Newlyweds facing exile under new immigration laws

Published: 18 Oct 2012 09:2918 comments

AN EAST Lothian man and his new American wife say they face being "exiled" from the UK under new immigration laws which could force them to leave the country to stay together.

Nicole and John on their wedding day

AN EAST Lothian man and his new American wife say they face being "exiled" from the UK under new immigration laws which could force them to leave the country to stay together.

John and Nicole Tait, who married on September 29 at Green Craig, near Aberlady, will have to leave their Gullane home permanently and potentially spend months apart if they cannot overcome UK Government laws in force since July.

Former North Berwick High pupil John, 28, who has lived in Gullane since he was six, is not earning enough money to sponsor his wife's spouse visa, which would allow her to become a UK resident.

Her current fiancee visa expires in January, after which she must have a new visa in place or return to America.

John met Nicole, 26, in March last year while working as a football coach in New Jersey. He proposed to her in April this year and Nicole moved to Gullane in July, the couple having already spent the best part of seven months apart.

John told the Courier: "[After the wedding] we were brought back to Earth with a little bit of a thud when we realised these new rules were going to affect us."

The Middleshot Road resident added: "One of our options is for us to start the Green Card process for me [to live in the USA] which can take over nine months and [could cost] about $5,000.

"If Nicole has to go home in three months that's us facing over six months apart and that's really not something we want to go through. We could try going to Canada or Australia but it feels like two people being exiled rather than one.

"What we really want is to be in Scotland and start our married life here."

In his current job with Lothian Tractors Ltd, John earns about £16,750 per year - below the new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse of non-European Economic Area nationality. The previous threshold was £13,700 before tax and including housing costs.

The pair only found out about the new rules after their wedding.

College graduate Nicole, who studied fashion and marketing in the USA but cannot currently work in the UK, told the Courier: "I don't want to be apart from my husband. We came in under the old laws and we got approved right away, met all the standards and we thought we would be able to adjust my status.

"It's worrying, but we are positive people and we've been proactive in trying to find another solution. "

The UK Border Agency has confirmed to the couple that they will be subject to the new laws, and they have since taken up the case with Citizens' Advice Bureau and East Lothian MP Fiona O'Donnell.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "All applications for settling in the UK must meet the requirements of our immigration rules.

"All applications must be made via the official process and will be dealt with objectively. The rules are applied equally and fairly to each application.

"British citizens can enter into a relationship with whoever they choose but if they want to establish their family life here, they must do so in a way which works in the best interests of our society.

"We welcome those who wish to make a life in the UK with their family, work hard and make a contribution. But family life must not be established here at the taxpayers' expense."

Ms O'Donnell was unavailable this week but a spokesman for her office said: "Fiona has made initial representations to the UK Border Agency on behalf of her constituent to seek clarity on his case. She will be back in touch with him as soon as she has received any update."

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  • The Bald One.
    Unregistered User
    Oct 18, 13:02
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    It all seems so unfair. John has lived in Gullane since he was six, has a job and Nicole has a college degree. Sounds like she is the kind of person who should be welcomed here. "Family life must not be established here at the taxpayers' expense". Have they actually asked for a handout? Doesn't look like it to me. Perhaps they should claim that their human rights will be impacted if Nicole can't stay... Seems to work for other people..

    Recommend?   Yes 44     No 1

  • The Mexican One
    Unregistered User
    Oct 18, 14:16
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    Family life must not be established here at the taxpayers expense!!!!! Are you having a laugh! What about all those living here on handouts from eastern europe? Nicole is english speaking and a college graduate but can't be here with her husband, but a romania family can move here and live off the government no problems where is the logic in that!? I know John personally and he is a wonderful guy and to force him away from his new bride after they have spent so much time apart is unbelievable and I would urge the home office to take a serious look at this case and consider it based on its individual circumstances and not just against a set of criteria that seems to be ignored in most instances!

    Recommend?   Yes 33     No 0

  • Andy S.
    Unregistered User
    Oct 18, 14:30
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    These are exactly the kind of people the UK should be encouraging to come to the country. Ridiculous laws, and I hope they fight them and win.

    Recommend?   Yes 35     No 0

  • Her Mom
    Unregistered User
    Oct 18, 14:40
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    What these two young people have already gone through to be together shows the level of commitment they have to each other. They are law-abiding, productive members of society...and they would be an asset to ANY country that they settle in. They are both hard workers and have never asked for a handout or have an expectation of someone else paying their way. Rules such as this new immigration law should have some flexibility to look at cases separately and determine the value of that application by itself. This is one such situation.

    Recommend?   Yes 30     No 0

  • Chorley Tiff
    Unregistered User
    Oct 18, 14:54
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    These are the stories that make me sad and ashamed to be British. As a country we should want these people to be part of our working community. Am I correct in the understanding that Nicole is not allowed to work while on her fiance Visa? If she was allowed, would this not take them over the minimum threshold of £18,600? I recently received my resident card in the US and can only say, they welcomed me with open arms.

    These are pathetic laws that need to be challenged by MP Fiona O'Donnell and overcome.

    I feel sorry for both John and Nicole and wish them all the luck in the future.

    Recommend?   Yes 27     No 2

  • Auld Jake
    Unregistered User
    Oct 18, 18:29
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    And we wonder why people lie to get into this country. Seems if you are truthful and go through the proper channels, are clean living,work hard, dont ask for or want handouts from the government then you are not wanted in this Country. No wonder its in the mess it is in. Its än absolute disgrace. I am ashamed to call myself British. The Country is bursting at the seams with People from various countries sponging off us. Personally i think this is all a money making exercise by the government. If they want to make Money they should get rid of all the spongers that by the Way Im working to keep. They would save Billions.I hope that Nicole and John are able to remain in this Country.

    Recommend?   Yes 20     No 3

  • rule of law
    Unregistered User
    Oct 18, 20:11
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    For those interested in fighting these rules - please consider joining this group https://www.facebook.com/UniteFamiliesFightForLove . There are many many many people affected by these unjust laws - up to half the population of the UK can no longer establish a family life with a non EU citizen according to this report http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/press-releases/women-young-people-and-non-londoners-are-most-affected-changes-family-migration-polic - Love knows know borders!

    Recommend?   Yes 18     No 1

  • DaveMac
    Unregistered User
    Oct 19, 08:49
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    She was not allowed to work while she was a fiancee but surely she is allowed to work now that she is a spouse????

    Recommend?   Yes 9     No 0

  • AnnoyedGent
    Unregistered User
    Oct 19, 10:07
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    Disgusting, they are insinuating she would be a burden to the taxpayer yet he is working and she is educated/will look for work. As a non-eu, should she get a job she will be paying INTO the tax system yet working or not wont be entitled to any housing, benefits or nhs treatment for 5 years so wheres the burden? As someones stated, its the EU migrants that are the problem, milking the system dry ... something thats not been mentioned yet are that these new rules concerning non-EU spouses dont apply to other EU folk in the UK, for example if you are Polish, Romanian, German ... in fact ANY nationality but British and living in the UK you would find it very easy to have a non-EU spouse here in the UK to live with you. Is it right that people born and bred in the UK have less rights here then an eu migrant worker? This is a nasty tactic to try and reach inmigration targets and it bashes the low paid, effectively Camerons once again looking after the rich, if you earn over £18,600 or have £20,000+ in the bank your ok. Burden to the taxpayer, ridiculous, the most they could claim would be a tiny amount of tax credit as they would be classed as a couple. Compare that to the £1000- £2000 a month an MP claims in expenses!!!

    Recommend?   Yes 18     No 1

  • Rule of law
    Unregistered User
    Oct 20, 15:57
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    On the face of it this looks like a mistake by ukba. As the fiancée visa was issued before the 9th July rule changes, they are subject to the OLD rules. This has been clearly stated and documented. If ukba are unable to follow their own rules, causing such distress, this is an absolute scandal.

    Recommend?   Yes 6     No 0

  • BouncingBobby
    Unregistered User
    Oct 20, 17:21
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    He should get a part time job to bump it up. Obviously they think this amount isnt enough to support a family. NAE and up is so I dont know where they get this number.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 0

  • rule of law
    Unregistered User
    Oct 20, 17:50
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    The UKBA 'Transitional Arrangements' page here http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/IDIs/idischapter8/ says this. Click on Part 2 to open a PDF :- 'A person who has been granted, or made an application for, leave to enter or remain before 9 July 2012 in one of the following categories will remain subject to the Immigration Rules in force as at 8 July 2012 until settlement (the grant of indefinite leave to remain) even where the application is granted on or after 9 July 2012:

    •

    person exercising rights of access to a child resident in the UK (see Part 7 of the Immigration Rules);

    •

    fiancé(e);

    •

    proposed civil partner;

    •

    spouse;

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    civil partner;

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    same sex partner;

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    unmarried partner;

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    child;

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    adult dependent relative;

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    post-flight family member of a person granted refugee leave or humanitarian protection in the UK; or

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    14 year long residence.'

    On the face of it it looks like Nicole falls under this category as she applied before 9th July. Has a huge mistake been made here???

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 1

  • rule of law
    Unregistered User
    Oct 20, 17:53
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    ... Furthermore, to quote from form FLR (M) (the 'further leave to remain' application form which people on a fiancee visa would use to gain further leave to remain as a partner) http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/applicationforms/flr/formflrm1020091.pdf - it says this, section 7A FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS. 'If you were granted leave to enter or remain as a partner following an application made before the 9th July 2012 you are not

    required to complete section 7A, Proceed to 7B MAINTENANCE. For more information on completing the financial requirement

    section please see section 21 of the guidance notes.' Section 7B then simply asks if the sponsor is in receipt of benefit, and their income, then leaves it up to the officer to use their wisdom.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 0

  • Same Place
    Unregistered User
    Oct 24, 22:07
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    I am in the same situation, I got married 4 weeks ago to a Canadian citizen and now facing time apart. I have to wait till feb/march for a Canadian Visa because it looks like there is no hope for my husband to live in Scotland. We have lived in Canada for 4 years and always wanted to settle in Scotland to be close to family. Cant believe we have just missed out. We have always worked and feel so angry we can not live close to any family.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 0

  • incredible
    Unregistered User
    Oct 25, 11:56
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    Well these new laws are incredible. I have recently married a Scottish woman who has a Bsc degree and wants to pursue more schooling. I am Canadian have 13000£ in the bank a qualified chef and it seems impossible to come over here. I dont understand how they can offer such unfair treatment. Being part of the commonwealth it should be easier than if your from a non english speaking EU country. The amount of expats in Canada alone should count for something.

    Recommend?   Yes 3     No 0

  • PC - ......
    Unregistered User
    Oct 25, 13:43
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    The Mexican One

    good comment, maybe her ancestors even came from the UK?

    maybe she should claim political asylum.....

    Recommend?   Yes 0     No 0

  • Keith Farrell
    Unregistered User
    Oct 25, 19:44
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    We went through a simular thing, my spouse could not work until the leve to remain visa was granted, I had returned to the UK, and was forced to support both of us on a limmeted income, instaed of starting a small business, that money had to go to pay all the expences including this leave to remain visa. I have not been able to get employment, we were stressed and had to suffer through this nonsence, now my spouse is working, but we are just managing to survive. The stress of this whole leave to remain visa almost destroyed us before we began. Now we still have the coming problem of the next document, that is going to cost a lot of money, money which will make things very difficult and set us back further and we are told that this is done based on the value of wanting to live here. equal rights means if your spouse is born in the EU he/she has the right to be here, but if born elsewhere there are no rights. it is just some person who might to have a good day who has to decide if your spouse can stay.

    In my case my spouse comes from a very catholic country whereequal rights are not acceptable, therefor my spouse could lose his rights to live in his cown country because he is in a civil partnership. If he is not allowed to stay here then he might not be allowed to stay anywhere as he might not have a passport, if he has to go back I would have no rights to go with him.

    I think they need to rethink this whole thing and stop making it so hard. I know a lot of people are getting married just to stay here, but those of us who marry because we love, should not be pushed into poverty, My spouses tax payments for the last 3 years are on record, and he does not have any rights to goverment money, granted I do, but I would rather work and had we not been so stressed for so long, we would have both been working.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 0

  • rule of law
    Unregistered User
    Oct 26, 12:08
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    Happy ending. http://ukimmigrationstruggle.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/finally.html

    Turns out John and Nicole appear to have been badly briefed by whoever they were talking to at UKBA.

    However, for those unlucky enough not to fall under the pre-9th July - the fight continues. Moreover, this case absolutely highlights what a shambles the IMPLEMENTATION of the rules has become - with an abusive culture of incompetence. As the MP's case worked AND national and local papers were led up the path by UKBA.

    This is a total scandal and the local MP needs to raise this with the relevant authorities. I would suggest Keith Vaz of the Home Affairs Select Committtee, who is monitoring UKBA's performance.

    Recommend?   Yes 2     No 0