Dan Newton, 41, from Oldham, had a job in corporate training in Abu Dhabi but his contract was ended without warning in June. His wife, who is originally from Ecuador, has been denied a visa in the UK.
The parents of three young children risk being torn apart – because the husband has lost his job overseas and his wife isn’t allowed to join him in the UK.
Dan Newton, 41, from Oldham, had a job in corporate training in Abu Dhabi but his contract was ended without warning in June. Without a job he loses his right to stay in the United Arab Emirates and so wants to come home to Greater Manchester.
However Dan’s wife, Carla Villon-Newton, who is originally from Ecuador, has been denied a visa. This is despite the fact their children, Octavio, 5, Raphaella, 3, and baby Maya-Alice are all British citizens. Maya-Alice is just ten months old and is still being breast-fed.
The couple were forced to leave Abu Dhabi on Friday and have temporarily fled to Ecuador, as they have no other option.
Dan and his family only have a 30 day visa in Ecuador, after that he has to leave with his children.
Home Office rules, introduced in 2012 when Theresa May was Home Secretary, mean Dan must have a job in the UK paying a minimum of £18,600. He has been desperately looking for a job but has had no luck so far.
The only other way he can meet the government’s ‘financial requirement’ rules for ‘spouse settlement’ is to have £62,500 saved up in the bank. However the couple are £40,000 short of the target.
Dan and Carla face the prospect of being separated by thousands of miles.
The couple tried using the Human Rights Act to challenge the Home Office decision, saying their right to family life was being denied. But immigration officials say they are ‘not satisfied’ Carla could not maintain family life by ‘regular contact’ and ‘visits’.
Dan said: “When we got the rejection letter for the Spouse Settlement Visa, it felt like a bolt of lightning hitting us – it’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s not right, we just want to go home.
“What am I going to do? I’m not leaving my wife. The Home Office said they don’t think there would be an impact on our family if Carla doesn’t live with us. They didn’t believe our children’s lives would be disrupted.
“But it would break Carla’s heart, she is still breast feeding. What’s awful is the fact that our government – who we think we can rely on – stands for this. They are taking the mother of my children away, they are taking the love of my life away.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “The family immigration rules, endorsed by Parliament and upheld by the Supreme Court, require applicants to meet a financial and English language requirement.
“Where an application does not meet the requirements of the family immigration rules, including on the basis of exceptional circumstances, it will be refused. This was the case with (Carla Villon-Newton’s) application.”
The Supreme Court in the UK ruled earlier this year that while the minimum income requirement is lawful. the way it is being implemented dos not take ‘proper account’ of the Home Office’s legal duty to safeguard children.
The judges said that the income limit “has caused, and will continue to cause, significant hardship to many thousands of couples who have good reasons for wanting to make their lives together in this country, and to their children”.
They said: “There are several types of family, not illustrated in the cases before us, upon whom the minimum income requirement will have a particularly harsh effect.
“These include British citizens who have been living and working abroad, have married or formed stable relationships there, and now wish to return to their home country.
“Many of these relationships will have been formed before the new rules were introduced or even publicly proposed. They also include couples who formed their relationships before the changes in the rules were introduced and who had every expectation that the foreign partner would be allowed to come here.”
Dan has set up a GoFundMe page to raise the £40,000 the couple need in order for Carla to move to the UK.
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