Mother’s UK visa nightmare resolved

26 Feb 2016 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A South African woman who has lived in the UK with her British husband and children for more than a decade has won her battle to remain in Britain.

Alison Hawkins had faced being deported due to a mix-up with her UK visa application in July last year. She applied to renew the document, but in September, she received a letter telling her the application had been rejected because she had not paid the £500 NHS surcharge.

Mrs Hawkins said she had not received a request to pay the fee. The authorities told her she must apply again or she would have to leave the UK, where she has lived since 2002 with UK-born husband Wayne and their four children, Kimberley, Shelby, Jordan, and Dana. The children, who are aged between 14 and 21, are all British citizens.

Mrs Hawkins, who received support from the local community, her MP Jamie Reed and a petition calling for her to be allowed to stay in Britain, has finally received notification that her leave to remain in the UK has been renewed. She was unable to work while her immigration status was not clear.

Her husband told the News & Star: “Twenty weeks is a long time to keep people waiting. Life was on hold.

“There’s only been one wage coming in and I have been working every weekend.”

Mrs Hawkins bosses at Haighs in Workington kept her position open and she has now been able to return to her job.

However, she is still unsure where the second application will leave her efforts to obtain British citizenship. Due to changes in the regulations, she may now have to wait six years before she can apply for citizenship, rather than the two years she had been counting on.