So I was looking through the latest news on the UKBA website (see above) and happened upon this little tidbit. To explain this, we need to go into a short story:
Once upon a time (all the best stories start with this line, shut up), the powers that be in the UK revised the rules for the family immigration route. Prior to this change, applicants were required to show that their income met or exceeded their individual cost of living. Which made a lot of sense, as no two parts of the UK are exactly the same, and costs of living are different no matter where you go. However, the powers that be were not happy with this idea, as it meant that people could come and stay here under the Family Leave to Remain VISA and still be living under the poverty line. Their fear was, by having it stay as it was, migrants would “milk the system” once they were granted their VISA – a fear that is largely unsupported, might I add as the VISAs that are issued are stamped with a message that tells anyone viewing it that the VISA holder is not entitled to any recourse to government funds up until a certain point in the process, but I digress.
In an effort to somehow make this more “clean-cut,” and to avoid the pesky business of making people check and verify the ones receiving benefits qualify (which, really, isn’t that hard, if they are documented immigrants), they revised the rules to require that all applicants meet a minimum income (£18,600 for one person, increasing for each additional person being sponsored).
Which would have been fine, except for one small problem: (and we’re switching to caps, because this is important) THE MINIMUM REQUIRED INCOME EXCEEDS THE TYPICAL HOUSEHOLD EARNINGS OF 50% OF UK CITIZENS.
What does this mean? It means that over half of their own people could never bring family here to stay. Families who are working hard and doing everything they can, over half of the population, are being told that, despite them taking care of themselves and managing on their own, because they don’t meet a some bureaucrat’s concept of a living wage (which is another problem, actually, because if this is really the absolute minimum that a family should need to take care of itself, how come HALF of people working in the UK meet it? Seriously guys, think about it).
The message was clear: bringing a spouse or child to live in the UK is a “rich-man’s” game. According to Freemovment UK (http://www.freemovement.org.uk/2013/07/05/high-court-finds-minimum-income-rules-disproportionate-and-unjustified/) the legal battle that sprung up from this fiasco, while the courts decided that it wasn’t unlawful nor was it discriminating (I would argue that classism – which in todays age is determined by how big their wallet is – is a form of discrimination, but that’s just me and I’m not a judge so… dots), they did find it “disproportionate and unjustified.”
Okay, so, it’s disproportionately biased against people of lower income status and you can’t come up with a logical reason to explain why it’s there…. Sounds like lawyer jargon for “totes discriminating, you duchebags, now stop it before we have to make you look bad.”
Because, basically, that’s what this ruling is – it’s the equivalent of a slap on the wrist and a “stop it.” So what is the UKBA/Home Office going to do about it? Well, according to them they are now going to hold off on making decisions on any applications only have the issue of not meeting the income requirements (which, at the VISA I’m going for now is basically all of them since, by this point, FLR applicants have already proven the legitimacy of their relationships – i.e. the only other reason they would be refused).
Does this matter to me? Yes and no, let me explain why: my Husband’s income is a mix of both self-employed earnings, earnings from a business he owned, plus earnings he attained from working a normal job. His income is complicated, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if someone decided that, despite us meeting the minimum required income limits, rather than process it properly, they’ve shoved it into the pile with all of the other “iffy” ones to wait until they’re good and ready to deal with them.
But is there a way to find out? Pft. No; they won’t tell you anything specific about your case even if you ask. It’s an annoying policy that stops people like me from nagging them constantly like a child in the backseat on a long road trip (“Are we there yet?” “What about now?” “When will we get there?” …Yeah you get the idea). I get that, I really do, but it feels unnecessary in this day and age where technology would make it very simple for people to log onto a secure website and SEE the process and case notes as well as answer any questions the reviewing officer might have – in real time.
This is turning into my soap-box issue, you can tell, because I’ve ranted about it so much now that it has become almost funny… you know, in the way that punch in the eye is funny. But that is my idea, and it would WORK, too, dammit. I don’t care who takes credit for it, but someone just implement this thing so we can feel like we aren’t stuck hanging in limbo.