Yorkshire Family Reunited after 3 year Immigration Battle


A Yorkshireman’s fight to reunite his family has ended, after his ten year old Indonesian stepson was finally granted the right to live in the UK.

Gemah Fletcher, whose mother Ana married pub manager John Fletcher in 2009, has been stuck in limbo ever since John was told by UK immigration authorities that he was unable to support a family of 4 on his £18 600 salary.

The family had a daughter, Aisha, together in 2012 and opted to return to England that year, but changes to visa requirements and the removal of legal aid for immigration cases left the family 6000 miles apart with no support for their cause.

In the end, John found the support of lawyers at Simpson Millar, whose head of immigration in Leeds, Emma Brooksbank, took up the Fletchers’ case. “John’s story is not that unusual. Families that are looking to make their way and contribute to UK society are rejected because the rules are so restrictive and the financial requirements are so high."

“In this case John failed the ‘Financial Requirements Test' in Gemah’s application for a visa. The test is unfair because it doesn’t include accommodation allowances and John receives free accommodation as part of his employment. He also has his utility bills paid; these 2 things represent a considerable portion of anyone’s income. ”

Gemah was finally reunited with his mother, step-father and half-sister in Huddersfield in February, but only after the passing of John’s grandmother left him with an inheritance that was allowable by the authorities.

Despite working full time and earning a good salary, John had a £3,800 shortfall in his income. Applicants are able to use savings to make up this shortfall, but the kinds of figures the government requires are out of reach for most working families. John feared that they would be out of reach for his family.

John gave thanks to Emma for her expertise. “We couldn’t have done this without our lawyers, and while that doesn’t speak kindly of the system which kept us all apart for so long, I am grateful for Emma’s assistance.”

Emma Brooksbank adds: “The UK’s immigration policies have changed over a number of years and now we have a set of rules that are very difficult to satisfy, very strictly applied with little discretion, common sense or compassion."

“Whilst people may have a right to appeal, it could take nine months for the appeal to go through. And when you are talking about families that are separated, it’s not reasonable for them to be apart for such a long period of time.”

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