DAY 242: Love and lawyers

March 10th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

More years ago than I care to think – actually, before I was born if not long before – you may remember that a high-profile royal got entangled, if that’s the right word, with an American divorcée. wallisHis name, at the time, was the Prince of Wales (ring a bell?), hers was Wallis Simpson. There was no end of a hoo-ha,which culminated in The Abdication Crisis which compared to many subsequent crises from Munich to the current refugee ‘crisis’ seems to have been rather a storm in a teacup: but which pitted the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and the then Archbishop of Canterbury (the baddies) against fascist sympathiser Edward Prince of Wales, many of the masses backed by the Daily Worker, and a motley crowd of non-establishment figures (the goodies).

Interestingly today when a somewhat analogous situation has arisen the C of E has hastened to say that Meghan Markle’s divorce bothers them not a whit. In fact, the Royal Family (if they’ve said anything) and the Church seem to be pretty cool about


Harry’s fiancée. However, as my confrère ‘Free movement’ points out, in an article  which I’ve already plagiarised on Facebook, it is as you might imagine her immigration status which risks putting a spanner in the works of an impending national jollification. The obstacles in the way of a non-EEA national who wants to get wed to a Brit and settle here are, as you can imagine, almost insuperable given the State’s fear that she (let’s suppose it’s a she) might end up as a burden on the taxpayer, living off handouts and what she can pick up in the bins outside Harrod’s. Will she need to call on the NHS? What if she gets disabled and tries to fiddle a claim for benefits?

Indeed, before the whole royal wedding bonanza kicks off and we start worrying about what we, the taxpayers, are paying for Meghan (who seems able to look after herself atm), the Home Office ask for a substantial guarantee upfront in terms of the couple’s income. I’ll spare you the details (you can find them at the source I’ve cited); but it means that with no children to support yet, the couple would have to demonstrate that Prince Harry has an income of £18,600 a year or savings equivalent to £16,000 plus 2.5 times the shortfall. Where there is no eligible income, the savings necessary will be £62,500, but this must be held in a cash account for a minimum period of 6 months.

That is not all. As well as consulting Appendix FM the couple, or their lawyers, will need to examine carefully a separate appendix, Appendix FM-SE. This sets out additional requirements not immediately obvious to the unwary. The income must be earned income and proof must be provided on exactly the right format of documents. Online bank statements, for example, have to be “accompanied by a letter from the bank on its headed stationery confirming that the documents are authentic or which bear the official stamp of the issuing bank on every page”. Many banks refuse to do this, leading to a situation of evidential impossibility. Any omission is punished with refusal and forfeiture of the application fee.

Oh Meghan! We can only wish you the best of British luck and a good immigration lawyer (Leigh Day, Duncan Lewis or the Islington Law Centre come to mind, and they could probably use the money. as well as charging substantially less than their competitors in your neighbourhood. Furthermore, you’ll recall that Meghan herself has quite a list of legal roles – in Suits, I believe – behind her). And if Harry, like his predecessor Henry VIII, turns out to be given to changing his mind and divorcing or beheading his wives, you can’t necessarily count on the rough frontier justice that you’re used to where the NRA rules to call in your friends to settle accounts.

In other reruns of the thirties, the fascists seem on the way to gaining power in


Italy, and ‘42nd Street‘ is, my sister tells me, a smash hit in the West End.I seem to be constantly harping on the negative, although I share this tendency with many of my best friends. Let’s instead recall the three little birds and their message to Bob Marley: don’t worry, every little thing’s gonna be all right. Particularly if you’re heading for a royal wedding.