We recieved some utterly ridiculous news today. Theresa May (Home Secretary and Equalities Minister*) is proposing changes to immigration law that would mean that unless I earn over £25.7k a year (which is not possible – point of interest: this is higher than the average salary women in the UK earn) Jenny would not be allowed to stay in this country. The fact that she is more highly educated, earns more money and speaks english better than me is irrelevant. As are the facts that she will have lived here for years and will be married to a British citizen. I’m not sure how anyone can justify the rights of my citizenship being dictated by my salary but then again the tories rarely wait for justification.*
These laws only apply to non-EU foreign spouses so unfortunately for anyone coming from a country with difficult visa and/or gay marriage restrictions (like us, thank you DOMA) this could cross-continentally split couples up. It’s interesting that this is against EU law, so Europeans won’t be affected by it. I’ve heard the argument made that the changes are intentionally racist, supported by the changes made to student visas recently, but no one want to go calling names, do they?
This hasn’t happened yet, but it very well could. Jenny could be sent back to a country where I could not follow her and we are not going to be the only bi-national couple faced with this painful reality. UK citizens can help by writing to your MPs, this is a good website to find details of your representatives and here is a great blog post by Emily “How To Stop Theresa May” with a sample letter to send and everything! Here is a petition to the government to stop this ridiculousness, and finally here is an article further explaining what is going on.
I hope you feel these changes are as damaging as I feel they are. With our watered down and unequal partnership, almost prohibitively expensive UK spousal visa, DOMA blocking any hope of Jenny returning home and now this I feel like we take a constant battering from all directions. We shouldn’t still have to fight this obscene force of inequality.
*I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that Theresa May voted against gay adoption rights and against repealing Section 28. She later “changed her mind”. Good job no one’s liberties live and die by her opinion!…oh wait…More stats on her voting record
**They have a history of ignoring enormous public demonstrations and enacting policy before their consultations have even finished (see solar subsidies).