Love Letters to the Home Office will be performed as a rehearsed reading at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds on 14 July at 7.30pm.
The play (performed as a rehearsed reading) documents the human and economic cost of the policy and directly challenges politicians to justify it. In the wake of the recent referendum vote and the anti-immigrant backlash seen in recent weeks, Love Letters To The Home Office aims to add to the pressure from separated families, human rights campaigners, and some politicians, including the Green Party, to overturn the destructive rules.
Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees the right to family life, but changes to the immigration rules in July 2012 restricted that right to the better-off only: British residents would be prevented from living with their partners from overseas unless they could show they earned at least £18,600 per annum, and much more if they also have foreign children.
Williams Radojičić is a theatre lighting designer and campaigner for migrants’ rights who was herself affected by the new rules in a two-year effort to bring her husband to the UK from Montenegro. She said:
“When we created the book, we did so in the knowledge that the Rules need to change.
“The government continues to ignore the issue, which means that with every day that passes women are forced to give birth on their own, with their husbands and partners not allowed to be with them, children are growing up only seeing a parent on Skype, and family members are exiled from their loved ones in the UK.
“The Rules mean that those who earn less than £18,600 per year have different human rights to the rest of the UK. The figure jumps to £22,400 if you have a child, and jumps higher again with each child you have. Because the Rules only affect British citizens who are married to those outside the EU, it has been widely under-reported and misreported. The biggest misrepresentation is (surprise, surprise) the suggestion that our family members will ‘come here to claim benefits’. This is simply not true: every family member granted a visa has NO RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS stamped in it. This was true before the Rule change, and it is exactly the same after the Rule change.
“Creating this theatre event gives us a very real opportunity to share the impact of the 2012 Family Migration Rules with a wider audience than the book has reached so far: a very politicised audience, whose own voices can make an impact on the decisions being made at a governmental level about this issue, right now, so that no more families are separated for no reason other than their income.”
Free tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/love-letters-to-the-home-office-leeds-tickets-26414022051.