Brett and Matt

Zimbabwean Brett Rice wins battle against deportation, can stay in UK

Zimbabwean-born man faced deportation from the UK for “not earning enough”. He has since been granted permission to stay in the UK with his partner.

Brett and Matt

British authorities told Zimbabwean-born Brett Rice that he was to be deported to South Africa and separated from his civil partner, Matt Mallinson, as he did not earn enough to live in the UK. Rice has lived in the UK since 2009 and started dating Mallinson in 2010.

“In July 2012 we became civil partners just a few weeks after a new law come into effect requiring married couples with one partner who is required to apply for a marriage/civil partner visa to earn a minimum income of £18 600 per year or higher,” said Mallinson.

These rules are designed to ensure that foreign migrants and their partners do not rely on taxpayers for support.

Brett and Matt
Brett Rice and Matt Mallinson

When they applied for their civil partnership visa in April 2014, Rice was completing his MBA at the University of Huddersfield and was restricted by his student visa to only work 20 hours a week. At that time the couple’s income fell short of the income bracket by £361.20.

Once they had completed their studies a few weeks later, they were able to take on more work and their wages increased. However, the Home Office said that they could only look at figures given from the time of the application.

Rice works as a waiter and said that he was not allowed to include tips in his overall income figure. The inclusion of tips would have brought him over the legal threshold.

Brett and Matt

On 21 August, their application was refused as they did not earn the required amount. This gave Rice the option of appealing the decision or returning to his home country.

After being issued a deportation notice, Rice launched an online petition to Home Secretary Theresa May, to reconsider the case and the regulations governing it and others like it.

Rice then launched an appeal which was heard last month. On 11 December their solicitor informed them that the judge had made a decision on their appeal and granted Rice permission to stay in the UK on a marriage/civil partnership visa.