Galashiels man attacks “heartless” UK government for forcing brother to live apart from wife

A Galashiels man has expressed anger at a “heartless” UK Government proposal which he says is forcing his brother and wife to live separately.
June & Marcus on their wedding day.June & Marcus on their wedding day.
June & Marcus on their wedding day.

A record 464 people in the constituency of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk have already signed a petition calling on the government not to adopt a huge increase in the income requirement to acquire a UK legal migration visa.

The UK government is proposing to raise the cost of the visa from £18,600 to £38,700 by early next year.

Ministers say the move is a bid to curb migration numbers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But Titus Alexander’s says it is having a devastating impact on his brother Marcus and his Taiwanese wife June.

The couple married in March last year after meeting in Edinburgh a decade ago.

Now June has returned to Taiwan after her visa ran out and the increase in the costs casts a shadow over the couple’s future together.

Titus, who is receiving support from Borders MP John Lamont, said: “She is depressed about the whole thing, with feeling that she is not wanted here. They have been together ten years and it is a serious relationship.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“My brother is retired, he is 70, so he doesn’t have a big income, he was a freelance photographer and then a care worker and he’s thinking he might have to go back to care work at his age.

“They were saving and just about had enough for the existing visa but they are devastated at this increase. He had saved enough for them to live together under the current rules. Now this heartless government is forcing him to live apart or leave the country.

“The Minister, Tom Pursglove, does not seem to know the difference between a spouse and a migrant worker. One is a bond of love, the other a contractual relationship.

“I wonder how many workers earn more than £38,700: the average salary in Scottish Borders is £29,708 per year. Salaries in Scottish Borders are 11.01 per cent less than the national average of £33,384.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Given that entry level positions in nursing start at £31,200 per year, teaching at £30,000, junior doctors basic pay can start at about £30,000, while engineers start at over £34,000, a minimum general salary of £38,700 would be a big boost for many skilled workers, particularly in the Borders.

“I have asked John Lamont to ask the Prime Minister and Chancellor what they would do if forced to choose between living apart or leaving the country, since they both have foreign-born wives, but we all know its one rule for the rich and another for everyone else.”

In a response to Mr Lamont, Mr Pursglove said: “We will bring this threshold into line with the new minimum general salary threshold for skilled workers, which is currently £38,700.

“This will ensure people only bring dependants to the UK they can support financially.”