Visa refusal is splitting family

Jovy Stewart with son Simon. She has been refused entry into Scotland to be with her family.
Jovy Stewart with son Simon. She has been refused entry into Scotland to be with her family.

A family which is trying to set up home in Kirkcaldy is being torn apart by immigration red tape.

Iain Stewart, a civil engineer who has travelled the world for work all his life, wants to bring his family to the town where his son Simon (18) is currently attending Kirkcaldy High School.

He is currently working on a wind farm in Lanarkshire, returning home at weekends to be with his son.

But his wife Jovy, who is originally from the Phillipines, has been refused a visitor’s visa from the Home Office, despite having spent time here over the past two years. She was forced to return to Manila in November.

Immigration officials have turned down her most recent application, saying that her main reason for coming to Scotland is to obtain medical treatment, which is only allowed under very limited circumstances by law.

A Home Office spokesman said: “All cases are carefully considered on their individual merits, in line with the UK immigration rules and based on evidence provided by the applicant.”

Mr Stewart explained that during her last visit, his wife was told she desperately needed an operation for a pre-cancerous condition, and arranged for her to have the operation in Fife this month.

But, after revealling this information on her visa application, officials refused permission, saying that non British citizens could only have medical treatment in Scotland if they were donating organs or if it is done privately, something Mr Stewart says he is willing to pay for.

Mr Stewart said: “We all feel helpless and desperately worried about my wife who is very popular in Kirkcaldy and well known as a Christian.

“I am devastated and baffled that, as a British subject, I am powerless to prevent my family being split into three parts: Simon must fend for himself while I work weekdays in South Lanark and my wife lives in a constant state of worry in a place which is no longer her home.

“Should the worst occur, I must be with my wife. I therefore lose my job and ability to support those who depend on me.”

Roger Mullin, Kirkcaldy’s MP has been involved in the case and wrote to the Home Secretary to outline Mr Stewart’s situation.

He said: “We have received a response which I have forwarded to Mr Stewart with some advice on how we could take this forward.”