Immigration laws leave an estimated 33,000 people unable to remain with spouses in Britain as they do not earn enough to satisfy visa requirements.
The rules were introduced on 9 July 2012, and every year dozens of couples who have been separated from their partners and children gather outside the Home Office to protest a law which means around 47% of Britons do not earn enough to fall in love with
Don Flynn, of Migrant Rights Network, which hosted the demo along with BritCits, an organisation for affected couples, said the British economy had suffered because of the law:
The government claimed it would save £650m, but research from Middlesex University found that if, as expected, most of these spouses would have found employment, that would have made a contribution of over £850m.
There was a common thread among those who came to protest on Thursday, regardless of their background. All said that everyone they met thought the law was wrong.
Among those protesting were family members with children living abroad, unable to return because of visa laws.
Nigel Johnson brought his 11-year-old stepson Jeff to the protest from north Devon, with the youngster proudly wearing his British public school uniform. Nigel's wife Burphan, Jeff's mother, is still in Bangkok. J ohnson said:
We don't even intend to stay here long term, but we've scraped every penny together from the extended family to give this boy a proper British education. In just two years, with English as his second language, he's top of his class. But of course, he
misses cuddles from his mum.
I've cut grass, I've cleaned holiday cottages, I've worked six jobs to get my income over the threshold and still we are being turned down.
The legal fight against the law is now in its final throes. In 2013, the high court found the threshold of £18,600 was too high, with Mr Justice Blake calling the law unjustified but it was overturned by the court of appeal and the case is now at
the supreme court, due to sit this September. That same month will also see a report from children's commissioner Anne Longfield examining the effects of the law on children separated from a parent.
But many of the couples at Thursday's protest who had successfully managed to settle in the UK said they had used a legal technicality known as the Surinder Singh route, after the landmark case. It paved the way for Britons to work abroad in another
European Economic Area country before bringing a non-European spouse to the UK, so EEA law on spouses, which is more generous, can take precedent.
Mrs Pineda-Andrews said the system had coloured her view of Britain. I experienced so much bigotry, to be with the person I love. She smiled as she held up her passport, with the British visa inside. We are still fighting because we want
change, I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. Well, maybe on Theresa May.