Expat mom facing deportation due to heartless UK visa rules

Published:  7 Apr at 6 PM
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US expat Katy James, wife of Dominic and mother of two-year-old Madeleine, is awaiting deportation back to the US due to a heartless immigration decision.

Mrs James’s visa application was rejected due to a recently introduced visa rule disallowing UK citizens from bringing their spouses back to the UK unless they are in work and earning at least £18,600 a year. In the James’s case, with one child the amount Dominic needed to earn was £22,400.

According to the Home Office, the minimum income rule is in place to ensure unqualified migrants don’t arrive in the UK and apply for financial support from the state. In the real world, the designated amount is almost twice the minimum wage paid for unskilled jobs, with the tragic result that many families have been broken up since the law was changed.

In this case, Mr James is a musician, and is earning below the threshold amount. The couple are determined to appeal the Home Office decision, but the process will take at least a year, during which time Katy will be force to return to the USA whilst she awaits a hopefully happier outcome.

The devastated couple have been married for almost ten years, having met online in 2005. They wed a year later and lived in Scotland until 2009, with Katy legally resident on a spousal visa until they returned to Seattle, where Madeleine was born and where IT specialist Katy took on a job with Cisco.

In 2013, Katy was transferred by Cisco from Seattle to Edinburgh, but was made redundant a few weeks later. Under UK law, she had 90 days to leave the UK and was forced to return to Seattle. The couple were unhappy in the USA, and determined to move back to the UK.

In August last year, they settled in Eastbourne, Domenic’s home town and still home to his family members and many friends. Not once did either of them believe Katy’s application would be rejected due to Dominic’s modest earnings as a musician. Domenic is bitter about the decision, saying that Katy has a degree, an exemplary work history and can offer much to Britain if she is allowed to stay.

Domenic has set up a petition online, and has massive support from friends, his large family and members of their community. According to local MP Caroline Ansell, the law was not intended to split up families such as the James’s, but the Home Office is refusing to comment on the case.

The reality is that a huge number of couples with young children have found themselves in the same position due to a law which is unfair, discriminatory and has little relevance to the problems it purports to address.
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