In November 2008 I met the man who, to my surprise, turned out to be the love of my life. I was sitting on the floor at a party, probably slightly tipsy, probably chatting about something inconsequential to someone I recognised, when a tall, skinny man with a mess of curly black hair and extraordinary cheekbones came and sat on the wicker chair next to me, and said nothing. I spent the next three hours or so haranguing this quiet, bony man about what he was thinking and what kind of music he played on the accordion, and within eight months we were married.Ahhhh, isn’t young love grand?
Last week, soaking wet and waiting for a friend at Great Portland Street station, I got a message from my mum saying that the government are introducing English tests for non-EU nationals wanting to join their spouses in the UK. Panicked, I looked up the story on my phone. "I believe being able to speak English should be a prerequisite for anyone who wants to settle here," Theresa May stated. But it was when I read the words "it is a privilege to come to the UK, and that is why I am committed to raising the bar for migrants" that I felt myself starting to cry.Oh, and why is tha…
Basel is Palestinian and lives in Syria, where I was studying when we met. After our wedding last summer I moved back to the UK to complete my degree, thinking he would join me soon afterwards. However after three months of waiting, we learned that his visa application had been refused because although, as a student, I was financially supported by my family, I wasn't earning a wage.Well, how unfair!
In February we made a new application, and are still waiting to hear the outcome. We have now been living apart for almost a year.Somehow, my heart sdoesn't bleed like it should for this spoiled little madam...
The reason I got teary about coming to the UK being called a "privilege", is that throughout this whole ordeal, my right to be with my husband has been ignored.You don't have any such right. Not when you marry a foreign national. How did you manage to get through college (even such a one as SOAS) without learning that?
Contrary to what most people think, bringing a non-EU spouse to the UK is already very difficult.Oh, indeed. DK and Bella Gerens have recent experience of it, and it's not easy.
And nor should it be.
Seemingly reasonable criteria regarding income and housing are pedantically applied in an effort to, as the nice lady from immigration advisory service told me, "discourage foreign marriages". I proved that I had sufficient regular income, but this was rejected because it was from a third party.It's part of growing up, sweetie. Try getting a bank loan on the basis of 'It's OK, Mummy and Daddy give me pocket money'...
Requiring non-EU spouses to do a pre-entry English test will only make this painfully long process even longer.But there's good reason for it. And no, it isn't because the State is out to 'get' you and your man...
If integration is really the issue, then why not make English lessons mandatory once the spouse arrives in Britain? Extending subsidised English lessons (as Daniel Trilling suggested on Cif) may cost the taxpayer, but so does maintaining such a restrictive immigration system, a fact that no one ever seems to mention.And who's going to check up? The Language Police? I suspect that that would be just as expensive.
I can see Emily didn't major in economics. Just advanced foot stamping.
Such responses to Daniel's article as "a country has the right to choose the type of migrants it wants" lump married couples' pursuit of a life together with economic immigration. The latter may or may not be a "privilege", but the former is a right. I have the right to live in my country with the man I have chosen to marry, and the fact that we speak Arabic together, and that he isn't rich, and doesn't have a university degree, is no one else's business.Sadly, you don't have such rights, and it IS our business who comes through our doors.
After all, it doesn't sound very much as if your husband is one of those 'highly skilled immigrants' we are always being told we need, does it?
I am stunned that it is now seemingly OK to refer to "importing foreign wives/husbands", as if they were cows.I had to bite my tongue at that one. The retort I wanted to make would bnever have gotten through CiF's moderation...
The simple fact is that if Basel were British or Italian, we would not be apart. Our immigration system punishes people for falling in love outside of the EU, which raises profound questions about a society that claims to be modern, tolerant, and anti-racist.Oh, get over yourself!
If you wanted to be with your spouse, why didn't you move to Syria?