Former Royal Marine and actively serving bodyguard to the Queen, Simon Milne MBE, was left seething in early December 2017 after his French wife of 24 years saw her application for UK permanent residency rejected. Mr Milne, who has served in Bosnia and Northern Ireland, says that his wife Francoise now fears for her right to remain in the UK post-Brexit.
Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment:
Uk Visa requirements are very confusing. Home Office guidance is overly complicated and difficult to understand. Forms are unnecessarily long. It is far too easy to make a mistake in an application leading to a refusal of a visa application.
It seems possible if not likely that long term EU citizens of the UK will be given permanent residence anyway. We will see.
Francoise Milne, 50, and a mum-of-three, filed an application for UK permanent residency – properly known as indefinite leave to remain – following the UK government’s failure to clarify the rights of EU citizens in the UK in the aftermath of Brexit. However, Mrs Milne’s application was refused on the grounds that she could not provide proof of ‘self-sufficiency.’
Mr Milne, who is a chief executive of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, described the decision as ‘extraordinary.’ The ex-Marine, one of the 27 Gentleman at Arms responsible for guarding the Queen on royal occasions, said: “With the uncertainty currently surrounding Brexit, my wife decided to apply for UK permanent residency.”
“She has supported me through my entire career with the Royal Marines and now in my current role. I am utterly flabbergasted by this ruling, I am angry and frustrated. I can only hope that it is an unintended oversight,” Mr Milne added.
Local MP writes to government ministers to overturn decision
Mr and Mrs Milne’s local MP, Deidre Brock, has since written to government officials and raised the case in a recent Commons debate, in a bid to get the decision overturned.
Francoise Milne said: “The decision left me feeling cut in half. My children were crying. I’ve never felt the need to claim dual-nationality before because I move about freely and work unobstructed in the UK. Now it feels like a lot of freedom has gone.”
Mrs Milne claims that her application for UK permanent residency was denied because of self-sufficiency issues, and despite doing a ‘bit of upholstery work’, she was mostly dependent on her husband financially.
Being married to a Brit not taken into account
Mrs Milne claims that the Home Office has totally disregarded the fact that she is married to a British man, saying that they view it as ‘irrelevant’, which she found difficult to believe.
A UK permanent residency card is issued by the Home Office and enables people to remain in the UK for a time-limited duration. However, the cards will no longer be valid once Britain leaves the bloc.
According to the UK government, a new scheme will be introduced that will allow EU nationals, along with their family members, to apply to remain in the UK following the country’s exit from the European Union.
Hostility towards EU citizens grows
Mrs Milne’s case is just one of many to emerge in the 18 months since Britain’s vote to leave the EU, highlighting a growing hostility towards EU nationals. In November, workpermit.com reported that the Home Office’s UK Visa and Immigration department was issuing letters to EU citizens ‘advising’ them to ‘go home or go elsewhere.’
Despite intense pressure, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, has so far resisted making any promises to maintain the rights of EU nationals in the UK, until the future of UK citizens across the remaining EU member states is secured.
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