According to the group, the new British Immigration laws implemented on 9 July, 2012 are causing lasting damages to the welfare of British citizens.
“The heartbreak, stress and devastation wreaked on Brits who dared to love, be it a parent, spouse or child will be so devastating it will leave a lasting impact on the economy, our mental and physical health and our values. These rules are causing the break-up of families and couples with a generation of kids now being brought up by single and ‘Skype’ parents,” the statement further added.
The new laws, according to the campaigners, are tearing apart family system, especially for the non-EU spouses, parents and children of British citizens.
The rules state the following:
– Nobody earning less than £18,600 per annum can bring a partner into the UK
– The sum of £18,600 can be made up with savings, with the formula that £16,000 plus (2.5 * the difference between earnings and £18600) is required. In other words, somebody who may have been earning £40,000 but just lost his job, would require £62,000 in savings to bring
his partner into the UK
– The amount required increases with children
– The amount required takes no account of different regions (i.e. an £18,600 salary in central London is very different from an £18,600 salary in Town side)
It is basically impossible for anyone, no matter how much one is earning, to bring a parent into the UK.
The income is for the British partner ONLY, so if for example, the overseas partner is the main earner, it makes it almost impossible for expatriate Brits to return to the UK. An example may be a British woman in Japan who is a housewife, with a middle-class husband. That family would now face exile under the new rules.
Laura Bold is a 25 year old UK citizen, living in Scotland. She is married to a 28 year old Egyptian. They have been together for 4 years and married for over 2 years. Laura has an honors degree in biomedical science and has worked very hard for many years towards a professional career in science.
“My plan has always been to stay and build a life in the UK while contributing to the economy. I do not rely on any sort of benefits nor would my husband ever want to. I currently have a permanent position as a laboratory scientist for a global veterinary company. My salary is at the upper end of those in similar positions (early years) in Edinburgh, Scotland. Yet my salary does not quite meet the income required to sponsor my husband to settle in the UK,” she said.
To meet the criteria, she has to do a second job so she started working at Pizza Hut to meet the new income requirement to sponsor her husband. “I manage to save £600+ every month which goes towards flights for us to see each other, saving for the ever increasing spouse visa and paying off student debt. I have more than enough money left at the end of the month to support my husband to be allowed to join me in the UK,” she said while adding that it is very frustrating that the government has not taken age/gender/regional salary ranges into account.
“My husband was also offered a job here in the UK. But his prospective income is not taken into account which makes no sense to me.”
“I found out about the new rules 2 days after my husband returned to Egypt after his visit. I cannot emphasize enough how upset I was and still am about the rules changes. I am currently on anti-depressants because of this situation. Every time we appear to meet the requirements- UKBA change the rules again! We have the money for the visa saved in the bank and now must wait 6 months before we can apply. I live in fear that I lose one of my jobs before the 6 months (the length of time I must earn £18,600) is up. If this were to happen, the 6 months would start again once I found another job (which could take an age in the current climate),” she explained.
For Laura, this situation is the first and the last thing she thinks about daily and is constantly on her mind every day. “Not only does it upset my husband and me, it has also affected our families, my mother and grandparents are extremely upset wondering if they will live to see my future children,” she said.
The young Scottish woman insisted that she does not want to be forced to start a family in Egypt. “I have a degree and a good job with great prospects here in the UK. Had I been forced to move to Egypt, everything I have ever worked towards would be taken away.”
The new immigration laws have affected their matrimony to a great extent. The present situation has caused strain on their marriage. “I, now, have to work two jobs, meaning, I am extremely tired and cannot speak to my husband for as long as we could before. When we do speak, we seem to be worrying and talking about the situation regarding the new rules. Many nights are spent in complete tears hoping that one day we are allowed to live happily as husband and wife,” she said.
They are also petrified on the continuous changing of government criteria to obtain a settlement visa. “I cannot believe the UK government is discriminating against its own citizens, yet EU citizen have far more flexible/easy rules to bring their spouse into the UK,” she wondered.
She demanded that all citizens be treated equally. “No one should be treated as a second class in their own country.”
Laura termed the new immigration laws against the human rights act which enshrines the right to a family life. “The right to a private life means that you have the right to carry on your life privately, without government interference, as long as you also respect the rights of other people. I am being unfairly treated and discriminated again and have had my basic human rights stripped from me,” Laura said.
Damar, another victim of the British government’s new immigration rule, says he has served in the British army for nine years in the Gurkha Regiment. He is presently living in Hampshire and was planning to move to UK with her wife and 10-year-old daughter but the new immigration laws forced him to live apart from his wife and daughter.
“Our year-long plan, however, crumbled when we learnt the announcement of new Immigration laws. Since I already resigned from my job, I had no choice but to leave my wife and daughter in Hong Kong,” Damar said.
He added that if he had satisfied the criteria of his annual Hong Kong income of at least £22,400 per annum, and a signed UK employment contract with the income of at least £22,400 per annum to be started within three months of arrival in the UK, or £72,000 in cash saving in his or his wife’s account for at least 6 months, he would be able to bring his wife and daughter to the UK.
Damar, managed to satisfy the first clause but failed to meet the second one, thus suffering from the setback. He insists that the new immigration laws are absurd.
“These laws are government’s ill thought ways to hide its ill-thought election pledges. They are harsh, morally wrong, and misleading,” he said while adding that if he were a French citizen he could have brought his (non-EU) wife and daughter without any restrictions.
“How can it be fair if I am less privileged than any EU citizens in my own country?” he asked. The Conservative-led government says it enacted these laws to protect British taxpayers. But, the non-EU spouses are not eligible to access public funding. “The resettlement visa of our spouses’ has “no recourse to public funds” stamped on it – how can our spouses be burden to the British taxpayers?” he argued.
The new laws are also affecting many families. “We have been forced to maintain our living expenses in Hong Kong and the UK – two equally expensive places in the world. We used our savings to maintain our expenses for 4 months,” Damar said while adding that they have been going through a painful psychological trauma. “Our 10-year-old daughter often asks us, when are we going to be together? Every parent knows how painful it could be when you do not have an answer for such simple a question.”
He said that the laws are attack on human rights and also on the reputation of the UK as an advocate of human rights.
The new British Immigration rules are such that if both parents are alive and together, they can’t join their British child. They have to be completely alone – no family and friends in their home country. They also have to be so incapacitated that they can’t dress, wash or cook for themselves. But even that’s not enough. To put it bluntly, if a British citizen was earning a very good salary and had a parent who was paralyzed halfway round the world, he/she would still not be able to move their parents to the UK to look after them. So if your parents are healthy, they’re not welcome, if they require help to do basic things, again they’re still not welcome.
Same is the case with Clara who is a British citizen and has been living in the UK for over 12 years. She worked for the British government, paid her taxes and never claimed a penny in benefits. Clara wants the right to live with her Australian parents, who have no other family there. She is happy to provide financial guarantees to the government, including a bond. Clara says she is more than happy to consider private healthcare cover for her parents to reduce their reliance on the NHS. Her parents would bring their assets to the UK as well, if they were going to live here, thus boosting the British economy.
Clara’s parents would not be entitled to a British pension nor would they be entitled to any other benefits. Despite this, the British government will not allow Clara to live with her parents. “But this isn’t about money. At least, it shouldn’t be. It’s about respect for those who gave us life, education and opportunities so we could have a better life. It’s about love. And it’s about responsibility,” she said.
Clara says she will not dump her parents in an old people’s home, halfway round the world, when they need her the most. However, the irony is that she can’t even meet them once a month let alone more frequently.
“If they didn’t want my parents here, they should have told me 10 years ago and I’d have planned accordingly, rather than suggesting they could join me here while they are 65, or earlier, if circumstances deemed it so,” she added.
British citizens with non-EU partners are being treated as second class to EU nationals with non-EU partners (in Britain) because they do not have the same “rights to a family life”.