Hus­band crit­i­cises Home Of­fice af­ter wife is de­nied UK res­i­dency

Surrey Advertiser - - Front Page -

A DIS­TRESSED hus­band has hit out at the Home Of­fice spouse visa sys­tem af­ter his Thai wife of eight years was de­nied res­i­dence in the UK.

An­drew Dick­son, of Pen­ny­field in Cob­ham, was told in March 2016 that wife Su­palak would not be per­mit­ted into the UK due to in­suf­fi­cient funds in his bank ac­count.

The cou­ple have two chil­dren, both Bri­tish cit­i­zens, and the re­fusal means that Mr Dick­son has not seen his wife or daugh­ter Faith, al­most three, for more than a year.

“My right to a UK fam­ily life has been trag­i­cally dis­rupted and brought our fam­ily to break­ing point. It’s an ab­so­lute dis­grace,” Mr Dick­son said.

“I feel be­trayed, I can­not un­der­stand it.”

Then Home Sec­re­tary Theresa May launched re­forms to mi­gra­tion laws in July 2012. Part of the changes stated that only those earn­ing at least £18,600 per year would be able to bring a spouse or part­ner into the UK, to avoid ap­pli­cants be­com­ing a ‘bur­den on the tax­payer’.

The Home Of­fice cal­cu­lated that Mr Dick­son re­quired £62,500 in his bank ac­count to al­low for a short­fall in in­come to be made up from cash sav­ings. Doc­u­ments show the re­quire­ment as £18,600 x 2.5 + £16,000.

How­ever, UK Visas and Im­mi­gra­tion pa­pers show that at the time of ap­ply­ing for the spouse visa he had £59,931 in his bank ac­counts in the pre­vi­ous six months.

Mr Dick­son, 44, in­sists he did have the re­quired amount but a prob­lem trans­fer­ring funds re­sulted in the short­fall. Now he is un­able to raise the nec­es­sary money.

Al­though Mr Dick­son, a handy­man and for­mer DJ, owns his house in Cob­ham, he says the cur­rent mi­gra­tion laws do not take this into ac­count.

“I have been a self-em­ployed handy­man since Fe­bru­ary 2015 but due to the fam­ily dis­rup­tion and be­ing my six-year-old son Ben­jamin’s main carer I have been un­able to con­cen­trate fully on my ca­reer,” he said.

“Luck­ily I have no mort­gage mak­ing my life a lot less com­pli­cated fi­nan­cially.”

Mr Dick­son says he re­fuses to claim ben­e­fits de­spite a low in­come. He went on to high­light that dur­ing his time liv­ing in Thai­land he of­fered his Cob­ham prop­erty at a re­duced rental rate to the home­less char­ity Elm­bridge Rentstart.

He added: “My 76-year-old fa­ther William now lives alone, and wishes his son, grand­son, grand­daugh­ter and daugh­ter-in-law were here in the UK and very much part of his re­tired life.

“On past vis­its to the UK Su­palak and Faith have reg­u­larly vis­ited him, at­tend­ing a lo­cal bingo night to­gether.”

To com­pound the is­sue Mr Dick­son says the Home Of­fice will not is­sue a tourist visa for 40-year-old Mrs Dick­son, as four have been is­sued in the past 10 years.

A spokesman for the Home Of­fice said: “The Bri­tish pub­lic have been clear that they want to see a re­duc­tion in net mi­gra­tion and that is what this gov­ern­ment is de­liv­er­ing.

“We con­tinue to wel­come the for­eign part­ners and chil­dren of those set­tled in the UK but it’s im­por­tant that they can stand on their own feet fi­nan­cially.

“The Supreme Court has en­dorsed our ap­proach in set­ting an in­come thresh­old for fam­ily mi­gra­tion that pre­vents bur­dens be­ing placed on tax­pay­ers and en­sures mi­grant fam­i­lies can in­te­grate into our com­mu­ni­ties.”

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