Cambridge librarian overturns Home Office claim of sham marriage

Anna Carruthers 30 September 2014

Faculty of English librarian David Rushmer, 48, has been reunited with his Chinese wife following a successful appeal for a spousal visa.

Rushmer and Wang Xiang had previously been denied the spousal visa because the Home Office believed that their marriage was a ‘sham’.  The couple were shocked to receive the initial verdict from the UK Border Agency as they had submitted phone call records, photographs and testimony from family and friends, all pointing to a genuine relationship.

The visa is needed because Wang Xiang is a Chinese national. A marriage to another man meant that she was able to live in Britain through a dependant visa, but the relationship fell apart after six months. Xiang subsequently applied for a new visa but was still waiting for it to be processed over a year later.

In the meantime, Rushmer and Xiang found each other through a poetry website in 2012. They met and within five months had decided to move in together.

By April 2013 Xiang’s application had been processed and ultimately rejected.

However, Rushmer decided to propose and the couple married in China in June 2013. They put in another visa application, this time a spousal one,  as soon as they were married, hoping to return to the UK whilst still newlyweds.

However the Home Office again denied the request, arguing that they did not believe the couple were genuinely in love and were in a so-called sham marriage.

Rushmer returned to Britain alone whilst his wife was forced to remain in China. The newlyweds confessed that the Home Office had made them feel "like political pawns just to keep immigration numbers down".

Back in Britain Rushmer set up a petition in attempt to prove to the authorities that the relationship was valid. It amassed over 2,000 signatures of which many were students and staff of the University of Cambridge. It had the desired effect and the visa was approved, ending fourteen months of separation for the couple.

Following the joyous news Rushmer had this to say: "All our families and friends are over the moon.” 

"We cannot wait to share the good news with everyone who has been kind enough to support us. 

"Thank you so much for signing our petition, your kindness and compassion have given us great hope and strength and have helped us to endure the darkest days of our lives." 

"Don't forget we are still only one couple of approx 17,000 people currently separated by these rulings, do continue to give them your support."

One English Student who signed the petition told us of their joy at the outcome: “The English Faculty staff are all awesome, so his appeal is something a lot of Englings really took to heart. I was shocked when I  heard about the injustice of it all, and I’m so delighted the petition has been successful!”