Born in The UK, But Can't Take My Wife Home

Owen Jones

Born in The UK, But Can’t Take My Wife Home

I was shocked to find out the other week that despite the fact that I was born in the UK and so were all my relative for thousands of years, I can’t take my wife home to the UK to live.

That is correct, I have it on good authority.

I went to Asia for a holiday ten years ago, fell in love, got married to the lady a few years later, but I may not take her back to the UK to live unless I have a job earning 18K a year.

The fact that I can’t take my wife home hardly seems fair. I am 60 years of age and have lived in Asia for ten years, so how am I going to go back to to Britain and walk into a job like that when it was announced this week that 5,000,000 (20%) British workers earn less than the minimum wage?

If 5 million people are earning about 11-12k a year, does that mean that only the well-off can marry whomever they like?

Britain is supposed to be the country of fair play, but where is the fair play when only the well-off can marry whoever they like? Not that 18k is even a ‘good wage’. It was pretty ordinary when I left the UK ten years ago.

I was unemployed when I went away and there was no much chance of getting a job then either. In fact, our family firm had just gone bust and I was feeling very low and at 50 years of age, there was not much of a future for me.

It was different in Thailand, my savings went a lot further, although I had to pay for everything that went wrong with my health. I had new lenses put in my eyes and my back fixed after being laid up for over six months. If I had stayed at ‘home’, the government would have paid for all that and my dole money for ten years.

It would have paid for my ill health even if I had got a job and those operations were not cheap.

I am also putting my wife’s daughter through university in Bangkok and doing our share of taking care of my wife’s family. The thing that knocked me for six was the exchange rate change. When I decided to come here and built a house, there were 75 Baht to the pound sterling. For the last six years, there have been less than 50.

That was not my fault, governments alter exchange rates, but it reduced the value of my savings by a third.

Now I am stuck. My savings are reduced, so I am selling my house in the UK, but when that money runs out what happens then? My information tells me that I will be deported from Thailand for vagrancy and the UK will not allow my wife in because I have no money and no job.

By then, I will be 60 odd and my wife about 50. Does that seem fair? How would you like to be forcibly separated from your wife of 15 years by 5,500 miles in your old age, knowing that she will not be able to support herself?

I know that other people in the UK have a similar problem and they have my sympathy, but my wife and I have nowhere else to go. I am Welsh and my family has lived there for thousands f years. I don’t have family anywhere else in the world that I can go to to live with my wife.

If I can’t take my wife home, if we cannot go back to my home town in Wales together, one day I will probably have to go back alone and leave my wife alone in Thailand.

How can it be right that I was born in the UK, but can’t take my wife home?