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‘It is derogatory’ — UK man kept apart from Kenyan wife because of low earnings

Posted In Diaspora, Lifestyle - By admin on Sunday, July 14th, 2013 With No Comments »

A heartbroken husband who has fought for almost two years to bring his wife to the UK claims immigration laws discriminate against working class people.

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The family together in Kenya.

James McAllister, 50, of Kirkcaldy, wed Vera Akinyi, 32, in a ceremony in her native Kenya in August 2011.

They remain separated by more than 4,500 miles as supermarket employee Mr McAllister’s wages fall short of UK Border Agency requirements.

Before a UK citizen can bring a spouse into the country from outside the EU they need to earn an annual salary of at least £18,600 to support them. Those also bringing a child need to prove an income of £22,400.

Former Black Watch soldier Mr McAllister, who desperately wants Vera and her six-year-old son Steve to come to Scotland and live with him, said: “It is derogatory to working class people that because you don’t earn enough you can’t be with your spouse.

“I have tried every legal avenue to get her here but I keep getting knocked back and told I haven’t got the earnings.

“The Government says it doesn’t want people being a burden on the taxpayer, but I would be supporting my wife. I support her already.

“I’m sure I’m not the only person in the country suffering like this. Every time I speak to Vera on the phone I feel so bad, it is difficult keeping a brave face.”

The couple met when Mr McAllister visited Kenya. They married on August 20 2011, at a ceremony in a restaurant in the capital Nairobi.

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James McAllister.

Mrs Akinyi-McAllister has been unable even to visit her husband.

He has made several trips to see her and his step-son in their home city of Ongata Rongai.

Mr McAllister said: “I go and visit her as much as I can afford it. Last year I went twice and I went in May, this year. I hope to go again in December. I haven’t even had a Christmas with them yet, never mind anything else.”

A Home Office spokesman explained the £18,600 earnings threshold for British citizens wishing to sponsor a spouse visa for their partner was recommended by the migratory advisory committee as the level at which a couple generally cease to be able to access income-related benefits.

He said: “We welcome those who wish to make a life in the UK with their family, work hard and make a contribution but family life must not be established here at the taxpayers’ expense.

“British citizens can enter into a relationship with whomever they choose but if they want to establish their family life here, they must do so in a way which works in the best interests of our society.”

-The Courier

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