Sunday, November 27, 2011

The right to a family life.

"Start from the assumption that if they can find a way to turn down your visa application, they will do." So said the advisor at the Brighton Housing Trust.

That's reassuring. If the government can find a way to stop my wife from joining me in the UK, they will do so. I was born in the UK. Rosey's Taiwanese. Something's got to give.

"Having said that, if you meet the criteria, they can't turn you down". It's the grey area we're concerned with.

I'd been advised (by the Citizens Advice Bureau) to go to the Brighton Housing Trust rather than paying a private company to help with our visa application. BHT give free and independent legal advice on the Legal Aid scheme, which pays the legal costs of those on low incomes. This, for the moment, includes immigration matters. Without it, Rosey and I would face a charge of £600 or so for help and advice from a private company with no guarantee of success, on top of the £800 paid for  the visa itself.

The coalition government are proposing to cut the size and scope of Legal Aid in the upcoming Legal Aid Bill.

I walked in to the immigration advisor's office feeling a little emotional. I get like that quite a lot these days. Time is taking its toll. I forced myself not to dwell on the situation or any thought or feeling that might be distilled into an outward display of emotion. Once inside, it was down to business and there was no space left for pathos. The advisor briefed me on the free, independent and confidential nature of the advice, confirmed my unemployed status and then we began to work through the details of our case.

Essentially, there is only one fly in the ointment with Rosey's visa application. My lack of a job. Other than that, we have a roof over our heads, education and long term prospects, neither of us have ever, in times of either peace or war, been involved in genocide, terrorism or crimes against humanity and we can verify our relationship back to 2004. With a job, the advisor told me, it would be a walk in the park.

Failing that, we'd better get ourselves a cat.*

* to my international readers, Home Secretary Theresa May, and The Daily Mail are under the impression that hoards of nasty foreigners are using Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, which guarantees a right to respect for private and family life, to claim their place in the sun (!) by virtue of their relationships with their British cats.

Confusing though it is for readers of the Daily Mail, the entirely British Human Rights Act passed by the sovereign Parliament of the United Kingdom, is based on the European Convention on Human Rights (nothing to do with the EU) which was drafted by a British Conservative politician close to Winston Churchill, in the tradition of the English Bill of Rights. Not a piece of nasty, bureaucratic, EU legislation foisted on us by Brussels.


  1. Good luck! I'll be facing the same grey areas next year when I return 'home' with my soon-to-be wife.

    Or maybe not :-/ Finding a job in the UK is not going to be easy, so maybe I should wait and enjoy my gainful employment in Taiwan.

    Strangely enough she's pestering me to get a cat - I don't need extra reasons to give in. ;)

  2. The cat has to be an English one in England so that throwing you out would constitute breaking up your "family"! Or so Ms May says.


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