Visa victory to reunite Kentford family

Michael Haydon, 70, with two of his children photographed when the Journal first reported on his issues with the Home Office last month
Michael Haydon, 70, with two of his children photographed when the Journal first reported on his issues with the Home Office last month

A Kentford family will be starting a new life together in 2018 after a long wait for a visa which has seen them living on different continents for the past year.

As the Journal reported in November, Michael Haydon, 70, and three of his four children, aged 17, 14 and 12, have been living in his cottage in Kentford while his wife Iyisha remains in her native Ghana with their younger daughter.

The couple first got together more than 16 years ago and were married in 2014. The children are British citizens while Mrs Haydon retains her Ghanaian citizenship.

It was when they decided to move the whole family to England and buy a larger home in the Newmarket area that their problems began.

Although Mrs Haydon is entitled to a spouse visa, which would allow her to live permanently in the UK, the immigration service first returned all her documents pending a case the government was fighting in the Supreme Court, which it eventually lost on appeal.

Despite repeated attempts to make contact with the immigration authorities, no-one would return telephone calls or answer letters from Mr Haydon or his solicitor.

“It was a horrendous time,” said Mr Haydon. “I was just about at the end of my tether. It was becoming a struggle at my age to have the role of a single parent while the children were missing their mother,” he said.

After speaking to the Journal, he contacted the office of MP Matt Hancock, who had tried previously to speak to immigration officials on his behalf.

“A member of the MP’s staff contacted the visa service again and was told they were ‘too busy’ and had not yet dealt with my wife’s application,” said Mr Haydon.

“Then out of the blue, later that same day, my wife had an email from her lawyers in Ghana, telling her to bring in her passport and collect her visa.

“I am so grateful to the Journal. I know Mr Hancock’s secretary read out excerpts from the Journal article to the immigration people and I think it really made them sit up and take notice.

“We will all be spending Christmas in Ghana and then in the New Year we will back in the UK and house-hunting for a place to live.

“The Journal did a really good job,” added Mr Haydon.