Monday, 26 January 2015

My blog has moved

Hi all,

For anyone who didn't already know, my blog now has a new home at Anglo-Thai Life

Thanks for continuing to follow our story


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Baby update & stroppy midwive's

Baby latest

It's only 6 weeks until Janny's due date and I can't believe how quickly the past few months have flown by.  Nursery is all decorated, cotbed and furniture all assembled and in place, pram  & carseat arrived last week, moses basket sorted, well stocked up on nappies and the nursery is filled with way too many baby clothes, which I'm sure will probably only be used once before baby outgrows them. 

We were at the hospital for an additional scan last week (33 weeks), as Janny's previous 20 week scan showed that she had a low-lying placenta.  Initially the scan was to be a 5 minute job just to check that the placenta had moved.  However, at a recent appointment, the midwife found that the baby had not turned and so she wanted to have some additional measurements taken just in case the baby is breech later on when a cesarean may have to be an option.  Our midwife also wanted to have Janny put on the list to see a consultant to discuss her birth options, should we need to.  The original scan date was moved back a few days and we were assured that everything was arranged.  I wasn't too pleased as it meant arranging more time out of work.  Our original scan would have fitted in well with my week off.  I asked why it couldn't be done on the original scan date(it could easily), only to be told by a stroppy midwife that "the scans are not just there so you can see your baby on the screen you know! It's for medical reasons", I had to bite my tongue more than once I can tell you!!

So anyway, we arrived early for our appointment, and after waiting for almost an hour after our scheduled appointment time, we were called in.  The doctor/nurse introduced herself and says to us "so you're just here to check your placenta today?"  "Erm no! The scan was changed by the midwife last week".  I explained to her that the midwife had changed the appointment to take additional sizing info and to talk about possibly arranging an appointment to see a consultant.  "Well there's nothing in the notes about that.  I'm only supposed to be checking the placenta today".  I was starting to get wound up by now.  This was not the first time we've experienced crossed wires between the midwife/doctors/hospital (it took them 3 weeks and two appointments just to arrange a whooping cough injection for Janny).  What worried me more was what could have happened if I wasn't with Janny? No doubt they would have just gone ahead and done the 5min scan, as the new info had not been passed down the line.

After lots of note checking and a phone call to the midwife, the doctor/nurse agreed to do what we were there to do.  The good news was that the placenta has moved and baby was head down.  So all looking good.  However, the nurse did say that the baby is slightly on the small side.  That is going by the norm for our area of the country, and not taking into account that Janny is Asian.  But baby is still well within the "normal" size tolerance.  Apparently baby is very easy to move around, maybe due to his smaller size.  So with that in mind the nurse said that baby could quite possibly turn back into a breech position again before the birth.  She decided that it probably best to go ahead and arrange a consultants appointment and another scan in a couple of weeks just to keep an eye on things.  She has also arranged for a Thai interpreter to be present so that Janny can fully understand the implications and her options should baby move again.  Other than that, all is going really well.  I'm sure Janny would disagree as she's finding it hard to sleep with baby kicking hard all night.  My suggestion that she "stop whingeing" doesn't appear to help matters though.  So we're back in a couple of weeks for another scan.


Friday, 8 February 2013

New Life in the UK test from March 2013

Back in November Janny made her first attempt at the Life in the UK test (LITUK).  The test is needed when the time comes for her to apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain).  In addition she will also be required to pass a new B1 English test, which comes into effect from October this year.  But that's another story.  Anyway, I think at the time we knew it was too early for her to attempt the test as Janny had only really put in a month or so of decent study.  Janny had started looking at the study book before then, but it was not until her friend suggested that they go and sit the test together that she showed any real interest.  Not surprisingly Janny failed the test.  However, she still achieved what I considered to be a reasonable score, given the limited study she had done.  She managed 14 out of 24.  The pass rate is 18 out of 24, so she was reasonably pleased with herself.   We also both agreed that at the very least, it was good to get one test out of the way so that Janny would know what to expect for the next time. 

Over the past couple of months, all good intentions of continuing with her LITUK study have pretty much fallen by the wayside.  Some of the blame has to be put on me, as I haven't pushed Janny as much as I should have.  Her friend actually passed the test which was great for her, but also meant that Janny lost her study partner and someone to compete against. 

More recently, over the past couple of weeks it was announced that a new revised version of the LITUK test will come into effect from March 25th this year.  We knew it was coming some time this year, but we were not sure exactly when it would happen and hped it would be later rather than sooner.  At first we weren't sure what to do.  Whether to just buy the new study materials and wait until March to attempt the new test, or crack on and try and pass the current test before the cut-off.  Personally I was leaning more toward aiming for the new test, but Janny is adament that she wants to have another go at the current test.

So basically, for anyone with a partner new to the UK and they are considering starting their LITUK study, I would suggest that you get hold of a copy of the new books rather than trying to rush through the current version.

As with most matters of great importance, the UKBA again seems to be leaving it up to us to search out the information we need.  The only link I can find on the UKBA website is here.  At the momoent the new official study materials only seem to be available from the official LITUK website here

Good luck


Friday, 25 January 2013

Babies and business as usual

In my last update I told you that my wife Janny is pregnant and that she was scheduled to have her 20 week scan this month.  Well, it's been a week since the scan and I'm happy to report that all is going well.  Not only that, but we also found out the sex of the baby.  We're having a boy!!  We couldn't be happier.  Janny is especially pleased as she was hoping for a boy.  Our excitement is starting to build now as thoughts turn to baby names, planning a nursery, looking at prams, cots and everything else that we will need over the coming months.  My parents are exstatic and are becoming increasingly overprotective of Janny, constantly on the phone asking if we need anything.

Janny visited the dentist this week.  Her first appointment since she moved here.  Being pregnant she is entitled to free NHS treatment so we're making the most of it and she's booked in again next week for some minor treatment.  For anyone else in the same situation, all your wife need's to qualify for the free treatment is a form from her midwife or doctor.  We posted Janny's form but have yet to receive her exemption card.  But when Janny went to the dentist she just took along her documents from her various pregnancy scans and there was no problem. 

I also mentioned in my last post that I was due to start a new job this month.  The new job was for a competitor of ours, also owned by our parent company.  The transfer was to be much closer to home and a slightly higher salary.  Probably the biggest draw was the saving I'd make on my rediculous monthly fuel costs.  Anyway, word started to spread that I was to leave.  Each time I explained to my customers and colleagues where I was heading, I was met with concern.  They all seemed to think it was a bad move and not the most secure given the current climate.  I mostly dismissed those concerns, as the financial gain was too much to ignore.  In my view it was worth the risk, although I did have some doubts. 
Late Friday afternoon, about a week before I was due to start at my new place, my boss called me into his office.  From the start he had made it clear that he didn't want me to leave.  We had a long chat and he made me a final offer to stay.  He basically offered me an increase in salary, but more importantly the use of a company vehicle & fuel card for commuting to work.  That only really left the travelling time as an issue.  My boss told me he obviously couldn't do anything about that, but asked me to give him the extra time for all the years I'd worked with him.  He asked me to think about it over the weekend and give him an answer the following Monday.  I talked it over with Janny.  I was still tempted by the thought of being so close to home.  But with the new offer, increasing doubts about the security of the new place and knowing that we have a baby on the way, we dicided that it would be best if I stayed where I was. 

As for Janny's job.  Well, she has been on redundancy consultation for the past few months.  A couple of weeks ago she received a letter offering her the choice of taking redundancy or a reduction in hours.  Basically the loss of hours would hardly make it worth her working at all.  That and the fact that she had planned to finish for maternity leave soon anyway made it a simple choice and she will finish work next week.  Although she still wants to look for a new part-time job when the baby comes but we'll see.  My salary increase, fuel saving and the little I will be able to claim in child benefit will more than make up for what we'll lose in Janny's salary.

Other than that it's business as usual.  Janny is back to studying for her LITUK test, whereas I'll  no doubt be be brushing up on my decorating skills over the next few months :D

Create your own banner at!
Make your own banner at!

Friday, 4 January 2013

A year in the life

So Christmas and New Year are already behind us.  Over the holidays I like to take some time to reflect over the previous year.  It has been a while since I updated my blog, and looking back through some old posts, it seems hard to believe that Janny has been in the UK for over a year already.  The time has passed so quickly, and yet so much has happened within the space of that year.

Looking over A Time To Reflect, I ended that post by looking ahead to 2012 and pondering what we could expect.  Some predictions have come true, others have not quite worked out as I expected, as with most things in life.  With that in mind, I thought I'd take this chance to give a brief summary of Janny's first year in the UK. 

One of the main surprises has been just how well, and how quickly Janny has settled into life here.  Given the fact that Janny had never even visited the UK for a holiday before making the move, it was always going to be a bit of a gamble as to whether she would like it and if she would settle.  Luckily my worries about the UK weather, missing home, finding friends and just the overall culture shock have all come to nothing.  Well, nothing major anyway. 


It was late November '11 when Janny first arrived into a cold Newcastle airport.  To be honest it could have been worse.  Coming from the heat of Thailand and flying straight into a UK winter, I was expecting it to be much colder than the reasonably "warm" 11C which we arrived into.  Even our experience at immigration was relatively pain free.  The staff were very friendly and any questions they had were directed at me rather than my wife.  The weather has undoubtedly been an issue at times since then.  Some days in the colder months, or on rainy days Janny prefers to stay at home, which at times I think restricts her. But she hardly ever complains about the cold, and the dreaded heating bills which I was expecting never really materialsed.  Janny is more "kee neaow" than me when it comes to using the heating.  It may seem fairly obvious, but top of the shooping list for any wive's/girlfriend's arriving in winter should be a pair of ugg style boots, decent warm coat (or three), hat, scarf and gloves.


Janny's first few days here were spent aclimatising and doing the rounds meeting my family and friends.  She was an instant hit with my parents.  Before Janny arrived I was a little concerned that they may not warm to her, be suspisious of her intentions, or even read too much into some of the stories about Thai girls which are all too common on the internet.  But I shouldn't have worried.  My wife was accepted and welcomed by everyone she met, none more so than by my parents. After only a couple weeks my parents told me that they felt as if they had known Janny for years and considered her to be a true daughter to them.
As I have two sets of retired parents (mam & step-dad, plus dad & step-mam) Janny spends a fair amount of time with them whilst I'm at work.   Her company is in high demand, and it sometimes feels as if the parents are fighting over who can love her the most.  I think I've said it before on the blog, but this has had a major beneficial effect on my own relationship with my parents.  Before Janny arrived in the UK I guess you could say I avoided social gatherings and family occasions.  Not because of any problems in my relationship with them.  But because I often felt a little out of place without my wife being there with me.  Now that we are "complete", I (we) spend a hell of a lot more time with both sets of parents, as well as my extended family.  As a result, I finally feel like I can participate more with the family. 


Early in the new year, after a month or two of settling in, Janny started looking for some part-time work.  This proved to be a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.  She was initially looking for hotel & cleaning work, as this was what she did back in Thailand.  But with the state of the UK economy, the amount of applicants for even the most basic of cleaning jobs was ridiculous.  Everyone was chasing whatever work they could get.  It took two months of sending out CV's and application just to get one response.  Just when we thought nothing was ever going to happen, Janny had a lucky break and landed a cleaning job close to home.  It was only 6 hours a week but she was eventually offered more hours at another shop, which gave her some money of her own to do with as she pleased.  For Janny it wasn't so much the amount she earned, but more the fact that she wasn't relying on me to pay for everything and she chose to send a proportion of her money back home to her family.  Unfortunately in October the company that Janny works for started a consultation with all of the cleaning staff and it looks as though she will be made redundant early in the new year, but as it turns out that may not be such a bad thing.  More on that later.


It was through Janny's work that she was introduced to her first Thai friend since moving over here.  One day a Thai lady walked into the shop where Janny cleans and they swapped numbers.  When she first arrived in the UK, Janny was not interested in meeting any local Thai's, but now she seemed very happy that she had met this new friend.  At this point I was a little worried, but allow me to explain.  Janny is employed by a popular chain of betting shops.  Now, we've all heard the stories of Thai's blowing big money on gambling when moving here, and given that this lady had met Janny in a betting shop, this had me worried.  That was not helped when Janny told me how much her new friend was spending (and sometimes winning) in the shop.  Her friend introduced Janny to another Thai girl, who was also into the gambling in a big way.  Both friends worked at a Thai restaurant 6 days a week.  On their only day off they would spend hours in the betting shops.  Sometimes they would blow all of their wages, but other times they would win hundreds.  I was worried that Janny would be taken in by how much they were winning, and ignore the fact that they were losing just as much and more.  What worried me even more was the fact that both of the ladies husbands had no idea that this was going on.  Luckily after the first few initial meetings, Janny hardly spent any time with these friends.  When she did, it would be at home where they would spend time "yak yakking" and making Som Tam.  Both are nice girls, very friendly and its nice that Janny has other Thai's to talk to when she needs it.  But I must admit that I'm glad they have not become too close. 

Four or five months ago my wife met another Thai lady in town.  Thankfully she couldn't be more different from the other ladies.  She is a lot older and has no interest in gambling, is very hard working, and with the age difference I think Janny looks up to her as her kind of "Thai mama" figure over here.  What is nice about this lady is that, after months of me trying, and failing to get Janny to seriously start studying for the LITUK test, within a few days of meeting, her new friend was encouraging her to complete it with her.  It was the push Janny needed to knuckle down, and it took another Thai to get her to do it. 

In addition to her Thai friends, I'm also pleased that Janny has made some good farang friends too.  One friend in particular, a gay guy, has been really good for her.  He has a foreign husband and has also been encouraging Janny to study for the LITUK test, which his partner has just passed.  I think it's very important for Janny, and other Thai's, not to fall into the trap of only mixing with Thai friends.  This helps them to integrate more.

Lowest & highest point

Our lowest point since Janny's arrival came just after she started work back in March.  During the months when it was proving so hard to find work, we began trying to for a baby.  A week or two before Janny landed her job, we discovered that she was pregnant.  We were both so happy and just couldn't keep the news to ourselves and we told my family almost immediately.  Unfortunately our happiness was shortlived and within a few weeks Janny suffered a miscarriage.  I was totally gutted, as was Janny.  But she bounced straight back and just carried on with life.

The weeks and months that followed were hard.  Paticularly waiting for the first "time of the month" after the miscarriage.  Janny was determined to start trying again as soon as possible.  It was almost 7 weeks before that time came and it didn't get any easier after that.  Janny's menstral cycle was all over the place for months.  There was no pattern to it and each time she was late by a week or two it gave us false hope that she was pregnant again. 

After five months of trying, we came to the decision that if she did not conceive soon, then we would give up.  It was killing me to see Janny's disappointment each time she did a negative test.  The plan was that she would go on the pill, we would book a trip to Thailand and then start trying again after that holiday.  However, as we entered September and our hopes faded, we finally discovered that Janny was pregnant again. 

At first I wasn't sure what to feel about the news.  I was obviously happy.  But that feeling was overshadowed by a total fear that the same thing would happen again.  I didn't want to allow myself to hope that things would be different this time.  We didn't tell anyone until the week of Janny's first scan.  In the early weeks leading up to that I couldn't bring myself to watch any TV adverts for baby products and we tried not to think, or talk about the pregnancy.  Waiting for the first scan appointment was a nightmare.  When Janny miscarried earlier in the year, she had to have a scan to confirm it.  So this time we were obviously very nervous about the appointment.  Thankfully everything was fine and we have relaxed a lot more now that she is further on and out of the "danger zone".  We've had a couple of midwife appointments since and have another scan booked for mid-January which is when we can find out the sex of the baby.  Janny really wants a boy but after losing the first one I really don't mind either way, just as long as everything is fine and healhy.  I still can't really allow myself to relax, and I'm trying not to look too far ahead.  But hopefully we have had our share of bad luck and everthing will be fine.  The baby is another reason why we're not too concerned about Janny being made redundant too.  She'll be around 5 months when she's due to finish work, so the timing probably works out quite well anyway.  Baby is due early June, two days after my Dad's 60th birthday so he's hoping for a special birthday present from Janny this year :)

How to make the move a success?

This is a difficult one to answer.  I don't think there can ever be a defined set of rules or guidelines to follow, as each individual has there own set of circumstances.  What's good for one couple may not necessarily be good for another.  However, for us, or more specifically for Janny, the following factors have all been key to her having a relatively pain free transition to life outside of Thailand:-
  • When she lived in Thailand, Janny had always spent long periods of time working away from her family.  I think this has made her a lot more independant and has helped with her lack of homesickness.  If Janny had been living with her family before making the move, I really think she would have struggled a lot more.
  • Feeling part of the family.  From the day she arrived, Janny has been accepted by my family and everyone she meets.  Thats credit to her personality more than anything.  But the fact that she became close with them very early on has been a massive help in making her feel welcome and settled. 
  • Contact with home.  To be honest Janny doesn't call Thailand too often.  She doesn't often feel the need.  But when she does, it's good to have an easy and cheap way to do it without having to worry about expensive bills.  We use a service from  It basically works by registering your landline number with them.  Before making a call you enter 18185 followed by the Thai number you want to connect to.  Those calls are invoiced seperately by 18185 and do not appear on the standard landline bill.  The calls are only about £0.01p per minute.  You can also use it from a mobile.  It works much the same way, other than you input a specific UK based number before the Thai number which redirects the call at a UK call rate.  It is slightly more expensive but still only around £0.04 per minute.  Other good free methods are Skype & Facebook
  • Food!  This is a big one.  At the risk of making generalisations.  Food and cooking are massively important to Thais.  So having access to good Thai food is a major priority.  By Thai food I don't mean a local Thai restaurant.  The food served in restaurants is aimed at farang and is often nothing like what a "real" Thai would eat at home.  We are lucky that we live in a big city and have plenty of asian stores close by.  We even have a specifically Thai minimart not too far from us.  It's taken some time to find the best places to buy certain things.  But Janny's Thai friends know where the the best stores are and one even works in an asian shop.  Chinese/asian stores usually have a lot of Thai products, especially noodles, curry pastes, fish and vegetables.  Chillies were an issue at first as the one's we were buying from the supermarkets were just not hot enough for her.  We've since found some good ones at a local market and Janny also likes the scotch bonnets which she buys from the Indian shops.  We have also found that Indian stores are good for things like pappaya and are much cheaper than the big supermarkets.  Make sure a decent pestle & mortar are high on the shopping list too.
  • Access Thai TV.  Janny loves her Thai lakhorn (soaps) and we usually watch an hour or two everyday in bed before we go to sleep (although it usually sends me off after about 5mins).  We use a paid internet streaming service called  It's only £5 a month (although you have to pay in 90 day intervals at £15).  It keeps Janny happy and there's some shows which I enjoy watching too.  So it's a small price to pay for the amount and choice of viewing.  The best thing about the service is that we've never had any "buffering" issues like you sometimes get on streaming sites.  We simply connect a VGA cable up to the netbook and watch it through the TV.  So really its just like watching a normal TV show.
  • Friends!  I mentioned earlier that it took a while before Janny wanted to mix with other Thais in our city.  But we all need friends, and at the end of the day, Thais love to have a good old "yak yak" with each other.  That's not to say just because another person is Thai and living in same city that they should automatically become best mates.  That said, finding a small group of friends has been great for Janny's independance.  Before they came along, we spent almost all of our spare time together and there was never really anything to push her to do her own thing.  Now she can get around on her own and it gives us our own space which is important in any relationship. 

Looking ahead

2013 is going to be a massive year for Janny and I.  The year ahead is certainly going to be much more of a challenge.  Janny's current visa expires in Feb '14.  Whilst that may seem like a long way off.  If I've learned one thing over the past year, it's that time passes so quickly and we can't afford to be complacent about her next visa requirements.  That puts pressure on Janny to pass, not only the LITUK test, but also the new B1 English test which becomes a requirement from October.  Ideally I'd like both sorted before the baby is due in June.  That in itself will be a massive challenge for us both. 
I start a new job much closer to home in a couple of weeks.  That should help take some of the financial pressure off, especially considering we will be losing Janny's small salary when she is made redundant around about the same time.  I've been looking for a fresh start for a while now, so hopefully it will give me a boost and it'll certainly be nice to be working closer to home. 
A much needed Thailand holiday is certainly in my plan for late in the year.  I'm really missing LOS.  Plus it will have been two years since Janny has been home by then.  I think it's important to give that some priority, but not at the expense of Janny's visa requirements and whats best for the baby.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens in that respect. 

So that's about it for now.  It's hard to sum up all that's happened over the past year within a few paragraphs.  But overall it's been a relatively smooth journey, other than the obvious setbacks.  It certainly could have been a lot worse.  Anyway, here's to many more years ahead.  I really should make an effort to update the blog more often too :)


Thursday, 19 July 2012

Thailand Forums

Not long after I first started to visit Thailand, I began to use the internet as a way to find information. More often than not, that information would be found through one of the many Thai related forums. At first, like many others, my searches would relate to issues with my then Thai girlfriend and the forums were always a great help. A valuable source of experience where almost any question could be answered.
One reason why I kept coming back to the forums in addition to that search for information, was that they helped fill the “down time” in between my trips. Not being able to live or spend as much time as I would have liked in Thailand, for me the forums were a way to live out my own daydreams through reading the experiences of others. Over time and with further trips, my interest in Thailand increased. As I continued to learn, not only through the forums, but from my own experiences, I found that I could contribute more and offer opinions and answers of my own rather than simply relying on the knowledge of others. The more I contribute and interact with other members of certain sites, the more time I seem to spend browsing the threads.

I am now a member of at least six or seven Thailand based forums, but of those I would say I am a regular contributor on maybe only two of them. In recent years the stand-out forum for me has been As its mostly aimed at UK members with Thai wives or partners, thailand-uk has been of particular help to me. Above all else, for me it offers a common ground, something which all of its members can relate to. Overall, I think this helps create a much more friendly and accepting atmosphere that just can't be found on any other forum. Not only did the members of thailand-uk help me when my wife and I went through her spouse visa process last year. But they have been a constant source of support in other area's, and not always necessarily anything specific to Thailand. I would go as far to say that I consider some members as friends. Albeit “virtual” friends. One post recently described the members as a kind of family, and I have to agree. One of the benefits of a forum is that we can maintain a relative level of anonymity. We can pick and choose which information we choose to share or keep to ourselves. That level of anonymity can often make it easier to discuss matters which we would not be able to talk about our own close family members.

Those are the positives. However, as with all forums there are times when members do not agree with certain posts, opinions, or attitudes of other members. Nothing new there. After all, it's only to be expected given the broad range of characters that make up a forum membership. More recently, for whatever reason the atmosphere on the forum has been a little strained, some threads have become heated and the mods have had to step in and remove offensive posts. I usually choose to avoid these types of thread and I have found myself taking a step back from the forum over the past few days and weeks. As a result I found myself looking to bridge the gap and joined a couple of additional forums which I'd previously not bothered with.

What an eye opener it has been, and not in a good way. One common criticism of thailand-uk is that its often too heavily moderated. But after spending time on these other forums, it is obvious just how important that moderation is to the success of a forum and what a good job the mods on thailand-uk do on a daily basis. I have been amazed, not only at the lack of respect for fellow members on these other forums. But by some comments which border on racism toward their own wives or partners. These posts seem to go either unnoticed, which I find hard to believe, or the mods simply don't care what others write about. The members of these sites seems mostly to be made up of bitter ex-pats living in Thailand. The unfortunate thing, is that they give the rest of us with Thai partners a bad name.
When I started this post the last thing I wanted to do was make it sound like some kind of love letter to any one specific forum. If thats how it comes across, well thats not how I intended it to be. But I certainly have a new found respect for

This has given me a chance to evaluate how I choose to spend my spare time. There have been occasions when my wife has commented on how much time I spend on the computer. I hadn't really given it a second thought until now. When I think about it, she's absolutely right. If there is such a thing as a forum addict, then I probably fall into that category. Maybe this has been a bit of a wakeup call for me. As useful and friendly as the majority of these forums are. I think its about time I spent more time talking and discussing issues with my wife rather than tapping away at a computer screen.  At least for a little while anyway ;)


Create your own banner at!
Make your own banner at!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Important changes to settlement/family migration from 9th July 2012

In July last year I made a post relating to a consultation of proposed changes for settlement visas.  Last week the confirmed changes were announced and will come into effect from 9th July 2012.  The basics of the changes are as follows, from the UKBA website:-
  • introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner, or fiancĂ©(e) or proposed civil partner of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationality, with a higher threshold for any children also sponsored; £22,400 for one child and an additional £2,400 for each further child;
  • publishing, in casework guidance, a list of factors associated with genuine and non-genuine relationships, to help UK Border Agency caseworkers to focus on these issues;
  • extending the minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses andpartners from two years to five years, to test the genuineness of the relationship;
  • abolishing immediate settlement for the migrant spouses and partner where a couple have been living together overseas for at least 4 years, and requiring them to complete a 5 year probationary period;
  • from October 2013, requiring all applicants for settlement to pass the Life in the UK Test and present an English language speaking and listening qualification at B1 level or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages unless they are exempt;
  • allowing adult and elderly dependants to settle in the UK only where they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK, and requiring them to apply from overseas rather than switch in the UK from another category, for example as a visitor; and
  • restricting family visit visa appeals, initially by narrowing the current definitions of family and sponsor for appeal purposes, and then, subject to the passage of the Crime and Courts Bill, which was published on 11 May 2012, removing the full right of appeal against refusal of a family visit visa.

So how will this effect my wife and I? 

The only real change to affect us will be the new higher level of English requirement, which comes into effect from October '13.  As Janny's current visa expires after that date, she will have to apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) under the new English requirement.   In addition to the B1 test she will also have to pass the LITUK test.  Before the announcement we had been leaning towards applying for an FLR extention when Janny's current visa expires.  This would have given her more time to study for the LITUK test but unfortunately that will no longer be an option for us.  We are a little unfortunate.  Had Janny arrived in the UK only a month or two earlier she would be able to apply for ILR under the current rules by passing the LITUK test OR completing an ESOL course.  The either or option will now be made obsolete. 

It just goes to show that you really can not afford to relax and should constantly keep an eye on the changing immigration rules and how they may affect you, even when already here.  I guess the plus side (if we have to find any) is that Janny will still be able to apply for ILR when her visa expires and not have to wait for 5 years like under the new rules.

I have to say I really feel for anyone applying under the new rules......more so for those who will unfortunately not meet the minimum salary requirement for sponsors.  In effect, those people have been banned from living with their spouse here in the UK

The UKBA announcement and link to the full statement of changes can be found on the following link:-

Steve Create your own banner at!
Make your own banner at!