A prominent former Derbyshire county council leader has been given the best possible birthday present – a settlement visa for his wife.
Well-known local figure David Bookbinder celebrated his 69th birthday recently with the knowledge that his new wife Wang Yi is able to live in the UK.
Mr Bookbinder and his Chinese wife Wang Yi were married just over three months ago, yet since then the couple have been forced to live thousands of miles apart while their application for a UK marriage visa was dragged through the process.
Wang Yi was originally a work colleague of Mr Bookbinder on a UK business visa and the couple were required to spend many thousands of pounds on the 300-page application and travel between the UK and Yi’s home in Beijing in order to satisfy the strict UK settlement visa requirements, a particularly stringent process since the sham marriage loopholes have been tightened up.
Mr Bookbinder has struggled with a number of health issues and strongly believes his new wife has given him a whole new lease of life. He said, “In 2008, I spent Christmas Day on a plane to Beijing having been told I only had months to live. I was convinced I could never be happy again, but lo and behold, I’ve been proved wrong – today I am very happy.”
The couple had been able to convince the authorities involved in their application to bring Wang Yi’s settlement visa interview forward to potentially enable her to join her husband on his birthday. They were both delighted that the spousal visa was granted and plan to have a double celebration!
Mr Bookbinder added, “As soon as she was off the plane I surprised her by taking her out for a meal. For my birthday we’ve invited some Chinese friends who helped us with the visa applications. It’s been a frustrating few months but now I’m happy. The only sad news is that I’ve had to kick both my cats out of bed!”