Some of our families' stories
Here are some heartbreaking accounts of the real impact of the UK visa rules on children and families.
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Donna – daughter is 4 years old
My daughter only moved from turkey to uk end of July. I’ve been here since beginning March 18. She stayed with her grandparents so her father could work (4 hours away in a different town) & so that I could come back, find a job etc. That was an incredibly stressful time for all, the extra stress on my in laws, us as a couple & our daughter, who at 4 years old, doesn’t understand why we had to be apart. She has now started school, but wets herself everyday in school, asks for her daddy every day & has separation anxiety with me. She follows me like a puppy. I find it so hard being a single parent (& not by choice) working full time & struggling financially. My parents passed away 6 years ago so I don’t really have any support network here, but rely on childminders & after school clubs-which all costs money too. I can apply for his visa at the end of October & although we have a good case & we meet all requirements, I can’t help panicking, thinking what will happen if they say no.
Loren – daughter is 8 years old.
My daughter is 8 years old and from a previous relationship. She has never met her British father and probably never will. However she idolises my fiancé (we are due to marry in may) from turkey.
It’s because of her we met. She started playing with him in the hotel pool one day when he was on a break from work and the rest is history.
He has asked her to take his name when we marry. Something she was so excited about. And it makes me so happy when I hear her telling her friends “my dad” or “he’s my dad now” with such a big smile on her face.
Because of him she has experienced a new culture, she has learnt a new language and she has experienced things most British 8 years olds don’t get to see anymore sadly, like street parties, neighbors sharing food and playing instruments in the house like a band for fun. Her mind is open to the possibility that not all Muslims are bad, something that is sadly portrayed strongly by our media. And to me that can only be a good thing for future generations.
Sadly I don’t earn enough for him to come here on a spouse visa once we are married. And getting a visitor visa is ridiculously hard because proving he will go home, even though I know he will, seems an impossible task to prove to our home office. My word as a British citizen should be enough. Instead I’m made to feel like a liar in my own country that I once used to have faith in. I can’t travel to him when I want because she has school and then I get fined. I can’t win. I have to choose between love and education all the time. And it’s constantly heartbreaking. Furthermore I can’t move there because her life is here. So we spend our time apart. Paying for two houses, and two sets of bills. Instead of paying them together.
My daughter doesn’t understand why he can’t come here to visit. She doesn’t understand why he can’t be here for her birthday or Christmas even though we badly want that to happen. And she wishes for it every birthday which breaks my heart! She doesn’t understand why people who don’t know us make decisions about family when all we want is to be together. And while I know some measures need to be in place, I can’t help feeling like they are too much. That too many people are hurt for nothing.
If he was to come here to be with me, he would work. He would make mine and my daughters life better. But until then it rests on my shoulders. I have to be the one who works 40 hour weeks to make the income to even be able to think about a visa and miss time with my daughter and pass her from pillar to post in order for us to be a family. I have to be the one to explain that I have to do that because my own country don’t believe that we are a couple or that we are trying to commit some sort of crime. I’m in Love and we are a family, yet it seems in Britain money talks. If I was rich or sick, then he would be with me. Until then I have to love someone British. That’s basically the way it feels.
I’m saddened and angry that my daughter has had to experience the visa system. I never knew till I fell in love with someone not British at 28 so I was lucky that I could live in a fantasy world. Sadly she is 8 and knows already that in Britain they make you pay for love.
She may not be his biological daughter, but he’s treated her with more respect and kindness than her British father, and that to me speaks volumes. And it should to our country too. Because it’s about time we starting teaching our children that love is more important than money, not the other way around. Before it’s too late and all children have is anger and pain from missing out on family time.