UK Immigration prevents Thai wife from joining British husband

Ben leads a protest in Esher on September 6, with dad Andrew back right (Image: Darren Pepe)
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Home Office decision to deny Cobham man’s Thai wife and daughter entry to UK bringing family to ‘breaking point’

The Home Office explained the refusal by saying the British public have made it clear they want to see a reduction in net migration.

A distressed husband has hit out at the Home Office spouse visa system after his Thai wife of eight years was denied residence in the UK.

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Andrew Dickson, of Cobham in Surrey, was told in March 2016 that wife Supalak would not be permitted into the UK due to insufficient funds in his bank account.

The couple have two children, both British citizens, and the refusal means that Mr Dickson has not seen his wife or daughter Faith, almost three, for more than a year.

“My right to a UK family life has been tragically disrupted and brought our family to breaking point. It’s an absolute disgrace,” Mr Dickson said.

“I feel betrayed, I cannot understand it.”

Then-Home Secretary Theresa May launched reforms to migration laws in July 2012. Part of the changes stated that only those earning at least £18,600 per year would be able to bring a spouse or partner into the UK, to avoid applicants becoming a “burden on the taxpayer”.

The Home Office calculated that Mr Dickson required £62,500 in his bank account to allow for a shortfall in income to be made up from cash savings. Documents show the requirement as £18,600 x 2.5 + £16,000.

However, UK Visas and Immigration papers show that at the time of applying for the spouse visa he had £59,931 in his bank accounts in the previous six months.

Supalak, Faith and Ben Dickson (Image: Andrew Dickson)

Mr Dickson, 44, insists he did have the required amount but a problem transferring funds resulted in the shortfall. Now he is unable to raise the necessary money.

Although Mr Dickson, a handyman and former DJ, owns his house in Cobham, he says the current migration laws do not take this into account.

“I have been a self-employed handyman since February 2015 but due to the family disruption and being my six-year-old son Benjamin’s main carer I have been unable to concentrate fully on my career,” he said.

“Luckily I have no mortgage making my life a lot less complicated financially.”

Mr Dickson says he refuses to claim benefits despite a low income. He went on to highlight that during his time living in Thailand he offered his Cobham property at a reduced rental rate to the homeless charity Elmbridge Rentstart.

Andrew Dickson staged a protest in Esher on September 6 to highlight the issue (Image: Darren Pepe)

He added: “My 76-year-old father William now lives alone, and wishes his son, grandson, granddaughter and daughter-in-law were here in the UK and very much part of his retired life.

“On past visits to the UK Supalak and Faith have regularly visited him, attending a local bingo night together.”

To compound the issue Mr Dickson says the Home Office will not issue a tourist visa for 40-year-old Mrs Dickson, as four have been issued in the past ten years.

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “The British public have been clear that they want to see a reduction in net migration and that is what this government is delivering.

“We continue to welcome the foreign partners and children of those settled in the UK but it’s important that they can stand on their own feet financially.

“The Supreme Court has endorsed our approach in setting an income threshold for family migration that prevents burdens being placed on taxpayers and ensures migrant families can integrate into our communities.”

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