A South African-born man is facing removal from the UK because his wife’s craft business is not earning enough to meet the Government’s £18,600 threshold for British people to bring their overseas spouses to the UK.
Yacht engineer Michael Engel has lived in the UK since January 2013 with wife Natalie and their 18-month-old daughter Nyana. He initially came to the UK on a visitor’s visa but his application for residence has been rejected due to the earnings requirement.
The couple were refused permission for Mr Engel to remain at an immigration tribunal last year and lost their case when they appealed on human rights to a family life grounds. They can now seek permission for a further appeal but are considering moving to South Africa.
Mr Engel told the BBC: "We did everything in our power to tick all the boxes. They are just attacking the wrong people - they are attacking British citizens."
In a statement, the Home Office said its decision had been backed in the courts by an independent immigration judge who found the decision would not be in breach of any human rights.
Cornwall is at the lower end of the average income scale. Despite this, the £18,600 earnings figure is applicable nationally, regardless of what the average income in a particular area may be.
The couple’s Lib Dem MP, Dan Rogerson, said: "We need to make sure that the immigration system lets families in low income areas like ours stay together, whilst at the same time ensuring that people have the financial means to support their spouse if they come to the UK."