Tough anti-immigration measures are normally fully supported by British people, that is until the law hits them between the eyes. It is only then they realise what people go through to get a UK visa and that Immigration Rules (immigration to the UK) preventing people sponsoring foreign partners to live with them applies to UK Citizens too.
New Family Migration Immigration Rules, which came into effect on 9 July 2012, means that British Citizens who want to marry a non-EEA European Economic Area national and live in the UK (i.e. immigration to UK) together must show proven earnings of at least £18,600 per annum.
In cases where the foreign-born spouse has children, their British partner must earn £22,400 or more, plus £2,400 for each additional children.
Tabloid press readers may have applauded these changes, which are designed to prevent low income families becoming dependent on benefits, but when a British person falls for someone on holiday they are shocked when they turn up at the local British Embassy expecting to get a ‘visa on demand’ for their new found love.
Instead of the red carpet being rolled out for their, they are instead issued with a curt visa refusal.
Despite demands to “speak to the British Ambassador” or waving of tattooed arms, the answer is still “NO”, and “Yes, the Rules apply to British people as well, even if your Grandfather did fight for this country in the war”.
In a recent well publicised case, Labour MP for Sheffield Central, Paul Blomfield, is demanding a meeting with the Immigration Minister on behalf of his constituent, a young father-to-be facing heartbreak after his pregnant Filipino girlfriend was denied a visa to join him in the UK.
British Citizen Marc Hanson fell in love with Filipina Ella Quepet three years ago when the pair met while working on ferries from Hull.
But when Filipino staff were laid off in favour of ‘no visa required’ Eastern Europeans, Ella was forced to return home with Marc following.
Ironically, had she applied to join one of those Eastern Eurpoeans as a partner under EEA laws, she would be in the UK now having her baby in a British hospital free of charge.
As a foreigner in the Philippines Marc is unable to work on a tourist visa so the couple, both aged 28, naturally want to return to the UK where he can support his new family.
Mr Blomfield has now raised the issue with Home Secretary Theresa May, who introduced the changes, in the House of Commons.
He asked: “Does the Home Secretary recognise that this case highlights the way in which the inflexibility of her new rules is unfairly preventing many British citizens bringing their partners to the UK?
“And will she meet with me and Marc’s parents to consider their case for their family to be united?”
The MP said he has now received a written response to his questions.
He said: “Immigration Minister Mark Harper replied and has agreed to a meeting.”
However, if the Minister were to give special treatment to Marc, this would no doubt lead to a wave of similar appeals.
Ella, who is due to give birth to a Son in the next few, has been joined by Marc and his family in the Philippines.
Marc’s parents Kim and Robert Hanson, of Walkley, are setting up a business and will offer their son a job, which means he does not meet the requirements now, as he is not working at the time of his application.
They have pledged to help the couple using their combined £70,000 annual income to ensure Ella is not a ‘burden’ on the state, which will not help either, as a change in the rules means third party income cannot be taken into account. Checkmate to the Home Office?
Perversely, Marc could bring his Son with him to the UK, but the child’s Mother would have to stay in the Philippines pending a new visa application.
Cynthia Barker of immigration advisers Bison Management UK has dealt with a number of similar cases and said:
“The harsh rules are already splitting families apart and will soon be tested in the immigration appeal courts on human rights article 8 grounds in the not too distant future.
“Not every case fits government tick boxes, for instance where a British partner has lost his job abroad and wants to return home with his or her partner, or where the sponsor has non-standard income. The forms are more complicated than a mortgage application!”
To add to their problems, more government bureaucracy means that getting Filipino a visa to enter the UK will not be the only hoop they will need to jump through to get his partner out of the Philippines.Marc may be surprised to learn that they must also comply with new ‘exit visa’ requirements or Ella will be prevented from leaving the country.
New Philippine laws mean your Filipino partner must attend a ‘CFO’s guidance and counseling session’ in order to get a ‘Guidance and Counseling Certificate (GCC)’ and a ‘CFO sticker’ and be allowed to leave the country.
Immigration to the UK is getting harder each year, but in this case, one government doesn’t want to let her in, while the other doesn’t want to let her out!
If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: