Too poor to fall in love

Well now, I don’t often write anything political but this week something has got me a tad wound up. It was this story on the BBC website about a couple having to leave the UK because the wife’s income was apparently not enough to support her child and foreign-born husband. Fuck off, losers, the government seemed to be saying.

There may be immigration problems in the UK or there may not but whatever you think, if there are problems they are not likely to be caused by spouses of nationals who come here to be with the person they happened to fall in love with. Surely those people are comparatively few and hardly crippling the benefits system. If you think there is a problem, you are more likely to be complaining about EU immigrants – you know those pesky Eastern Europeans and such who are apparently ‘flooding’ Britain with the sole intention of stealing our benefits and jobs.

But that’s the thing, David Cameron and such can’t legally do anything at all about that. They don’t have that power. They can’t stop people from those countries coming as long as Britain remains part of the EU, and that makes it quite hard to look like they are being tough on immigration. So they pick on who they can. They pick on people who have fallen in love with non-EU nationals and happen not to be rich. Those people don’t even have to be claiming benefits. They are just deemed not to earn enough. And they are ‘immigrants’ which to many has become a nasty word.

Now, fine, the UK has every right to make its own rules about immigration, but I can’t help but wonder what would happen if other countries followed its lead and if, say, Japan made equivalent rules. There would then be couples I know who would not be welcomed here and who would not be welcomed there. Couples, in fact, who would be deemed to poor to fall in love.

I am ever so glad Japan’s immigration policies are kinder to those who love their citizens. I can’t help but feel that Jarvis was right, though.

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9 Responses to Too poor to fall in love

  1. Helen says:

    Yes, it is very sad… And I have had similar thoughts re my government’s immigration policies. At the time when I wanted to marry a non-EEA national, I had to apply for permission (I was over the age of 18). It was denied – so thank goodness the Pakistani government had a different take on the matter.

  2. Kavey says:

    I remember reading that story at the time, and signed the petitions that were raised to try and persuade the immigration people to reconsider, not that it seemed to do any good. What was frustrating, I remember, was that she had plenty of financial assets to her name, but that these were not taken into consideration – only regular monthly income seemed to be of interest.

  3. Lucas says:

    That story annoyed me too.

    Me an my wife (Japanese) are currently living in the UK now.

    We had to pay extortionate prices (totaling roughly £1,500) just to apply for the visa to get here.

    And that was without any guarantee that we would get the visa!
    If we didn’t get it then we would have had to pay again.
    Then to extend the visa in 2 years we have to pay yet again.

    We only managed to get here because I happen to earn enough money (only just).

    So we are planning to move back to Japan next year.
    It’s cheaper, nicer, and the government doesn’t lock their own citizens out of the country based on who they have married.

    Just imagine how difficult it must be for ex-pats living in places like Thailand, where the pay is low anyway, to get back to the UK with their spouses.

    • I have no great desire to move back to the UK at the moment, but I just hate the whole thoughtlessness of the ruling. Japan does make it pretty easy for spouses to come and stay here but we can only hope it stays that way and they don’t think, ‘Hey, why don’t we do what the Uk is doing’ because that would leave a lot of people with nowhere to go. Thanks for sharing your story and best of luck to you and your wife moving back here!

      • Lucas says:

        Yes exactly, one can only hope.
        It’s not that I think the government in Japan is doing much better (especially when you look at ridiculous things like the butter shortage), but at least certain things like being able to apply for 永住権 are a bit quicker now 🙂

        Hopefully the government in the UK will sort things out, but I don’t hold out too much hope that anything will happen soon.

  4. Mauro says:

    is Always not easy when there are love from different country 😦

  5. James says:

    As a British person living in Japan and married to a Japanese woman, the rule that was introduced in 2012 is such an odd and damaging rule for expats who want to return to the UK. I don’t have any immediate plans to return to the UK, but the fact that I don’t even have that option is frustrating. There’s no way I would be willing to live apart from my wife for the time it takes to not only find and hold a job that meets the requirement, but then the time it takes to process the visa. The UK government is doing job of isolating those who do want to return, and giving people who don’t want to return another reason to stay away.

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