End Discrimination Against British Women with Non-British Husbands
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I petition on behalf of the British women and their children, as well as the men in similar situations, that you act and vote to reform the discriminative impact of the following legislation:
- The punitive financial requirements of the Family visa and the plans to increase this burden.
- The punitive effects when a UK taxpayer visits another country for more than 8 weeks, including removal of tax credits, Child Benefit, NHS rights and other benefits; as well as the multiple many paged-forms that need to be completed, and the extensive time taken to reinstate these rights upon return to the UK.
- The lack of support for multi-nationality families within the state school and housing system. This means that if a child visits their parent overseas during the school term they are not guaranteed a school place on their return and many state schools are reluctant to offer a place to a child that will be away from school periodically, e.g. for a term at a school abroad or via a home-school agreement.
British Women in the UK with Foreign Husbands are being forced through punitative measures to make the following choices:
- To permanently live with their husband overseas - effectively exiling her and her British children from the UK, the country of their birth.
- To try to obtain a Family Visa for her husband so that he can spend longer periods or settle in the UK by either:
- Finding a job that pays £18600k per annum and/or saving a similar amount - a very difficult prospect for a mother with young children
- For her husband to try and save up a large sum of money overseas where the cost of living, and so rates of pay, can be significantly lower than in the UK
- Find the funds for her and her husband to travel back and forth between the UK and her husbands country of origin with or without their children, never leaving the UK for more than 8 weeks, so that they can spend time together as a family. This has the added obstacles of finding and keeping somewhere to live when in the UK, and finding and paying for schooling for children. With the added burden that their husband cannot work when visiting them in the UK.
- To permanently live without her husband in the UK - effectively forcing her to become a single parent of young children and increasing her reliance on the state to provide income support, housing, etc.
The current legislation unfairly discriminates against British women and their children because:
- The gender wage gap means that men are more likely to be able to meet the criteria for a Visitors or Family Visa so that their partners can visit/work in the UK.
- The burden of separation is felt more heavily by British women as it is much easier to obtain a visa in many other countries enabling husbands to visit their foreign wives for long periods if their wife cannot obtain a UK visa.
- The cost (not to mention difficulty) of travel is significantly less for a man travelling alone, compared with a woman travelling with children.
- Women with young children are more likely to work part-time and take maternity leave, further reducing their income.
- Women are more likely to be reliant on tax credits and child benefit and so are harder hit when these are stopped if they leave the UK for more than 8 weeks.
- It is impossible for women who are breastfeeding to be separated from their children and, in the majority of cases, caring for their child/children is the responsibility and right of the mother.
- State schools and currently legislation do not support and actively discourage enrollment of children who travel out of the UK to visit their non-British parent during the school term, even when schooling is available in the parent's country or a home-school agreement could be set up. This effectively prevents British children from spending time with their non-British parent.
- Home-schooling or private schooling is usually not an option when the woman has to be the main wage earner and carer.
- British children with multi-nationality are forced to:
- live in poverty in the UK, without Child Benefit or access to the NHS for several months at a time;
- live in exile overseas
- live with only one of their parents;
- have an itinerant life-style with no continuity of schooling.
In addition, in an age where remote working is feasible, and improvements in technology and flights mean that more women will find themselves in this situation, it seems short-sighted of the UK government to lose the benefits that these British women and their 'citizens of the world' bilingual (or even polylingual) children have to offer. The children of these women have the potential to become multi-nationality individuals who in the future could contribute their experience and cultural understanding of the developing and developed countries that the UK wants to trade with.
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