Today’s Guest Blog is from David Walker from the United Kingdom. David wrote an article regarding the process of meeting his wife and bringing her to live in the UK. It’s quite an ordeal! Thank you very much for making the effort of writing the article, David, and all the best of luck to you and your family! -Bob
May I introduce myself, my name is David Walker, 40 years old white British male ex military (French foreign legion).
I only joined because of the French cuisine, frog legs and snails and not forgetting the white ice cream hat which was made famous in an old Laurel & Hardy film back in the 1930’s.
I have spent the past five years either in Iraq and Afghanistan working for security companies and recently return from Kabul where I have many Filipino friends working for a number of foreign companies out there.
I first met Annaliza in Dubai at the airport terminal 2 and within a few minutes on first meeting each other was in argument with Egyptian taxi driver why “he didn’t like Americans”. Don’t get me wrong Dubai a great place with fantastic hotels, restaurants and shopping for all and welcome western culture to a limit. But seem to have too many anti western taxi drivers.
Annaliza had been working in Dubai for 3 years and was paid well for a Filipino in Dubai she still had to rent and live with many Filipinos and her last room she shared was with 4 other girls. My view is that Filipinos are not paid well in Dubai and work long hours but are always smart and friendly and it’s a shame that employers in Dubai and elsewhere don’t give them more credit with better wages.
Even in Kabul Afghanistan many Filipino are working here some for good western companies and other not so good. Many working long hours and travelling in sub standard vehicles on very dangerous roads with little or no security. A Filipino female friend of mine was murdered in May 07, and her body was thrown down a well. She was murdered by the company driver and another both locals because they know she had been recently paid. She was due to return home to the Philippines. One of the main problems when recruiting locals in Kabul is they do not check them for pass history or security checks some companies turn a blind eye on this matter (cheap labour).
Annaliza was at the time working for a freight company in Dubai and she arranged the transportation off the coffin back to the Philippines. It turn out that the woman who was murdered was working for an Indian company and had no written contract with them.
Getting Annaliza to the UK was no easy matter first she’d applied for tourist visa and was refused on the grounds she wasn’t earning enough money in Dubai. I had to contact the UK Embassy in Dubai and informed that she is my Girlfriend. I would sponsor her whilst she was in the UK for the grand total of six days. I had to provide letter from my employer, six months bank statements and pay slips. I find it very strange that Annaliza was employed with employers letter to travel and had savings with return ticket on Emirates and was only visiting for six days but still refused her tourist visa, anyway the visa cost 142 USD.
Then we planned to get married in the UK that’s where the paperwork starts for both of us. You need to apply for fiancée visa which cost 1000 USD you cannot marry without this visa in the UK. The fiancée visa allows you to stay for six months in which time you must marry or leave the country. You cannot work or claim any public funds the sponsor must provide them with accommodation and funds whilst they are in the UK. Both of us need to provide proof of address in UK, bank details for six months, employer letter and Annaliza even needed letter from employer in Dubai allow her to leave the UAE.
Once we were both in UK, we had to contact our local register office and book interview for marriage. At the interview Annaliza had to provide proof of visa, proof we are both living together and date and place of marriage. And I had to provide proof that I was divorce it’s called final decree absolute in the UK. Then you are separately interview asking question about each other.
You need to pay a small fee about 30 pounds for the service and your details are displayed for 16 days the reason for this any person wishing to voice concern over the marriage may do so within the 16 days that’s the law in England and Wales.
Then the register office will post you the paperwork off marriage which is valid for one year from date posted. And on the day of the wedding you will receive your marriage license signed by marriage officials, Bride and Groom and 2 witnesses.
Then you have to contact the home office immigration visa department and book interview for marriage visa and get them to send you the visa form. You can send the form back with the marriage license and both passports it will take up to 8 weeks and will cost about 390 pounds for the marriage visa. Or you can book interview and go to your nearest visa office and get your passport stamped the same day cost of marriage visa 595 pounds for the express service. Please note you both need to attend the interview providing proof off marriage, and again all the details you had to provide when we both applied for fiancée visa.
Annaliza was given limited resident permit until 2010 and after two years she will be granted permanent resident visa after passing the exam.
At the moment her visa will allow her to work but cannot claim any public funds and even if she wishes to travel to any European country Annaliza would need to apply for visa.
And if you wish to apply for British citizenship normally you will have to wait up to 8 years and now you must do a citizenship test. And the question are not easy most Brits wouldn’t pass today, like how many members are there in the welsh assembly and when was the dog license abolish.
And having gone through all of this, I still have Filipino friends still talking rubbish one claiming her (hubby) can get her UK passport even without her living in the UK and taking the citizenship test. Another claiming she can work on tourist visa and now she’s back in the Philippines.
We both now live in a small market town called Ramsey about 88 miles north of London in the part of the UK called the Fenlands. Ramsey dates back to the 6th century and the fenlands were drained in the 16th century by Dutch engineers reclaiming good farming land back from the marsh lands.
Annaliza now works for BUPA in a nursing home in Ramsey with other Filipinos and was told the other day by the Grand Aunty (big boss) filipino here in Ramsey. There’s 70 filipinos living in Ramsey most work either in the nursing home or at the local turbine engineering company. It won’t be long before I see a Red Ribbon cake shop and Jollibee on the high street and a Jeepney. Annaliza likes the UK from experiencing blowing smoke from her mouth when it’s cold here and a recent trip to Morocco Atlas Mountings and see snow for the first time and not forgetting her favourite shop in the UK Marks & Spencers.
I have been to Philippines twice and back in May 2008 had our honeymoon in Boracay. It’s a very nice place and I love blue marlin fish. I have tried most of the supermarket in UK and do not sell it. Then the penny dropped, it’s like asking a cod and chips in Boracay. I remember my first trip to the Philippines and we stayed in Subic. We planned to go to Baguio thru Victory Liner, Big mistake. Never in my life that I have take the bus that stop for every cow and chicken on route. We got as far as Tarlac before I got off. We spend the night in a lovely hotel. Even though I love seafood, I’m not too keen on eating “tuyo” in English too yuck to eat.
I hope that this will be an eye opener to anyone who wish to come to UK and thinking that it’s easy because they have a UK boyfriend but it’s not the case. Late this year the government will change the rule again and making it much harder with all applicants outside the European Union will need a finger print and photo visa to enter the UK.