Mum-to-be’s visa fight escalates with government urged to investigate
A community leader is penning an urgent letter to the Home Secretary over a distraught first-time mum’s fight against deportation.
Dozens of people are expected to show their support for Grace Smith – a 34-year-old Chinese national embroiled in a row with Home Office chiefs after they threw out her third visa application – at a full council meeting tonight.
Mrs Smith, who lives in Manningtree with husband Dean, is heavily pregnant and has just 10 weeks left until she gives birth to her first child.
However, the Home Office is warning Mrs Smith if she does not leave the UK now, she may be deported.
Tendring District Council chief Neil Stock is due to brief people on her case at tonight’s meeting, held at Clacton Town Hall.
In a tweet, he said: “I shall be making a statement tonight at the @Tendring_DC full council meeting. I shall write to the Home Secretary and ask him to ensure that this case is properly examined as a matter of urgency.”
The 34-year-old’s latest visa attempt was turned down on the grounds she and her husband were unlikely to face “insurmountable obstacles” if Mrs Smith was sent back to China.
The pair – who married in 2011 – have spent around £11,000 on applications.
They only returned to the UK from China, where they both worked, because Mr Smith’s father was ill. He is now his mother’s carer.
An earlier bid was thrown out over claims the couple failed to meet financial requirements, with Home Office bosses suggesting their income didn’t meet the required £18,600.
This is heavily disputed by the pair – Mr Smith is a personal trainer and until last week Mrs Smith worked at Marks and Spencer in Colchester, before her right to work was withdrawn.
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Mrs Smith added: “It is so cruel and heartless.
“I have been crying ever since I heard. If my husband doesn’t go back with me, I have no healthcare or right to work in my own country now and it means he won’t see his daughter born.”
Home Office chiefs said they are in touch with Mrs Smith’s representatives.
A spokesman added: “We are considering whether it may be appropriate to grant a period of leave, given the circumstances of the case.”