UK spouse visa mixup keeps young family apart

27 Sep 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A mixup over income levels has meant that a UK spouse visa application was delayed and a young father kept away from his wife and young son.

Shelley Hornby-Baaouani, 28, met her husband, 26-year-old Walid, while she was holidaying in his native country back in 2011. Travelling back and forth between the two countries helped the pair to build a relationship together and the couple eventually married and decided to start a family.

Upon finding out about Shelley's pregnancy they decided to found a stable home together in England, near Shelley's workplace in Luton. They applied for a UK spouse visa, for which they met the qualifications, but a mixup at the Home Office meant that Walid was unable to move to be with his wife and son as the application was erroneously rejected and his move delayed.

The rejection came in spite of the fact that Shelley's job meant that she met the new £18,600 income threshold. Shelley contacted the Bedford Times and Citizen, as well as an immigration lawyer, for help with their situation.

She told the paper: “If my husband hadn’t been able to come here I would have been forced to give up my £20,000 a year job and go part time, if that had even been an option. I would have had to claim benefits.

“There has been a lot going on with Facebook, and three other girls who are in the same situation as us got the same letter. It didn’t say congratulations or anything like that - all it said was that they have withdrawn the original decision.”

There has been little communication from the Home Office on the matter but a spokesperson did state that the income threshold has been “calculated as the level at which a couple generally ceases to be able to access income related benefits”.