Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Old Jan 7th 2014, 12:21 pm
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Default Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Hey all,

I'm a new member here, posting here to ask for a little bit of advice. This whole thing seems to complicated.

My wife and myself married on Christmas Eve, and are now making long-term plans. I am currently a student studying a master's degree in Japan, a 2 year course. I understand Japanese as it was my undergraduate degree. I graduate in September, and we are looking at the best place to settle down.

Our situation is somewhat complicated. My wife doesn't speak much English. She had the same high school English classes as everybody else, but we communicate with each other in Japanese. Indeed, if she were to come to the UK she would attend an English language tuition course. She also did not attend university (not so uncommon in Japan), though I myself am a master's student.

Obviously I am looking for a post-graduation job right now. I am doing jobhunting in Japan, but this is obviously easier for myself in the UK (as a British national and native English speaker). I do actually have a job in the UK working for Asda on night shift - I'm on extended leave at the moment, but will be able to return to it if I come back to the UK.

The issues (as I understand them) appear to be the language requirement, and financial requirement. The former I have explained above. The latter, as I say I do have a job but I am unsure if it meets the threshold. I do intend to get a better job, but being a student I obviously can't do that until I have graduated from my master's degree and am back in the UK.

The plan was that we would temporarily move back in with my parents in the UK. This would take living expenses out of the question in the short term, while both myself (at the very least) and my wife do jobseeking. Once I find a new job, we would be able to move into our own place and I would be able to provide for my wife until she finds a job of her own.

Can anybody give me some advice? I'm scared, quite frankly. The idea that I might be separated from my wife due to visa issues scares me to death. Even if I get a Japanese visa, finding a job here is a whole different challenge.
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 2:10 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Hi there,

You are aware of the vicious financial requirement right?

Have a job which is £18,600 Salary or £62,500 in savings to get your wife the spouse visa..

or there is the 'SS' route but that is a pain in the ass.
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 2:19 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Thanks for the reply.

Yeah, I'm aware of the financial requirement. It seems incredibly strict, especially for a person like myself who is just finishing a master's degree and thus couldn't possibly be earning that kind of money whilst in education (especially given that I'm studying outside the UK).

I've done a bit more research into things, and most of my worst fears have been confirmed. Indeed, it seems everybody here is having to deal with the same problems.

The Surinder Singh route seems interesting, albeit hugely challenging. I would assume that one would need to do that sooner rather than later, before the UK public inevitably vote to leave the EU next year?

Looks like I'm in for some years of pain and heartache.
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 2:58 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

I would not be so sure about Britain leaving the EU but I think it quite likely that the SS route will be further tightened up.
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 3:24 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

So is the SS route generally seen as the only realistic option at the moment?

I've been looking a little bit more into things. I was thinking my wife could maybe get a 6 month visitor visa. She might not qualify for the family visitor visa because we've not been married for 2 years (which seems to be a requirement), but ironically she might qualify for the general visitor visa (which seems to have no such requirement, unless I've missed something). That would give us time to make arrangements to live in Ireland (housing, job etc.).

Quite frankly, I wouldn't mind just settling down in Ireland. It's not that I want to specifically come back to the UK per say, but want to work in a country where I can work using my native language (English, of course). If the SS method is still an option then, so then great. But I wouldn't be the slightest bit adverse to living in Ireland - I just want us to be able to live together.

Can anybody spot a flaw in this, or something I've missed?
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 3:56 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Language requirements - your wife will need to fulfil these BEFORE the visa is granted, so she will not be able to come to the UK and then take classes

Financial requirements - you'll need to get and keep a job paying 18,600 for 6 months in the UK before applying for the visa. OR get and keep a job paying 18,600GBP equivalent in Japan for 6 months AND a signed job offer in the UK paying at least 18,600 to start within 3 months. If you fall short of that salary you need 16,000 in the bank PLUS 2.5 times the shortfall in cash, and the money must have been yours for 6 months.

Or you can graduate and look for a job elsewhere in the EU, settle there initially and then return to the UK at your leisure via "the Singh route". With no visa fees and no financial or language requriements
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 4:03 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Originally Posted by sj33 View Post
So is the SS route generally seen as the only realistic option at the moment?

I've been looking a little bit more into things. I was thinking my wife could maybe get a 6 month visitor visa. She might not qualify for the family visitor visa because we've not been married for 2 years (which seems to be a requirement), but ironically she might qualify for the general visitor visa (which seems to have no such requirement, unless I've missed something). That would give us time to make arrangements to live in Ireland (housing, job etc.).

Quite frankly, I wouldn't mind just settling down in Ireland. It's not that I want to specifically come back to the UK per say, but want to work in a country where I can work using my native language (English, of course). If the SS method is still an option then, so then great. But I wouldn't be the slightest bit adverse to living in Ireland - I just want us to be able to live together.

Can anybody spot a flaw in this, or something I've missed?
My only worry would be to ensure she can prove VERY STRONG ties to Japan before applying for any visitor visa. If there are no jobs, mortages, studies etc ongoing in Japan then you'll get refused - so coming to the UK as a visitor on your way to Ireland is out of the question - as DaveLovesDee and his wife found out recently.
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 4:18 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Thanks. This gets more complicated by the minute.

Her strong ties would be the fact that she is Japanese and her whole family is here. She has work here, but knowing how Japanese companies work I doubt she would be allowed to take extended leave.

At the moment, we don't technically live together in that we physically don't. I'm a student living in Kyoto, she lives with her parents in the next prefecture over. It doesn't make much sense for her to move here just for 8 months, especially when she has employment in her home town. She is registered to my address though, and we do have shared expenses in that we have a joint bank account, actual shares expenses etc. I am considering the fact that she may need to live with me for the credibility of any visa claim. Our situation is unique.

I guess I might have to move to Ireland, and she could join me later?

Why is it this hard just to live with the person I love?
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 5:09 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Originally Posted by sj33 View Post
Thanks.


Why is it this hard just to live with the person I love?
It isn't usually, but you have just married, you have no settled decent paying job (although it sounds as though your wife does) and you wish to move to another country. All countries have financial requirements for their citizens to enter with foreign spouses.

Since you took your masters degree in Japan, is it not reasonable to use your Japanese degree and work in Japan, build up some work experience and finances, THEN consider moving to the UK. Your wife does not speak much English and so while you are working she also can continue to work at her current job, as I don't expect she will easily find work in the UK.

Small steps first.......
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 5:12 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

If you move anywhere other than the UK (within the EU) then she can come with you immediately. A situation like yours isn't unique, particularly if you live together at weekends (do you?) and apart during the week for practical reasons. If you don't physically live together in Japan I'd expect the UKBA to claim the marriage was a sham and refuse you on those grounds too if you try to come directly to the UK. Good luck proving it's not if you've just spent 6 months+ living on different continents while waiting to be elligible to sponsor her
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 8:28 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Thanks.

In fairness, us not living together is purely a practical decision - she can move in at any time, but she'll have to quit her job and find a new one here. Given that I may or may not be in Japan after September seeing as how I'm not sure how the visa issues will work out, it doesn't make much sense for her to give it up. Nonetheless, it looks like something we may have to do.

Even if I were to return to the UK and find a new that pays more than enough to pass the financial threshold, we still face the issue of language requirements. I must admit, it feels like I'm being punished for choosing a wife who happens to not be so good at English.

It looks like my choices are to either find employment in Japan (which I'm working on, but as some others can probably confirm, this is very difficult in Japan unless you do English teaching, and that still leaves the financial and language requirements unresolved); or to come home, make preparations to move to another EEA country such as Ireland, then apply to bring my wife over at a later date. The latter actually seems like it might be a better idea in the long run - none of the financial and language requirements, no need for my wife to move to Kyoto merely for 8 months, etc.).
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 8:46 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Given your situation I think it would be better for both of you to remain in Japan for the time being.

I used to work in Tokyo and have American and European friends who married their Japanese boyfriends/girlfriends and are now living there permanently. If you're married to a Japanese citizen it doesn't seem to be nearly so hard to stay in Japan compared to coming to the UK.

If you have good Japanese skills and native English then finding yourself a reasonable job in Japan shouldn't be too difficult even if it's just teaching English. This would allow you to move in together and be able to starting living as a married couple.

Long term, providing your job's salary is over the financial threshold (roughly 3.2 million yen pa), you have a job lined up in the UK which also makes more than the threshold and your wife has improved her English to a sufficient level then you can both come straight over together.

The Surinder Singh route has also been mentioned so I won't cover that again.

Incidentally Japanese citizens do not require a visa to enter the UK as a visitor. Just turn up and get stamped in. Your wife will need to satisfy the Immigration Officer that she will be returning to Japan within six months however.
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 8:57 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Hmm, it's a tricky decision. Staying in Japan is the main option I'm considering, although the employment situation is actually quite difficult. Even with English teaching - one fly in the ointment is that I have a stutter. It's not that big of an issue, but could potentially be a hurdle for any English teaching position. And indeed, any position that may rely on communication skills. And at the end of it all, I'd still need to satisfy the financial and language requirements eventually. Would I not be putting off the inevitable?

Moving to Ireland would seems like the simplest option once getting over the initial hurdle of finding a job (I'm honestly prepared to just work 6 nights a week at a supermarket if it came to it), I'd apparently be able to live with my wife, and we could work towards the SS method that doesn't have the language or financial requirements.

Does anybody know if there are any specific requirements for Ireland that my wife would have to meet?
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 9:06 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Originally Posted by sj33 View Post
Hmm, it's a tricky decision. Staying in Japan is the main option I'm considering, although the employment situation is actually quite difficult. Even with English teaching - one fly in the ointment is that I have a stutter. It's not that big of an issue, but could potentially be a hurdle for any English teaching position. And indeed, any position that may rely on communication skills. And at the end of it all, I'd still need to satisfy the financial and language requirements eventually. Would I not be putting off the inevitable?

Moving to Ireland would seems like the simplest option once getting over the initial hurdle of finding a job (I'm honestly prepared to just work 6 nights a week at a supermarket if it came to it), I'd apparently be able to live with my wife, and we could work towards the SS method that doesn't have the language or financial requirements.

Does anybody know if there are any specific requirements for Ireland that my wife would have to meet?
http://www.inis.gov.ie/en/INIS/Pages..._Member_States
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Old Jan 7th 2014, 9:11 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the UK with my Japanese wife

Partner of EU citizen *

*Refers to a long-term relationship with an EU citizen that has existed for at least 2 years
There's my hurdle right there. The UK actually only has that requirement for partners who are not married.

Actually, I'm a bit confused. I thought people following the SS route did not need a visa for their partners. Can the SS route actually be followed by people in marriages for under 2 years?

Last edited by sj33; Jan 7th 2014 at 9:15 pm.
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