If you are a Filipino and you are currently living within a foreign country, having children may not be as easy as it is when you are in your homeland.
The Story of Ulysses and Cindy
Take it from Ulysses Hechanova and wife Cindy Kristie Cal, respectively from Iloilo and Bohol. They met each other at London while Ulysses was working and Cindy was studying her MBA back in 2010. The pair ended up dating and in June 2015, they got married and now she is currently pregnant.
“Previously, the government had a visa program which bridged the academic world and skilled work, which was called post study work given for two years,” Ulysses said. “After that, Century Properties offered me a job as operations specialist, so they hired me as their employee and sponsored my work visa. They had very high qualification requirements, but because I have a degree here in the UK, that actually put me in a better position to get the job.”
The couple studied a lot to ensure they will not encounter any problems along the way. “That’s what we did, of course, research on how to do it. We are the type of people who read up a lot to know the process,” added Ulysses.
Cindy shared “We checked the process, then as step 1, we went to the Register Office in Hammersmith, the borough where we used to live. We were told that after 28 days, we would be able to confirm the date of wedding because they have to check first with UK Visas & Immigration. But actually, the approval letter arrived after two weeks.”
The young mother also pointed out that there are actually “many advantages” in the country compared to what you can expect from the Philippines. “Everything is free until the baby is one year old, including medications, even the ante-natal process, scans, delivery. It is really amazing.”
The couple hopes that having a child will help them have their visa soon. “With all the recent changes in the rules in immigration, we still remain hopeful of becoming citizens in the UK. We want to become citizens because there are more opportunities in the UK based on our experience. Cindy and I want our child to study at Oxford University. Well, of course, we’ve got all the optimism this will happen. We enjoy life here in the UK,” Ulysses summed up.
UK Immigration Laws
United Kingdom immigration laws have always been stringent but they do have several exemptions. For instance, even undocumented individuals may stay in the country and work on their legal requirements if they have a child while they are in the country.
If one of the partners or spouse is British, European or is a permanent resident, the other person can apply for leave to remain.
Undocumented individuals, on the other hand, will have to wait at least until the child has spent 7 years in the country before they could apply for leave to remain.
Children who have lived there for 10 years can register the child as British citizen. Upon approval, the parents could then process their application for leave to remain.