Aldeburgh: Support grows for teacher and his Russian wife split by visa row
PUBLISHED: 09:53 09 April 2014 | UPDATED: 13:00 09 April 2014
Support is mounting for a teacher’s battle with immigration officials to reunite his family at their Suffolk home.
Yesterday, this paper reported Charles Tait’s bid to convince the Government to allow his Russian wife, Eugenia, back into the UK after she was twice denied entry on a visitor’s visa.
Since then, supporters of the Taits’ plight have added their signatures to an online petition, while an offer of legal assistance has come from a London immigration lawyer.
Meanwhile, the Home Office has disclosed why Mrs Tait’s applications have been turned down by the British Embassy in Moscow.
Mr Tait met his wife while teaching English in St Petersburg in 2007. They married three years later in his hometown of Aldeburgh, where they moved with their five-year-old daughter, Angela, following the death of Mr Tait’s father last year.
Mrs Tait returned to St Petersburg this February to renew her six-month visitor’s visa - but her application was refused, despite assurances that Mr Tait will provide for his wife while she voluntarily cares for his mother in Aldeburgh.
When Mr Tait has completed six months teaching at Ipswich Academy, the couple can apply for a spouse visa, but it may be the middle of summer before the family are back together again.
Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey, who has contacted the Taits and the Home Office, said she acknowledges both the family’s wishes and the Governments rules on immigration. “I have already been in touch with the family and have subsequently followed up with the Home Office, from whom I am awaiting a response,” she said.
“Without going further into the specific family circumstances surrounding this case, I recognise the desire of this family to be reunited and I am sure it will be resolved soon.
“The rules brought in by this government are both firm and fair in that a husband or wife has to show they can support their partner without recourse to benefits and taxpayer funds. That is demonstrated either by being in work for six months with a wage over £18,600 or by having a capital sum of £62,500.”
According to the Home Office, Mrs Tait’s application was refused because she did not demonstrate that she intended to leave the UK at the end of her visit.
It said she had visited five times since Boxing Day 2012, for a total of 323 days, and that the visitor route should not be used as an alternative to other categories of visa that are suitable for that purpose.
A spokeswoman said that all visa applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with immigration rules. She added: “The visitor visa cannot be used by an individual to live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits. Anyone wishing to stay with relatives in the UK on a long-term basis should apply under the relevant family route.”
Robert Houchill, a paralegal with London firm Bates Wells Braithwaite, has offered assistance with challenging the decision.
Meanwhile, an online petition at change.org has garnered almost 400 signatures.