Change the requirements for Spousal Visas to the U.K. And the exorbitant fees charged.
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I am an American citizen who previously had indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the U.K. I am married to a British Citizen and I have two British children. Our family has been resident in the US for 8 years. Despite every effort to maintain my ILR, this was lost in 2012. My wife's parents are 85 and 80. Her father is disabled and her mother has Parkinson's disease. We want to move back to the U.K. to care for them and to have our children educated in the country of their birth.
I applied for a returning resident visa. I was resident in the U.K. from 1998 to 2009 and paid Tax and N.I. in the UK for over 10 years. My application for a returning resident visa was rejected by the U.K. Commission in New York. This summer we returned to the UK as we have done almost every year for the past 8 years to visit with family, friends and work colleagues. I was offered work as a scenic artist for the Welsh National Opera.
We contacted an immigration lawyer who advised us we could qualify for Further Leave to Remain under Family and Private Life - FLR (FP). We applied for this, at a cost of £1500, to the Premium Service Center in Cardiff on Aug 14th, 2017. We were supposed to have been given a response within 24 hrs. It took the Home Office over 3 weeks to make a decision on our case. They rejected it. In their rejection letter they falsely claimed that we did not qualify because our children had not been resident in the U.K. for 7 years. The law clearly states that we would have qualified for an exception because our children are British Citizens.
We immediately got on to our local MP who contacted the Home Office. The Home Office admitted in writing that they made an error, but refused to reverse their decision. They are insisting on taking us to the court of appeals. The appeals process takes on average 48 weeks. We simply cannot afford to wait this long. During this time I would not have the right to work or travel and our entire family would have no recourse to public funds. I have already been out of work for 3 months despite having a standing job offer from a reputable UK company.
What the Home Office expects of us is for me to return to the US while my wife gets a job which pays £18,600/year. She would need to have been on PAYE for a min of 6 months, or have been Self-employed for 12 months, before she can sponsor me on a Spousal Visa. This means she must hold this job whilst caring full-time for her two children as a single mum. She will be unable to care for her aging parents.
Ironically my wife's parents are of an age, and socio-economic background that they probably voted for Brexit. But I don't think they ever imagined that it would lead to the Draconian Immigration Laws the UK Government has passed in recent months.
Of course if I do return to the US, I will loose my right to appeal.
Please help us to change the broken Immigration system in the UK. There has been a clear over-reaction in the wake of Brexit and a sensible immigration policy that allows British Citizens and their families the right to a Family and Private Life in the U.K. must be implemented.
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