To: Rt Hon Brandon Lewis

Spouse Visas for non EU Individuals

Please look into reducing the Spouse Visa costs for Spouse's outside the EU who intend to join their partners in the UK. The price of a spouse visa has jumped from £600 (2010) to £1,464 (2017).

Why is this important?

I know this Petition will be a touchy subject for those who have had to apply for a Spouse Visa in the last four years to allow a non-EU domiciled spouse into the UK from abroad. I have made every effort to keep this petition explanation short and hope my point comes across to your clearly and concisely, and that you will support my initiative to urge our fellow Minister of State, Rt Hon Brandon Lewis to look into this as a matter of urgency and bring about a change in pricing policy.

Here is my Story:
I, Andy Wilkinson am a UK Citizen and married my wife Sylvia Alexis in 2010 who was from Pretoria, South Africa. She joined me in the UK as my partner having acquired a spouse visa - costing around £600 in 2010. In March 2012, we decided to move to Cape Town for few years for a job opportunity for which I had been accepted.
Late last year, my role came to an end, and we had to move back home. After reviewing the criteria for the UK Visa, it was obvious I would have to come back to the UK alone and find a job that qualified me for the financial requirement of the minimum income threshold which was required. In June 2017, we were set to apply for Sylvia’s Spouse Visa and was advised the cost to be £1,464 pounds.

The Issue:
Given the current recessionary economic climate in the UK, a huge population of the work force just about get by with what they earn (See my link to the Guardian’s newspaper below to see the income situation of UK Citizens). What happens when a UK Citizen finds their match from abroad, and have to pay £1,464 to bring them into the UK, this becomes a sticky situation an unaffordable price for many. Therefore a number of questions have come to mind?

Why has the government which came into power in 2010, suddenly hiked the prices of a spouse visa for a UK Citizen’s partner. Ofcourse the government has an ambition of curbing the national debt, but penalizing UK citizens for having chosen a partner from abroad is not one of the best ways of doing it.

A visa cost of £600 in 2010, and the same visa in 2017 costs £1,464. It would frustrate any logical minded person how the steep increase of 140% is justified. Or is the government simply trying to rake in as much money as it can from a situation they know the applicant has no alternative choice but to pay.

I feel this is a penalization technique to those who have found their match from abroad. Ofcourse it will be argued that this has been a decision to curb exploitative marriages. But what about those who have been married for many years, those who have kids, certainly they cannot be labeled as exploitative – so why should they have to pay such a hefty visa cost?

Finally, it may also be argued this is to stop UK Citizens bringing in partners from abroad. This cannot be something the government decides. It is every Human’s Right to marry whomsoever they wish. It is not justifiable for the government to apply strong charges, as if to punish a UK Citizen from marrying outside the borders of the UK. Referring back to the article by the Guardian, many people who have spouses abroad will have to wait, or pay the cost using expensive methods of credits (credit cards, loans etc), and this certainly can’t be a reasonable strategy.

What do I want?
I want your support to urge our Minister of State, Rt Hon Brandon Lewis, to look into reducing the cost of a spouse visa for UK citizens who plan to bring in their spouse’s from abroad. The visa costs should be designed so that they are equitable to all UK Citizens, not assuming everyone is a high income earner. (For I am not a high UK earner, but am grateful Sylvia has now joined me in the UK).
I also understand that the government has taken a consultation process to determine fee levels for certain visas, but the visa that I am concerned is for UK Citizens who have/plan to bring their spouse from abroad.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/20/one-in-four-uk-families-have-less-than-95-in-savings-report-finds