A newly-wed couple, who are expecting their first child together shortly, are reportedly being kept apart by UK visa rules.
Ian Wooton, a football coach from Bromley, and his Filipino wife Sunshine, met while Sunshine was in the UK on a six-month visitors visa. They then returned together to the Philippines in October of last year where they were married. Sunshine is now seven-months pregnant.
Understandably the couple are keen to be together. However, Mr Wooton falls short of the annual minimum earning requirement to sponsor his wife and her 18-month-old son on a UK spouse visa.
He is facing additional complications because he is self-employed and needs to show extensive savings to meet all of the immigration requirements.
Mr Wooton spoke to the Evening Standard about the situation: “We don’t want to claim benefits, we just want to be together. It’s heartbreaking. My only option is to liquidate everything I’ve got, which is incredibly risky, but what choice do I have?”
UK immigration regulations differ depending on family circumstances, but the minimum income requirement for sponsoring a partner on a spouse visa is an annual income of £18,600. However, if a child is involved, this increases to £22,400, with a further £2,400 required for each additional child.
Many people have suggested that the income restrictions are disproportionally affecting children, with many stories emerging of families who have been kept apart as a result of not meeting the income thresholds.