British-Syrian appeals to the government to allow her husband to come to the UK


Original post from Wales Online

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British-Syrian Amira and her husband fled Syria because of the war – but because of immigration rules they’re stuck miles apart

Amira with her son Jude
Amira with her son Jude

A British-Syrian woman living on Barry Island has appealed to the UK authorities to allow her family – split up by the Syrian war – to be reunited.

Mother-of-one Amira, who has asked us not to use her surname to protect her husband’s safety, had begun her married life with a Syrian man in the country’s capital Damascus after the war began.

Problems with getting their marriage registered, doubled by the fact that her husband didn’t want to fight for the Syrian government led by Bashar Al-Assad, meant the couple have had to leave the country.

But while Amira, 24, is now living with her one-year-old son Jude in Barry Island, Ahmed, 29, is stuck in the Turkish city of Izmir.

‘He loves Syria and he never thought to move to the UK’

“My son has been taking my tablet, which I speak to my husband on, and he kisses him on it. That’s wrong,” said Amira, who asked us not to use her last name. “Why should he have to live like that?”

Amira, 24, was born in England and had spent her teenage years in Egypt. She had been working in Leeds when the man who would become her husband, Ahmed, got in touch with her on Facebook.

Amira with her son Jude aged one who is appealing to the UK Government to allow her family to be reunited
Amira with her son Jude aged one who is appealing to the UK Government to allow her family to be reunited

“When we started our relationship we never had the idea of him coming here. He loves Syria, and it never ever came across his mind to move to the UK,” she said.

Amira went to Syria in October 2013, flying to Lebanon and crossing the border.

“Back then it was if there was no problems at all,” she said. “I crossed the border fine, I had stamps on my passport, everything was legal.”

The couple married in an Islamic religious ceremony,and Amira began volunteering at a local school.

“I loved my time in Syria,” she said. “But then I was pregnant and we had to think seriously about registering our marriage.”

‘He can’t work or sponsor the couple’

To the Syrian state, because her marriage hadn’t been registered, her son Jude would have been illegitimate. Her husband couldn’t register the marriage in a civic office as he had been called up for the Syrian army.

Her son couldn’t be registered on a family book, so couldn’t get a Syrian passport. Fearing Jude would end up stateless and the fact that Ahmed didn’t want to fight for the Assad regime, Amira flew back to the UK before giving birth to her son in August 2014, while Ahmed fled to Turkey a few months later.

Amira is appealing to the UK Government to allow her family to be reunited after her Syrian husband fled Syria for Turkey last year
Amira is appealing to the UK Government to allow her family to be reunited after her Syrian husband fled Syria for Turkey last year

Since then Amira has tried to bring her husband to the UK. Ahmed is now in Izmir, in Turkey.

But far from the city being a refuge, Amira says Ahmed can’t get registered as a refugee and has been attacked. Because he can’t become a refugee, he can’t work or sponsor the couple to come to Turkey.

The couple can’t apply for a spouse’s visa as Amira can’t meet the £18,600 a year financial criteria, while Ahmed’s English wouldn’t pass the visa’s test. But Ahmed has applied, and has been interviewed for, a visitor’s visa to the UK. They are awaiting the outcome of the process.

‘We are a genuine family’

Amira has hoped that her MP, Vale of Glamorgan Conservative Alun Cairns, may be able to point her point across to the authorities.

But he has told her he can’t intervene in the application process. Amira says her solicitor said that Mr Cairns is able to make representations, though, and she has told the MP the family intends to return to Syria once it is safe to do so.

Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns
Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns

“I understand why these new laws have been put in place,” she said, “to stop the illegitimate couples. But we are a genuine family. My son shouldn’t be punished like this.”

Vale MP Alun Cairns said: “Any immigration case requires a procedure to be followed for lawful entry into the United Kingdom. It is important that immigration rules are followed, and I am continuing to monitor the situation.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “All applications are considered on their individual merits and in accordance with the immigration rules.”

Related:

Five out of six say Wales should take refugees – but the more prosperous are more welcoming

More:

Cardiff mum whose son is trapped in war-torn Libya speaks of her anguish

Opinion:

‘Don’t be afraid’ – the words that will have charged refugees’ hearts with hope

Related:

Refugees from Syria and Afghanistan to be given sanctuary in Cardiff   …………..’

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