‘Coronavirus has paralysed us’: Families face being split as they no longer meet visa income requirement

May Bulman 7 hrs ago

Aisha* hasn’t slept properly in three weeks. The Turkish national moved to the UK with her British husband Jack and their two teenage children two and a half years ago and they have built a happy life in a village in Scotland, but the family risk being ripped apart because they no longer meet Home Office rules due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 51-year-old was a textile merchandiser in Turkey and now has a business selling products in the UK, but she has had to halt sales due to the lockdown. Jack, 65, has meanwhile been dismissed from his role as an exam invigilator, leaving the family with a dramatically reduced income.

This loss of work means Aisha is no longer able to meet the Home Office’s minimum income requirement for spouse visas – introduced in 2012 as part of the government’s hostile environment for immigrants – which stipulates that the applicant and their partner must have jointly earned a salary of at least £18,600 per annum.

“When I found out my husband had lost his job it felt like there was a big ball of fire in my body,” Aisha told The Independent. ”I’m so worried I can’t sleep. My children are worried. They say mum, we can’t live without you. I’m terrified they will come and deport me and I will no longer be here with them. It would devastate us as a family.”

“Both of us are qualified. We both have university degrees, but under these circumstances nobody wants to employ you. Our income is already drying up. The coronavirus has paralysed us.”

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