Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz and her husband Memet came back to the UK from Turkey two years ago to raise their young children. But new visa rules in the government’s most recent crackdown on migration has left them facing separation if she loses her job.
“We live in a country where basically, if you can’t afford to pay, you can’t love who you want to love. That’s gross,” says Josephine, who works for a migration charity.
“Why is my right to choose, as a British citizen, who I marry, circumscribed by Home Office policy? My right to family life is being infringed by the Home Office.”
New rules, introduced as part of the government’s plans to reduce migration by 300,000 a year, mean a UK citizen must have an income of at least £38,700 to obtain a visa for their foreign spouse.
Raising the income threshold from an existing £18,600 to above the national average salary, the move has been criticised by former Tory minister Gavin Barwell as a “morally wrong and unconservative” situation where “only the wealthiest can fall in love, marry someone, and then bring them to the UK”.
These new visa rules mean that Whitaker-Yilmaz and Medet, a Turkish national, would be dependent on her income remaining over £38,700.