UK man separated from Kenyan wife because of discrimination laws


A heartbroken husband who has fought for almost two years to bring his wife to the UK claims immigration laws discriminate against working class people.


James McAllister, 50, of Kirkcaldy, wed Vera Akinyi, 32, in a ceremony in her native Kenya in August 2011.

They remain separated by more than 4,500 miles as supermarket employee Mr McAllister’s wages fall short of UK Border Agency requirements.

Before a UK citizen can bring a spouse into the country from outside the EU they need to earn an annual salary of at least £18,600 to support them. Those also bringing a child need to prove an income of £22,400.

Former Black Watch soldier Mr McAllister, who desperately wants Vera and her six-year-old son Steve to come to Scotland and live with him, said: “It is derogatory to working class people that because you don’t earn enough you can’t be with your spouse.

“I have tried every legal avenue to get her here but I keep getting knocked back and told I haven’t got the earnings.

“The Government says it doesn’t want people being a burden on the taxpayer, but I would be supporting my wife. I support her already.

“I’m sure I’m not the only person in the country suffering like this. Every time I speak to Vera on the phone I feel so bad, it is difficult keeping a brave face.”

The couple met when Mr McAllister visited Kenya. They married on August 20 2011, at a ceremony in a restaurant in the capital Nairobi.

Mrs Akinyi-McAllister has been unable even to visit her husband.

He has made several trips to see her and his step-son in their home city of Ongata Rongai.

Mr McAllister said: “I go and visit her as much as I can afford it. Last year I went twice and I went in May, this year. I hope to go again in December. I haven’t even had a Christmas with them yet, never mind anything else.”

A Home Office spokesman explained the £18,600 earnings threshold for British citizens wishing to sponsor a spouse visa for their partner was recommended by the migratory advisory committee as the level at which a couple generally cease to be able to access income-related benefits.

He said: “We welcome those who wish to make a life in the UK with their family, work hard and make a contribution but family life must not be established here at the taxpayers’ expense.

“British citizens can enter into a relationship with whomever they choose but if they want to establish their family life here, they must do so in a way which works in the best interests of our society.”

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