Amid the celebrations of the announcement of the engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle one aspect of the Royal Wedding-to-be has caused concern to a Worcester councillor.

Richard Udall, who represents St John for the labour party on Worcester City Council, tweeted: “Prince Harry can bring his foreign spouse to the UK, while over a third of British people can't. She has also been granted British citizenship, no questions asked. I suppose it depends on who you are planning to marry.”

Cllr Udall stressed afterwards that he wished Prince Harry and Ms Markle well, but as a councillor and in his personal life he has experience of the difficulty UK citizens have in bringing a foreign husband or wife to the UK.

He said: ”I have a friend who was working in the USA, and he met and married an American woman. At the end of his contract he had to return to the UK and leave her there.

“Now, he’s not allowed to live and work in the US because his employment status isn’t sufficient, and she’s not able to come and live in the UK, because even though she could get a job, the government says they wouldn’t earn enough to not need benefits.”

“As a councillor, it’s also been brought up with me several times - and I know of people who have to live apart from their spouse because they’re not allowed to come here.

“I wish the couple well, but I think if you’re someone who is caught up in all of this, it must be very frustrating to see that someone else will be allowed in immediately and made a British citizen - it seems it all depends on who you’re marrying, and it’s one rule for some people, and another for someone else.

“I normally refer these issues to the MP, because it’s a matter for Parliament, but I know that this is a live issue out there.”

The rules on bringing a husband, wife or civil partner to the UK are that a spouse can apply for a visa to stay in the UK which lasts 33 months, which can be renewed for another 30 months – a total of five years and three months.

They can apply to settle permanently after five years.

A British citizen who wants to bring a spouse or partner to the UK will have to be earning more than £18,600 per year to be allowed to have them come here. If they also want to bring a child the figure is raised to £22,400 and another £2,400 is added to the financial requirement for every additional child.

If you’ve been affected by the rules on bringing a foreign husband, wife or partner to the UK contact the Worcester News on 01905 742203 or email