The new spousal rules are increasingly pointless
5th March 2013
So Mrs May, of whom I am very fond, has clearly done a silly thing in making spousal visas so much more convoluted.
For those who haven't noticed, sponsors now need to have been in employment for 6 months before they can sponsor their partners to come to the UK, and if not, well, they have to wait. There are exceptions, but not many people have £62k lying around. So we have a host of couples who are having to be theoretically living apart for six months while the Brit gets a job and earns enough money.
I'm not sure what the point of this is. If someone is earning enough to support their family then why do they have to have had the job for 6 months? Why not 4 months? Why not 3 weeks? Why not, as before, have evidence that they are about to start the job? I don't mind changes to the immigration rules, but some logic would be nice. Or even some explanation. Trixie, can you explain? Is there a logical reason or is this simply another way of cutting numbers?
The thing is... it's not working. In the past two weeks I have had two clients who I have successfully helped with visit visas, specifically so that they could live in the UK with their UK national partners during that six month period. In both applications we have been honest. We have said that the applicant wants to be in the UK for 5 or 6 months, that in the future they will apply for a settlement visa, but as they now don't qualify, they want to be able to visit for a reasonably long time. One applicant was from a rich, Western, visa-free country and the other was from a poor, Eastern developing nation. Both were approved.
And it's silly. Especially with my Western client - this is a woman who was earning really good money in her home country, and in the UK she would probably be earning good money - paying tax, being a net contributor to the UK economy. But because of these new rules, she's going to spend the next six months washing her husband's pants instead. Well, probably not, but you get the gist.
Anyway, this is a positive post, as I am very pleased that these applications weren't refused on 'intent to return'. But I'm annoyed that an intelligent professional woman isn't allowed to spend the next six months making herself useful and being a 'good immigrant', but has to have a long holiday instead.
I hope she enjoys the enforced rest!
2013 - A Year for Blogging
3rd January 2013
Happy New Year to all MediVisas clients, prospective clients and anyone else who happens to be reading this!
So, one of my New Years resolutions is to blog; not every day, but whenever the urge takes me, which really means 'whenever I have something to rant about'. So most days then!
I will be sticking predominantly to immigration, though may sometimes call in other areas of politics or law. I will be writing about rule changes, silly comments made by politicians, and occasionally will be talking about cases. When I talk about cases please be assured that I will get the permission of my client before I give any detail.
Today was my first day in the office after a much needed Christmas break. I was welcomed by two approved applications, which would usually make me happy, but in these cases I am just riled.
The first was a 'leave to remain as the civil partner of a UK national'. It was a switch from 'fiancé' and the application was initially made in April. The initial application was challenging as the sponsor was in receipt of benefits, so the ECO had questioned the ability to support.
The appeal was of course successful, because the ECO was clearly wrong when doing his maths and because we had a marvellous judge. So my client came to the UK, had the civil partnership, and we made the application for a straight forward switch to a spouse visa.
The biometrics request came fairly quickly, and I expected the approval to come quickly. After all, there had been no material changes in circumstances, and everyone knows that 'fiancé to spouse' is pretty much a rubber stamp. In April 2012, when the application was made, it was expected to take about 6 weeks.
I don't know what happened to the UKBA. I know that the delay wasn't purely on this application, and as the other approval I got this morning was also an FLR(M) which had been lodged in June (though was slightly more complicated) I can see that these applications are taking much longer than they were in April. But to have to wait NINE months for an incredibly straight forward fiancé-to-spouse is really inexcusable. I knew there was no question that the application would be approved, but my poor clients have been tearing their hair out for months. With one partner on disability benefits, and the other unable to work until the UKBA finished with the application, they have been struggling and have naturally been extremely anxious. I don't know if this is about being overworked, or about incompetence, or maybe even about basic homophobia, but I do know that this is shabby treatment. The UKBA - and by that I mean everyone from the Chief Executive down - need to be made aware of the repercussions of such delays, as does the Home Secretary.
Of course, some already know about the repercussions, and simply don't care. That is the really tragic thing about the current immigration system; that politicians only really look at numbers, and not at the real people involved.
2013 has started on a high note for my clients, after 9 months of stress and worrying. I couldn't be happier! But I have other clients who have been waiting the same or longer... let's hope that this is their year. And if your case is still with the UKBA, all at MediVisas hope that this is your year too!