Joy For Immigration Fear Couple
23 May 2014, 05:00
A Renfrewshire couple facing the prospect of being split up by the Home Office are celebrating the birth of their second child - together.
Lyndsey Burke and Tugrul Keseli, who're both 29, live in Linwood with their 3-year-old daughter Alara and have been together since 2008. Tugrul, known as Tom, is Turkish, and is fighting to stay in Scotland.
His leave to remain in Scotland was refused just weeks before Lyndsey was due to give birth. Speaking to Heart earlier this month, Lyndsey said: ''To bring this to your door three weeks before you're due to give birth I think is just cruel. They absolutely know every detail, they know everything that's going on. Just absolutely devastating.''
But they've been able to enjoy the experience together. Mena was born yesterday at 9.53am, weighing 8lb 1oz.
The couple have put in a fresh application, asking the Home Office to consider the effect on their children of their father being forced to live in another country. The application looks specifically at the human rights of the individuals involved.
Lyndsey and Tom have been told they can all move to Turkey together, but Lyndsey is concerned about the education and healthcare available in the country. It would also mean losing the childcare support of her parents, which allows her to work full time.
Tom and Lyndsey conducted the first couple of years of their relationship long distance, then Lyndsey got pregnant. They applied for a visitors visa so he could be with her during her pregnancy, but it was refused.
There was a u-turn though, and in February 2011 Tom was able to come on a holiday visa.
But that summer, the income requirements changed. Lyndsey would have to be earning £18,600 if Tom was to be allowed to stay.
In October 2012, Tom came on a second visitors visa, and the couple took legal advice and applied for further leave to remain, due to their daughter being born in Britain and because they were all together and living as a family here. This would be their only route, unless Lyndsey was able to meet the financial requirements. But even with full-time work, and Tom at home looking after Alara, that was impossible.
With Tom's visa due to expire in April 2013, they made a formal application for further leave to remain. They heard nothing until November, when they were told their application had been refused.
Since then, Tom and Lyndsey have been trying to fight the decision, but they have been told Tom must return to Turkey and they cannot appeal the decision. Lyndsey has been told she is free to move herself and their children to Turkey, or remain in Scotland without her partner.
That's left them living in fear of a removal notice arriving, which will require Tom to book a flight by a specific date. A Home Office representative would then meet him at the airport to ensure he boarded the plane.
The couple's lawyer has told them they may have one last option - a relatively new type of application which looks at the impact on the human rights of the individuals involved, and puts aside the financial requirements. Lyndsey's hoping she and Tom can show that they are a committed couple, and loving parents to Alara, who only want to support their children and give them the best start in life.
They have started a petition, calling for a change in the law on income requirements.
A Home Office spokesperson said:
"All applications are considered on their individual merits and according to the evidence provided. Mr Keseli’s application was refused because it did not meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules.
"The decision to refuse the application has been upheld in the courts by an independent Immigration Judge."
The couple do not know how long the new application will take to be processed.