A letter to Theresa May – Guest post by Jenny

Hi Theresa,

I thought you’d be interested to hear a personal story relating to your proposed rule changes. I’ve been an international student for three years and am on the cusp of completing and handing in my dissertation. I’m also engaged to be “married” to my English partner, a fellow student who I met while studying and being active in my local students’ union. We’ve been together two years, and I couldn’t have found a better person to spend my life with. Isn’t that great? If it sounds great, keep reading, because I have even more wonderful news for you.
On top of my upcoming civil partnership ceremony at the end of July, I’ve been offered a permanent job at a rate of pay which is a little lower than the new £18,600 per annum you’ll soon expect British nationals to make, but is the perfect job. I couldn’t have designed better and I’m willing to take slightly lower pay for a few years to really get a solid grounding in the professional field I’m seeking to enter. It’s a graduate role that I couldn’t have gotten without my UK university experience under my belt and it’s in something I’m really passionate about. My partner is looking for work now in the city we’ll be moving to together, and luckily enough, she’s secured one interview so far. We’re hoping against hope that she gets it. The situation for us wouldn’t be so urgent, you see, if you hadn’t introduced some of the most illogical and backward rules for family class migrants I could’ve invented in my own worst nightmare.
Your new rules, Theresa, the ones that are supposedly to prevent abuse, and state dependency? They’re hurting us. I’ve always followed the rules. I’ve been a great ambassador for what being an immigrant should mean. I’m likely to make, and continue making, a productive member of British society. You’re ruining a lot of things for us with this sudden and swift change. Let’s start with our late July wedding, which now has the shadow of the UKBA and the 9th of July rule change looming over it. (Oh, by the way, three members of my family are coming from the US to visit and spend lots of nice American dollars as tourists, for our wedding. They’ll be travelling, spending money in shops and supporting local businesses by eating out a lot and paying for our wedding cake and flowers from local companies. They’ve also paid for a substantial portion of the cost of our wedding which, because we have ethics and values, has emphasised local goods and services as much as possible.)
We’ll just miss the deadline for this new rule change by a couple of weeks, meaning that all the hard work I did to ensure that I had an appropriate job before we went on holiday next week is a total waste. All the work I did to ensure that I’d be able to afford to support us both while my UK partner continued her job hunt is now pointless, because you won’t recognise any of it. This is utterly ridiculous and so deeply disheartening that I can’t really express it in words. There is also the fact that my family- both of my parents and my gran- are more than willing and able to help support us as a couple, and me as an individual, while we settle into our new, “married” working life. I’m disgusted that the REAL facts of my situation will not even be taken into account. You’re insisting on looking at only a small percentage of the picture, and discounting valuable information like the fact that I have a permanent job offer and family support.
This is why your policy just makes no sense at all. I mean, by your own justification, it shouldn’t even apply to me! I’m not in an abusive relationship, I won’t need state support (and neither will my partner) and your rules, which threaten my ability to remain here with my future wife, actually threaten to split us up. See, Theresa, I’m American. My home government doesn’t recognise my upcoming civil partnership as valid. I don’t even have the option of bringing my partner with me as a spouse. And she’s a fresh out of the blocks graduate- she won’t be eligible for a US HB visa for quite some time.
I just hope you’ve really thought this through, Theresa. This is utterly heartbreaking and I have to be honest, infuriating. I don’t even expect a proper reply to this letter because I’m sure some office minion will just read it and send a standard form response. That’s a real disappointment because if you understood the high personal and emotional cost of these rules- and I’m sure they’ll cost the UK a lot in lost tax revenue, too- I would like to think you might reconsider. I fall into that lucrative 20-30 year old employed bracket that everyone’s going on about- you know, the 58% of applications that will be refused under your new rules.
I write this in the very vain hope that it might spark a glimmer of compassion and sense in your Government’s approach to immigration.
Thanks for your response.
Jennifer Krase

Taking it to the government

Last week I sent this email to our local MP, Hywel Williams of Plaid Cymru:

Hi Hywel,

I live in Arfon and have heard only good things about you and the way you engage with the people you represent. I know you have a strong record of supporting equality and want to add my voice to those calling for marriage equality.

As someone who is organising a civil partnership for this summer I can tell you that although the law allows for gay couples’ rights, navigating the system we have to work within is very strange and unwelcoming. Having compared my own experience to the process of arranging a marriage I am left quite dissatisfied with the provisions made for same sex couples.

I would be interested to know where you stand on the subject of ‘gay marriage’.
I’m sure you’re aware that same sex marriage is legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Mexico City, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and six US States.
I believe it is up to community leaders to lead the way on equality and encourage colleagues to do the same.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Today I received this reply:
Thank you for your email about marriage equality.
I think that we agree entirely on the issue of same sex marriage.  The opponents clearly believe in marriage.  It seems peculiar therefore that they wish to deny that status to people of the same sex.  Furthermore, I have found some of the comments of the opponents to be totally repugnant.  The other day I heard one comparing same sex marriage to people wanting to marry their pets!
I have to say though that I do find myself in strange company on this issue, in that for the very first time I will probably be supporting Mr Cameron and a fairly substantial section of his party!
Please feel free to contact me again on this or any other matter.
Best Wishes
Yours sincerely
Hywel Williams
I love it when politicians don’t suck! What a novel feeling being represented by someone who shares my view!

Favours!

Last night we bought most of the favours we’ve carefully picked out. I won’t tell you what they are (you may have noticed a trend – I like surprises) but I can tell you this:

Everything is local (some things are Wales local, some things are LOCAL local), everything is something that we love and want to share.

We’re making our own favour bags so I’ll post them when we’re done. We both have a crazy busy month coming up so we’re celebrating by watching the films I stole from my mum’s house last time I was there:

Father of the Bride 1 & 2, Wedding Date and My Best Friend’s Wedding.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!