Saturday, 23 February 2013

Theresa May outweighed by European Court

The head of immigration today said that measures introduced by Theresa May to stop criminals claiming a "right to a family life" were overridden by judges' decisions at the European Court of Human Rights...

And if criminals are entitled to a family life in the UK...could this mean that the rights of non-criminals married to a non EU spouse (also non-criminal) may soon be respected too!

Let's bloody hope so...

(I added some bits in to her Telegraph photo)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Skype Mummy

This video is a perfect example of what hundreds of British families are having to go through in order to meet the new financial requirements imposed by Theresa May. It is absolutely heart-wrenching. I can't even begin to imagine what those poor children (and their parents) must be going through. I never thought that I'd actually feel glad that Mariano and I decided to postpone starting our family for a couple more years!
The British government should be ashamed...

I don't believe it...

I just came across this article in the Huffington post which I think epitomises just how shockingly incompetent and dysfunctional the UKBA really is. Surely anyone capable of treating another human being in such a degrading manner should not be allowed anywhere near a job as an immigration officer.

And while this particular scenario might not be the case for the vast majority of Family Visa applicants, it is the same culture of distrust that is keeping so many genuine applicants out of the country.

While applicants should obviously have to meet a basic level of requirements in order to prove that their case is genuine, this kind of thing really exemplifies the humiliating hoops that both asylum seekers, genuine foreign workers, students and UK CITIZENS have to jump through in order to live in the UK.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Non negotiable...

Today, we finally found out why my husband's initial application for a COS had been unsuccessful and, true to form, the reasoning behind the rejection was borderline farcical!

In order to apply for a COS, a sponsoring company must show that they have completed a resident market labour test. This basically consists of publishing the job advertisement on several specific websites for a certain amount of time (28 days) and then submitting copies of the published advertisements as well as information on the recruitment process (candidate CVs, interview transcripts, etc) to the UKBA....just to show that the foreign candidate (in this case my husband) is the only person qualified for the job.

This was all completed by my husband's company in November. The UKBA then rejected the application in December, claiming that because the company had listed the salary as "negotiable" and not "competitive" in the advertisement published on the Job Centre Plus website (the UK government's official job-hunting website and a compulsory element of the resident market labour test), less British nationals would have applied for the job!

When the company's Head of Recruitment replied that the company had always listed their salaries on Job Centre Plus as "negotiable" as the website didn't, in fact, have a "competitive" category option (wtf?), and that this had never impacted their COS applications previously, the UKBA replied that they had recently updated the Job Centre Plus website to include this category and could the company please now repeat the test!

Again, absolutely no notice whatsoever was given as to the updates to the Job Centre Plus website and the impact that this would have on companies advertising there as part of the resident market labour test.

This has now set my husband's visa application back yet another two months! The new market labour test will be complete by mid-February and the earliest the COS application can be resubmitted is March the 5th.

It is scary how much these small details can push back an application. You really get an insight into just how easy it can be to lose a year or two of your life to the UKBA...

Sunday, 27 January 2013

New visa rulings separate mothers from their children!

I just came across this BBC radio 4 interview from last Thursday. It's an interview with Gerard Hearne, another victim of the Family visa ridiculousness. In order to meet the financial requirements for his wife to apply for a Family visa, Hearne, who was living with his wife abroad, has had to return to live and work in the UK for over 10 months while his wife remains in Thailand. And with no end in sight, their children, who are currently at school in the UK, have also been forced to live thousands of miles away from their mother... And this is the pro-family conservative party everyone!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

The highly skilled migrant fiasco...

Who would deny a visa to this little face?

After Theresa May's changes to the family visa in July 2012 scuppered our plans to return home at the end of 2012, every spare minute of our time has been taken up with trying to find alternative ways back to the UK.

Fortunately, I'm married to a very clever man (n.b. he reads this and I have absolutely no desire to do the cooking tonight!) who is fully bilingual and very good at what he does...whatever that may be! Ok, well I'm not sure exactly what it is that he does but I do know that its something computery. When he started to apply for jobs in the UK last August, the response was fairly overwhelming. But unfortunately, most of the companies that he spoke to, after discovering that he didn't yet hold a UK visa, simply told him to get in touch as soon as his spouse visa had been issued (When will that be, Ms May?). On the plus side, several other companies were so impressed at his computery skills that they went ahead and interviewed him anyway and one even flew him to England and then offered him a job...a good one, with a visa!

That was in October 2012. It is now almost February 2013 and we're still waiting. Mariano's UK company requested that he be issued with a certificate of sponsorship (COS), which is basically a piece of paper that states that he is qualified for the job and that they can't find anyone else to do it (all true), in November. This was denied (erroneously, according to the company's lawyers) in December and we have been waiting six weeks for the UKBA to review the COS application and issue the certificate since then.

Other than the obvious frustration and heart-ache that this is causing my husband and I... (So near and yet so far) I can't help but wonder on the impact that this utter incompetence on the part of UKBA is having on the British economy, especially in times of economic crisis. If the system worked efficiently, my husband and I could've been in the UK, working and contributing vital tax income (in my husband's case to a higher tax bracket) by November 2012. We also would have been paying bills, forking out well over £1,000 to rent a flat in London, and my utter addiction to Pistachio macaroons would likely be generating hundreds of pounds worth of extra revenue to the Paul's bakery chain!

And that's without taking into consideration the impact that this must be having on the company that wants to hire him...which had been looking for a qualified candidate for over six months!

So not only is the UKBA's utter inefficiency infringing on the human rights of UK citizens (to a family life) but it is also doing its part in helping to cripple the local economy.

368 days and counting...

Me and my mum: taken a couple of hours before I returned to Argentina after Christmas in January 2011. I just look rough but mum's eyes say it all...

It has been exactly 368 days since I've seen my mum, dad and brothers. Living in Argentina, a country with a slowly devaluing peso and an out-right ban on the purchase of foreign currency, means that a flight to the UK can cost anything between 2.5 to 3.5 times my entire monthly salary!

Up until now, Mariano and I have scrimped and saved all year long to pay for a visit to the UK each Christmas. This year, with inflation reaching almost 30%, we just couldn't afford it. 

One of the main reasons why I want to return to the UK to live is to be able to see my family more. I can't imagine my future children growing up 7,000 miles away from their uncles, cousins and grandparents (a big, friendly, slightly insane bunch!). And with our family in Argentina consisting of just each other and Mariano's mum, our support network here will be virtually non-existent. Unfortunately, I can only wonder if the expense of bringing up children will mean that our yearly visits to the UK will soon become even less frequent...