A HEARTBROKEN MOTHER
I am a British citizen who is currently married to another British citizen.
I have always been a taxpaying professional. I am a doctor from a non-EU country, currently serving in NHS, working and studying towards becoming a Specialist Medical Professional. I had almost become a Junior Doctor, but had to sacrifice that to look after my six-year-old daughter, who is currently in her country of birth (non EU). My daughter is from my first marriage. My ex-husband is not on the scene; he disappeared the moment our daughter was born.
Since her birth, my daughter has been looked after my parents. It has taken years to assemble reams of paperwork from both countries to be in the position to apply for my daughter’s visa. Every year, since her birth, I have travelled back and forth between the two countries many times – to visit her and to arrange the documents. Last year, I was finally able to apply for a UK Visa for my daughter to join me as a ‘Non-EU Child of a British Citizen’.
After few months, the Visa was refused. I was shocked, frustrated, and it almost brought me to breaking point. We couldn’t eat or sleep for several days. It took weeks to digest the news, try and understand the refusal reasons, and begin taking corrective measures.
It seems that we are yet another family affected by the infamous £18,600 Financial Requirement rule. We are an unfortunate side effect of this storm. After consulting several immigration lawyers, we have discovered that the Immigration Rule that our child’s application falls under does not mention anything about any £18,600 requirement at all. It appears to be a gross mistake, possibly due to the high profile of the Family-Settlement requirement of £18,600. Our case, although entirely different, was treated in the same context.
The Home Office Officer dismissed my husband’s Statement of Sponsorship, his salary, savings, and home-ownership. Our joint household income is several times the £18,600 rule. We were in disbelief to find that my husband – my daughter’s stepfather – is considered to be a ‘third party’. He attached an emotional declaration to the application, enunciating his commitment to support his wife and stepdaughter, yet it apparently made little difference when the Home Office Officer was considering ‘The Best Interest of the Child’.
Unity is a pillar of marriage, yet our joint income and savings have been disqualified. Raising a child is a pillar of marriage, yet my husband and I are not considered a family unit. Do we not have the right to decide what is best for our daughter? How many others face the same reality?
We are scared. Our fear extends to the possibility that we have been ‘marked’, which could affect our daughter’s future immigration attempts. We are scared for her wellbeing when she asks, each day, when she’ll be allowed to come stay with us. We fear that her prolonged weariness and longing will have lifelong consequences.
Her upbringing and education has already started to be severely compromised. My parents’ health has begun to rapidly deteriorate. Our situation could take months, maybe years to resolve, and they are living with the idea that their grandchild may never be able to join her family. Their question remains the same: who will look after the child if they die?
We can, of course, join the long queue of appeals, but we don’t have the luxury of time.
Despite spending recent months working around the clock – consecutive night shifts for days on end, to the detriment of my health and marriage – to reach the £18,600 goal, I have decided to fly out of the UK to join my daughter. Like any other parent, I know that my child is the most important consideration and, thus, have abandoned my job, education, house, and husband to be with her.
Consequently, I have given up on hopes of fulfilling the financial requirement. It means I won’t have a steady run of six months in the UK. I’ve come to believe that even if I met these standards, there’d be something else amiss.
It is heartbreaking to realise that as a tax paying, honest, law-abiding citizen, I have fallen victim to my own country’s ill-conceived laws. My tax is going toward the same civil department that is keeping my family apart. I am a civil servant myself, working for critically ill. What if I used a non-sympathetic, non-discretionary, ‘tick box’ approach? Rules exist to avoid confusion, not cause them.
I am now leaving the rest to God – that and the hope that the Immigration Officer will be having a good day when she or he picks up my application again.
A Heartbroken Mother.