Sajid Javid’s attempt to portray himself as a good family man was dealt a serious blow on social media last night as families victim of the Home Office’s Hostile Environment shone a light on the Home Secretary’s fundamental hypocrisy.

First published in June 2019.

Sajid Javid posted on Twitter a thoroughly moving letter he got from his 10-year old daughter, Maya, when he arrived home last night.

Nothing wrong with that.

Or... that is what he problably thought at the time.

Here is the entire letter:

Rule #1 when bidding to become the next PM:

Do not use your children on social media, no matter what!

Within minutes, some people took to Twitter to mock Sajid Javid’s decision to post such a tweet, and joked on whether he had written the letter himself or even maybe dictated it to his daughter:

Rule #2 when bidding to become the next PM:

Show as much humanity in your bid as you do in your daily job... or be prepared to be called a hypocrite!

Other social media users were just far from impressed by Javid’s ‘use’ of his daughter to help him with his leadership bid, when thousands of children around the UK cannot see their parents because of the Home Office’s Hostile Environment policy.

Some people expressed their anger at the Home Secretary by rightly reminding him of his responsibility:

UK Immigration and Skype Families.

In a 2017 paper titled “Skype families”, on the effects on children of being separated from a mum or dad because of the Home Office’s immigration rules, the Children Commissioner explains that for many British families, “new Immigration Rules have created unexpected barriers that have meant separation and anxiety for them and their children.”

New income requirements introduced in 2012 by the then- Home Secretary Theresa May mean that “a parent in the UK has to earn significantly more than the minimum wage for an overseas partner to be allowed to join them.”

According to the Free Movement website, which is edited by Colin Yeo an Immigration and asylum barrister, “the sponsor (i.e. the British citizen or settled person) must show that they can support their partner by earning a pre-tax annual salary of £18,600.” However, if children are also applying for leave to enter or leave to remain, the sponsor’s income must be higher.

What are the financial requirements for UK spouse and partner visas? / Free Movement

And indeed the Children Commissioner’s paper adds that “families also describe a system which is slow, rigid and cumbersome – presenting immense practical hurdles to application and acceptance.”

“With an income threshold which is set at 138% of the minimum wage there can be little surprise that it is not being met by a large section of the population wishing to return to the UK.”

Putting a price on love: the minimum income rule for spouse visas. / Free Movement

The International Passenger Survey (IPS), which collects data about passengers entering and leaving the UK, estimates that approximately 45,000 non-EU family migrants came to the UK in 2013 and that “since 2012 it is estimated that 15,000 children have been separated from one of their parents because their British parent could not meet the financial requirements of the Immigration Rules implemented in 2012.”

On the impact of the Home Office’s Immigration Rules on the children, the report says that “families taking part in our research, who all lived in the UK and the vast majority of whom are British citizens reported that their children suffer distress and anxiety because of separation from a parent. Many believe this has a profound effect on their well-being and development. It is also often compounded by stress, anxiety and the practical difficulties faced by some single-parent families.”

Two things in particular must be highlighted  here because they are simply shocking coming from a country which sees  itself as a beacon of democracy and human rights: the Children Commissioner’s paper states that “there is limited evidence that the best interests of the child are considered when cases are assessed”, before adding “the Rules and guidance do not comply with the duty to safeguard and protect the best interests of all children in the UK.”

“Research shows the UK’s family migration Rules are among the most family-unfriendly of any of the developed countries.”

Skype Families. / Children Commissioner

The paper goes on to describe in more details the impact on the children by saying that parents reported “children often suffered from separation anxiety and became socially withdrawn, and some described children having difficulty socialising and experiencing problems at school. Parents described how children displayed eating and sleeping problems; slow or poor language development, and can display anger and violence toward peers and family. Some children said that they feel guilty and blame themselves for the absence of a parent.”

The Children Commissioner thus issued a set of recommendations to the Government at the end of its report in order to relax the financial requirements to families and correct the harmful impact on children.

The report was published in June 2017. The Home Office’s inflexible and harmful Immigration Rules are unchanged.

Apart from Sajid Javid’s attempt to rename Theresa May’s Hostile Environment to Compliant Environment last year, nothing has changed with the policy and thousands of families are still currently living in limbo.

I doubt anyone (in the largest sense, whether non-EU immigrants, Windrush generation or EU citizens) would agree with Chris Philp MP’s description of Sajid Javid as someone who, because of his family background, fully “understands what it is like to walk in the shoes of has only recently arrived and is struggling to succeed...” in today’s Sky News Conservative Leadership programme.

Still sleeping well at night, Sajid Javid?🔷

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[This is an original piece, first published by the author in on 20 June 2019. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Twitter - @SajidJavid.)