Dear Prince Harry: Congratulations from a fellow Brit married to an immigrant.
Dear Prince Harry
Congratulations on your engagement to Meghan!
As a fellow Brit married to an immigrant, I wanted to share some of the enormous battles that you will surely face in the years ahead to ensure that she is allowed to stay in the country so that the two of you can live happily ever after.
First a bitterly harsh rain check. I am afraid to say that Her Majesty’s Government are making the immigration rules so difficult that it’s unlikely that they will grant your fiancée immigration status. You will have to endure a million and one checks to make sure that your wedding isn’t a “sham,” and even once you are married there is no guarantee she’ll be allowed to stay.
You will get to know the Home Office’s Office in Croydon quite well. It is a gloomy place where you will be asked to bring reams of evidence to prove that you are British. They will also ask your fiancee all kinds of intrusive details about her background and private life. They will be especially keen to be assured that she earns over £35,000 a year or else she’ll be slung out (forgive my being nosey but I hope this is true in her case).
If your experience is anything like mine then the chances are you’ll initially have to fill in a rainforest of paperwork to apply for a visa for her (it’s all very costly, you may have to get a second job to raise the cash), only to get rejected on technicalities. At this point, even though you have no doubt spent most of your hard-working adult life paying tax to the state, you will be met with heartbreak as you are told that your wife cannot stay in the country and you are both told to pack your bags if you want to stay together. The two of you will then have to consider making your home in another country. You could always try the US, at least you’d be with Meghan’s family but I hear that their President is making it almost impossible for immigrants like us to get in there either.
If you manage to find creative, legal ways of her remaining in Blighty through applying for an assortment of different visas, the next step (probably years later by now) is to apply for the Permanent Residency Status. You will be confronted with an 84-page form, which after weeks of evidence-gathering and writing -if your experience follows ours- even if you enjoy the rapture of getting it approved, be prepared for your gran’s Government to then tell you that it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on a few weeks later. In other words, like us 13 years later you may still be in a position where there is no legal guarantee that your good lady will be allowed to stay here forever.
Oh and on top of all this, you will also be aware that 52% of the British population also recently voted to have less immigrants here. Be prepared for hostility against your future wife both from the public and the Fourth Estate. She will read the barrage of hate-filled bile against her kind each day in the press and won’t be made to feel very welcome here.
Sorry to be so pessimistic, I truly wish the two of you great happiness. Just offering some advice as someone who has been there and bought the t-shirt.
As I wrote to your brother after his engagement in 2010, as a contributor to your sizable wedding costs, I look forward to receiving my invitation soon. Unfortunately on that occasion ours must have got lost in the post but have every confidence that your gran’s post office will get their house in order this time.
Yours sincerely, your humble subject