A Kentford father-of-four said his family was being torn apart by immigration service delays in granting a visa so his Ghanian wife and the mother of his children, can live permanently in the UK.
Michael Haydon shares his home with his 17-year-old daughter Eileen and sons Kieron, 14, and Robert, 12, while his younger daughter, seven-year-old Emily, lives with her mother in Tema, just outside the Ghanaian capital Accra.
The couple met more than 16 years ago, when Mr Hayden made frequent trips to Ghana as part of his work for a company involved with the export of yams. They were married in Ghana in July 2014. The children are all British citizens while Mr Haydon’s wife, Iyisha, retains her Ghanaian citizenship but makes frequent visits to the UK on six-month visas, staying for about a month each time.
The family’s problems began in January when Mr and Mrs Haydon applied for a spouse visa which would entitle her to stay in the UK on a permanent basis. The family planned to buy a bigger home in the Newmarket area using money already sent to this country by Mrs Haydon, a successful businesswoman.
“At the beginning of March, we had a letter from the immigration department returning her documentation and passport because the government had lost a case in the Supreme Court which rejected its plans to turn down applications if the sponsor, in this case me, didn’t earn a minimum of £18,600 a year”, said Mr Haydon.
“Although that didn’t apply to me, we were told that my wife’s application had been put on ‘pause’ pending an appeal, which the government also lost.”
By this time the three older children had moved to the UK, where Eileen studies travel and tourism at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds and the boys are pupils at Newmarket Academy, while they awaited word that their mother’s application was back on track.
But despite help from MP Matt Hancock, the immigration authorities will not speak to Mr Haydon or his solicitor on the telephone and do not answer any correspondence.
“We were told by a member of Mr Hancock’s staff that they said this was a busy time of the year and they would get round to it when they could – hopefully by October 31.
“Well that has come and gone with no word at all and I am just about at the end of my tether.
“While Theresa May tells 3.2 million people from all over the EEC that they can stay here after Brexit on compassionate grounds, they are essentially telling me, a British man with British children, that I can go to hell.
“I am really disappointed with my country,” said Mr Haydon.
“The children are doing well at school and are well behaved and help me and each other but we are squashed in my two-bedroom cottage and it is becoming a real struggle for me, at my age, to be essentially a single parent and of course the children miss their mother,” he added.
“We’re not asking to be given anything other than the chance to live together as a family.”