Another year, another Father’s Day to be celebrated all across the UK. Many will be gifted cards, their favourite video game, or perfume and will have a day to remember and cherish for the rest of their lives.
However, for cross border families, most dread this day as it comes around as once again it means they face yet another Father’s Day separated due to the harsh UK family migration rules that are still in place.
Yes you heard that right, still in 2022 children are without their father, and for most, this means the only contact they have with their daddies is via Skype, which I’m sure we have told you all about before.
As parents, we are often faced with difficult decisions but most of the time when those decisions are based on the best interest of the whole family, they work out to be ok at the end. However, there are times when this is not always the case, in particular when the British government have already chosen for you.
You may think that once reunited that the turmoil comes to an end. When in fact, it is only the beginning and the doors open to more wider and complex issues, for example the current rules make it very difficult for genuine families to raise British and non-British siblings together in the UK and sadly families can end up splitting apart or in the worst-case scenarios their children end up with serious traumas because they can’t understand why they have been abandoned.
“On Father’s day I find myself reflecting on the fact I’ve never seen all of my children in the same room. It has taken my wife & I three years to be reunited thanks to the MIR (Minimum income requirement). Navigating the UK visa system is overwhelming and degrading and can strain relationships with all family members. After all that struggle, we are all together here in the UK and have recently welcomed another baby boy. I cannot explain the joy a new child brings after years of missing out on my children’s lives. I know you might be saying to yourself why don’t you just get on with it now at least you are together but that’s not true. I have a daughter in the Philippines, she is 14 years old and has to live with her Grandad and Great Uncle. Her mum left years ago and is not in touch. I feel guilty every day that she is not here with us but we just can’t afford the visa fee. My wife and I both work and are desperate for her to join us but at about £3000 per visa that would mean a total of £6000 for the both of us every 2 ½ years. This is unaffordable at the best of times but during a cost-of-living crisis it’s impossible. We won’t be able to pay for my visa without help. As a man and a father I certainly feel the pressure to provide for my family and I do my best but If two people working full time can’t afford the visa fees then the fees need to change or we are going to see more children separated from their parents and more Dads having to spend Father’s day incomplete” – Chuck, father of 3 from the Philippines.
Most UK citizens are used to the concept of freedom of movement, and they take for granted that you or your partner – no matter wherever they are from – can freely join them at any time. What they don’t realize is this is not always the case, and you need to be prepared to have access to a big fat wallet. Unfortunately, the Home Office has made family reunion a lucrative business. The fact is that if you manage to remain in the UK, you are looking at paying over £10,000 in visa and immigration advice fees before you are able to get indefinite permission to remain.
“For the first 5 to 6 months of her life, my daughter didn’t know me due to me having to work long hours in order to make sure we had enough money for future visas. Even now sometimes she is still unsure even at 10 months old. This is my first child and I feel that I have been robbed of having that special bond because of the costs involved with visas, as well as continuing to meet the requirements. When I would leave for work in the morning, she would be sleeping, when I returned from work, sometimes after midnight, she would be sleeping too. Even if I did get the chance to come home a bit early, she would never come to me, and cried. It just feels no matter what I chose, someone loses out and I have to make the sacrifice that it’s me who loses.” – Tom, a first time father from Albania.
“Father’s Day is especially difficult for me because as a father of 2 lovely girls who live in Ecuador from my previous relationship and most recently 6-year-old boy for the last seven years, I have been forced to choose between them due to the UK immigration rules. My heart was broken not being able to freely visit my children [or for them to come here]; Every day that goes by I implore that they would one day forgive me for all the moments that I was not able to present or for not being able to take care of them. There is nothing worse for any father than having to decide who you would feed or who’s school you would pay, it is just something no one should have to consider. I wish the Home Office would soon realize how much damage they have done. I had to make the decision to leave my daughters thousands of miles away – one of them was very close to me and was in her formative years transitioning from my little girl into a young woman. I could not be there for her when she needed her dad the most and I felt I could not protect either of them. There truly is no compensation or money in the world that could bring those lost special moments back. I know from the bottom of my heart now that I took the right decision and never abandoned my family in the UK but I also know that no matter what I do my girls will forever miss the moments that I could not be there for them or worse contribute to their upbringing. There is no doubt now that we were all robbed by an unfair system that favours money over morals.” – Carlos, father of 3 from Ecuador.
The sad thing is there is no winners no matter where you see it from but what is most disturbing is that post Brexit there is more likely now to be someone you know who could soon also be robbed of their rights to family life – and another child will be waiting for a Dad or Mum that just cannot show up through no fault of their own.
“Another year goes by, more memories not made, and more experiences missed. Another Father’s Day feeling missed l have not been able to be the present father to my beautiful daughters I once was. They know I love them with all my heart but the physical gulf between me and my girls created by the rules and expensive spouse and visit visas has caused untold damage. I can only hope my girls can forgive me and none of this was any of our faults. All I did was fall in love with a British citizen” – Carlos continues.
We want this country to be a great nation once more please join us at www.reunitefamiliesuk.co.uk and together we may have a chance to build a safer and better future.