I'm a key worker, but my family is divided - help bring us back together

I'm a key worker, but my family is divided - help bring us back together

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Right now, families are desperate to be reunited after long weeks apart seeing each other only over video-call because of the pandemic. So many of us are aching for that first hug, to hold our loved ones close after all we’ve endured. But for families like mine, that’s still a long, long way off.  

I’m Erika, and that’s my husband Augusto and our beautiful baby Liz. I’m a care worker supporting people with learning difficulties to live as independently as they can.

I’ve been doing all I can during the pandemic to make sure families are cared for - despite the risks to myself. But because of Home Office rules, my own family is split across different continents. I’m here, looking after my baby alone, while my husband is far away in Brazil, watching his daughter grow up over video call.

This is because of a policy called the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR). It means that unless I’m earning over £18,600 a year, I’m not allowed to have my husband live here with me. Though my work is exhausting and essential, I’m paid just £9 per hour.

Before coronavirus hit I’d been working 60-hour weeks, trying to make sure I’d reach the salary threshold. But now, because of the pandemic, lots of my clients are having to shield themselves, and my hours have been slashed to 27 per week.

It means my income has dropped and I can’t meet the income requirement – I now have no idea when I’ll be able to have my family together, and can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s why I’m calling on the government to have a heart and scrap the Minimum Income Requirement so that families like mine can be together, where we belong.

Britain is our home. My dream is to become a nurse and carry on looking after people in their hour of need. I’m due to start a nursing course – but I fear that will be put on hold, because there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to work, study and look after our baby alone. 

If my husband was here, he could work to support us while I go out and study to become a nurse.

Being separated from family for safety reasons is one thing. But not being able to see your loved one for months, or even years, because of this policy relating to income makes no sense at all.

Coronavirus has left many families unable to reach the MIR – and at times like these, family is more important than ever. That’s why I’m asking the government to take urgent action and scrap its unfair income rule, so families like mine can be together. 

Please help by signing my petition.