Today, it has been revealed that former world squash champion and MBE recipient Cassie Jackman’s Australian husband has been denied a Returning Residents visa. Cassie, a British national and husband Matt Thomas married in the UK in 2004 and have two young daughters together. The couple moved to Matt’s native country after the recession in the UK with hope in finding a better way of living in Australia.
Cassie Jackman: It’s Easier For EU Spouses to Enter UK
Matt was granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK in 2006, two years after marrying Cassie and both of their children were born in the UK. They decided to move to Australia in 2010 after struggling to make a decent means of living after the economic recession in the UK. Matt was offered a job in Australia that he felt he could not turn down due to his circumstances at the time. After 4 and half years of living in Australia both Cassie and Matt decided that they wanted to return to the UK partly because they wanted their daughters to be around their grandparents who are both recovering from cancer. However, due to the amount of time that Matt had been out of the UK, (which exceeded a period of two years) he made a Returning Residents visa application which was refused.
Understandably, both the couple and Cassie’s parents are devastated and disappointed by the Home Office’s decision. Cassie and Matt own two properties in the UK and Matt had a job in a construction firm lined up, so there could be no concerns that the couple would be able to maintain themselves with no recourse to public funds. Cassie expressed her disappointment in the country she represented in the Commonwealth games and saw her become a British National champion a record breaking six times:
“Right now I couldn’t feel more angry or, to be honest, unpatriotic. I represented my country, I was captain of the England Ladies Squash team, I was awarded an MBE, but it feels as if Britain just doesn’t want us back and that really hurts. Britain was Matt’s home for eight years before we moved to Australia. He is married to a British woman and his children are British, so how can it be that it is easier for a family from Romania, or any other European country, to stay in the UK than it is for us?”
This has been an on-going argument that has affected British nationals and their non-EU spouses, in particular non-EU spouses from commonwealth countries. Back in January 2015 a heated debate took place in Parliament which questioned whether countries should still have the Queen as a Head of State, if they do not hold the same immigration privileges given to EU nationals. A number of MPs in Parliament were arguing that the current UK immigration policies were ‘discriminating against Commonwealth citizens, notably Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians’. Although, it should be noted that Matt applied for a Returning Resident visa not a Spouse visa. As of now Cassie and her family will remain in Australia and is undecided as to whether they want to make a fresh visa application.
Are You Eligible For a Returning Resident Visa?
If you previously lived in the UK and are looking to return to the UK you may be eligible to apply for a Returning Resident visa. You will be deemed ineligible for a UK Returning Resident visa if you have been living out of the country for more than two years, unless you are able to show exceptional personal circumstances that have led to you being out of the country for a longer period of time. The current Immigration Rules are proven to be unforgiving, as demonstrated above.
To avoid the disappointment that Cassie and her family have experienced it is important that you are getting the right legal advice to guide you through the UK’s immigration policy. To find out whether you are eligible for this UK Returning Resident visa we can arrange for you to have a detailed consultation with one of our expert Immigration Solicitors. If it is found that you are not eligible it does not mean that you cannot come to the UK, our Immigration Solicitors will explore all of your UK visa options.
Successful Returning Resident Visa Applications
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a visa application to the UK step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law.
Contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with an assessment.