Immigration rules put dampener on marriage

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Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Brendan McFadden
Wilts and Glos Standard by , Reporter

CIRENCESTER man feels that UK immigration rules are set to make the early days of marriage with his bride very difficult.

Maurice McKee weds Tatjana Novkoski on August 29 in Skopje, Macedonia.

The two will then return to Cirencester where they plan to live the rest of their days together.

But before that can happen, Tatjana must travel back to Macedonia, so she can apply for a spouse’s visa which is needed if she is to stay in the country as Maurice’s wife.

She cannot apply for a spouse’s visa while living in the UK.

“The fact that she can only come here on a visitor’s passport and then has to return to Macedonia is diabolical,” said Maurice. He said some of the questions asked on the spouse’s visa application, relating to terrorist activity, were ridiculous.

For example: “Have you ever been involved in, supported or encouraged terrorist activities in any country?” And: “In times of either peace or war have you ever been involved in, or suspected of involvement in, war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide?”

Maurice said: “What self-respecting bomber would answer yes and then give a detailed account?”

He believes that questions relating to the applicant’s relationship to the sponsor could be misinterpreted and the application rejected. Some of the questions on the application include: “When did you meet your sponsor in person?” and “How often do you meet?”

He said: “They are so ambiguous. What kind of a relationship does the questionnaire envisage? A handshake, a kiss or maybe something more demonstrative?

“And of course, if you don’t tell the truth your interpretation of the question can be held against you.”

If an application is rejected another cannot be made for ten years.

In an effort to raise awareness of the problems he is encountering with UK immigration rules, Maurice has contacted councillors in the district and Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown.

Mr Clifton-Brown has said that he is sorry to hear of Maurice’s difficulties but he is unable to use his position as an MP to influence the UK visa and immigration process as it is laid down by statute.

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