‘Harsh’ UK Immigration Rules Split Welsh-American Family Apart

A Welsh-American couple have today spoken out against UK’s ‘controversial’ immigration rules which have prevented them from living together in the UK as a family. Matthew Pudner, 35 of Wales met his Californian wife Molly Pudner while they were both working in New York. After the birth of their son Soloman, now 18 months old, they decided to re-locate to Wales and start a new life as a family. However, due to the fact the couple did not have jobs on arrival in the UK and did not have the required savings in the bank, Molly Pudner was refused a spouse visa.

Welsh-American Family Split by Spouse Visa Refusal

Following the refusal, Matthew Pudner secured a job as a college lecturer just five days after returning to the UK and believes he now meets the Home Office’s financial requirements. Molly Pudner who was granted a visitor’s visa for six months, will now return to America to appeal the Home Office’s initial decision.

Speaking on the immigration rules, Molly Pudner stated:

“We have a place to stay, are not on benefits and intend to work hard and pay our way with my husband getting a reasonably paid job within two weeks of arrival.”

She went on to state:

“We were told because we did not have jobs on arrival we needed thousands of pounds in savings but how many young couples have that kind of money in the bank?”

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules. Mrs Pudner’s spousal visa was refused because her husband did not meet the financial requirements at the time of the application.”

High Court Finds Minimum Income Rules are Unjust & Disproportionate

A study conducted by Middlesex University last year, found that preventing up to 17,800 migrant partners from coming and working in the UK would result in £850m in lost economic activity over 10 years.

In R (on the application of MM) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 1900 (Admin), Blake J carefully considered the UK’s immigration rules requiring a minimum income of at least £18,600 for spouse visa applications and stated that they could constitute an unjustified and disproportionate interference with the ability of spouses to live together. He suggested that an appropriate figure may be around £13,400 and highlighted the position of young people and low wage earners caught by the higher figure in the rules. 

Are you affected by the ‘Financial Requirement’?

The Home Office’s rules on financial requirements affect non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK under the family migration route. The rules define the basis on which a person can enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their family or private life. If you intend to make an application as the spouse, partner, fiance(e) or proposed civil partner of a British citizen, you and your sponsor will need to meet the financial requirements.

If you would like to discuss how the financial requirement may affect you, please  contact us today and our London immigration solicitor’s will be able to assist you by meeting with you and reviewing your case.

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