South Hornchurch immigration row mum to march on parliament
14:56 12 August 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
A mum will lead a protest outside Parliament against immigration laws that prevent partners from outside the EU being granted a visa unless the British citizen earns more than £18,000 a year.
Jessie Benchrifa, 29, of Hood Road, South Hornchurch, will lead 100-plus protestors to Parliament on August 23 to stand up for scores of people separated from their loved ones. Mrs Benchrifa faced bringing up her son alone. But, following a struggle, she was able to prove that her yearly earnings exceed the £18,600 that the 2012 law requires for a non-EU partner to be granted a visa. But others, she said, are not so fortunate.
“Forty-seven per cent of people in the UK do not earn the requirement and it keeps families apart,” she said.
“One lady I know has two children under four with her husband but he’s never met her second child and was only able to watch his son being born on Skype.
“They met while he was living over here but he was unable to stay because she, as a single mother, did not meet the financial requirements.
“I am lucky enough to meet the financial requirement, but if the rules change again I could be without my husband and my son will be without his father.
“They say that these immigrants are burdens but my husband works six days a week and pays taxes. He puts money into the system.”
Kelly Coleby, 24, of Pitsea, Essex, faces her husband being deported because she does not earn enough. She teamed up with Mrs Benchrifa to organise the protest. “Me and my husband got married last year so we can spend the rest of our lives together. We can’t let the government get in the way of this,” she said.