Young couple appeal decision

Published: 16/06/2011

The recurring problem resulting from the age rules for married couples where one party is a foreign national has yet again caused upset.
Young married couple Grant and Katie Swift, from Wakefield in Yorkshire, UK, are facing considerable issues regarding staying together in the UK, with American citizen Mrs Swift likely to be forced to return to the US.
Mrs Swift is 21 years old and Mr Swift turned 20 on 24th June, but as they are not both 21 years old or over, Katie is still being classed as a visitor to the UK, even though she and Grant have been married for more than six months, and Grant is a UK citizen. The couple met in Florida in 2009 and we married in the UK in November 2010.
With the UK marriage visa law currently stating that both parties must be aged 21 years or over, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) rules that Katie is unable to gain a UK spouse visa, even though she and Grant are married. This also means that Katie is not entitled to visit an NHS doctor or work legally. Katie said, “We have a lawyer trying to help us but we’re losing hope now. There is nothing I will be able to do to come back until Grant is 21.”
As it stands, this means that Katie will have to be out of the UK until June 2012, when Grant reaches his 21st birthday, but Grant feels this infringes their human rights. He added, “Katie is so important to me and I couldn’t imagine things any other way now. We were allowed to get married but we’re not allowed to start married life together, it seems crazy and completely unfair.”
However, this does not seem to be the view held by Home Secretary Theresa May, who has received an appeal from the couple to allow them to stay together in the UK and for Katie to obtain the right to stay. Seemingly the appeal has been turned down on the grounds that the couple have ‘not established a family life’ and that it would therefore ‘would not be detrimental’ for Katie to go back to the US.
As the couple meet all the legal requirements to have a right to stay in the UK as a married couple except for Grant’s age, they have again appealed against the decision in light of the April 2010 legal amendment that stated that ‘clear exceptional compassionate circumstances’ could overturn a decision.

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