HUNGER STRIKE AGAINST BRITISH IMMIGRATION LAW
Ian Dodkins by himself:
Imagine this scenario: You’re a British citizen born and bred. You’ve gone abroad beyond Europe, fallen in love, lived together for a couple of years and happily had kids with the person you love. Eventually you decide you want to come home, to your own country, and bring back your partner and kids, that mean the world to you… Only to be told that under current British Emigration Law you cannot bring your partner and kids to the UK. The law says that only Europeans that have married non Europeans can bring their families back to UK. Sounds absurd doesn’t it? Barbaric and racist even. This happened to me. At England. On the 21th century.
My name is Ian Dodkins and I am a British research scientist, obliged by UK Emigration Law to be apart from my family. I’m going on hunger strike until British people have the same right to enter the UK as Europeans. I shall not eat or drink anything except water until I die or this issue is raised in parliament. I have tried all I could but people don’t see the destruction it is causing in people’s lives. I start today, November 26th.
I’m sorry Sara, I did all I could. But it wasn’t enough. I can’t handle spending one more day without watching our daughter grow. This injustice cannot continue.
I lived in Portugal for 6 years. Whilst there I dated an Angolan woman that has lived in Portugal for 22 years. We lived together for around 2 ½ years and had a child together that has British nationality.
When the crisis occurred we were hit so, so badly that I left and came to the UK to find work. What I initially thought is that I was European, and thus had Freedom of Movement within Europe. Under this legislation you can travel to another European country with your partner if you have lived together for more than 2 years.
However, under British Emigration Law, British people are not European.
The requirements for British people is much more stringent:
1. Must be married
2. British resident must have minimum income of 18600 plus 3800 for 1st child and 2400 for subsequent children
3. Wife/Husband must be able to speak English
Sara is not fluent in English and the authorities said it is a problem. Plus we are not married: she has been trying to get divorced for 5 years, but she was married in the Angolan Embassy in Portugal. Angola is very bureaucratic and quite corrupt. We have spent considerably money and she’s still is not divorced. But even if she gets the divorce and we could marry, she cannot enter UK because her English is too poor. This effectively ensures that wives/husbands of British people will be separated from them if they don’t speak English.
British people can normally not use the European Law to enter the UK, although due to a famous case, they can enter via the Surinder Singh route. This allows non-EU wives/husbands of British people to enter if they lived in Europe together.
We did apply for this, but the visa application was rejected because you must be married if you are British. Non-British Europeans do not have to be married to their partners to enter the UK (just need evidence that they have lived together for two years). How fair is this?
If we do eventually manage to get married, I would have to leave and live in Europe again if I wanted to try and enter under the Surinder Singh route (because of the time since entering the UK). Both general visitor and family visitor visas have been refused; indeed, the government have now removed the right of appeal for family visitor visas so they can make arbitrary decisions to prevent people coming in to the UK (there is still an appeal under Human Rights legislation, but this process is far longer and far more costly).
The whole process has cost me precious time away from my family, a lot of money in visa applications and getting documents for these applications. Last time I visited my family (in October) my daughter was just starting to walk. On returning, when my daughter hears my voice on the phone or Skype, she looks around the apartment for me, and then waits outside my bedroom thinking that I will come out. My partner is now taking medication for depression.
Impotence. When I left Portugal during the crisis we really did not have enough money to give a noble life. I fear going back there. I also feel angry about being forced out of the UK because I am British rather than European. I chose a hunger strike to have a real representation of the daily suffering I have with not being able to be with my young daughter or partner.
I just want British people to realise how dangerous it can be starting a family in Europe if they ever need to return. There is no real Free Movement for British citizens in Europe because of the action of our own government.
Principally, people can support the campaign by signing this petition:
PS. Europeans don’t have to marry to bring their partners into the UK. It has to be a durable (>2 yr) relationship.