Petition and public meeting for first-time mum facing deportation at seven months pregnant
Campaigners outraged by the treatment of a heavily pregnant first-time mum from Essex are rallying around to support her and her husband.
A petition launched on Friday to prevent Grace Smith - threatened with deportation at seven months pregnant after her third visa bid was rejected - from being sent back to China has collected more than 1,800 signatures.
Called ‘Saving Grace’, the petition is quickly gathering support in Manningtree where Chinese national Mrs Smith lives with husband Dean – and details of their case will be discussed at a meeting of Tendring District Council on Tuesday.
The full council meeting, which is open to all, will take place at Clacton Town Hall from approximately 7.30pm. Further details are available via the Tendring District Council website.
Distraught and angry at their situation, Mr and Mrs Smith spoke out about their treatment on Wednesday, branding it an “absolute travesty”.
The pair moved back to the UK in 2015, after meeting more than 10 years ago in China where they both worked, to care for Mr Smith’s seriously ill father. His mother is now ill and he acts as her carer.
Mrs Smith was granted a spouse visa which expired in February this year and since then has applied three times for leave to remain, spending around £11,000.
On Wednesday she was rejected for a third time and warned she could be deported. The news came on the same day as losing her job at Marks and Spencer in Colchester, after she lost the right to work in the UK.
“It is so cruel and heartless,” Mrs Smith told this newspaper. I have been crying ever since I heard and to lose my job and get the awful news about the visa application in one day is so devastating.
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“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.”
Mr Smith added: “My family have been treated terribly. It is an absolute travesty, and it rocks me to the core. Can you imagine how distraught my pregnant wife is?”
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When contacted by this newspaper on Wednesday, Home Office chiefs said they were looking again at Mrs Smith’s case.
A spokesman added: “We are considering whether it may be appropriate to grant a period of leave, given the circumstances of the case.”
To sign the petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/home-office-saving-grace