A married couple who have an 11-year-old son are being prevented from living together in the UK by immigration rules on their finances.
Leighsa Henderson and husband Scott, who is a US citizen, met at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, had son Alex in 2002 and married three years later. The couple separated in 2006 and Mr Henderson returned to the US. However, they reconciled in 2009 but Mr Henderson is unable to return to his family in Lakenheath due to the 2012 changes in financial arrangements for spouses from overseas.
Mrs Henderson suffers from the condition fipromyalgia and receives benefits, and does not earn the £18,600 or hold more than £62,500 in savings which is required for her husband to return to the UK. Mr Henderson has a degree in engineering and computer technology but his earning capacity is not considered when deciding on whether he can rejoin his wife in the UK.
Mrs Henderson said her son has not seen his father for two years.
“Alex really missing his dad. He’s old enough to realise how long things are going to be,” she told the Bury Free Press. “It’s difficult having your partner so far away when they could be there to support you.”
Mrs Henderson is now taking an Open University degree with the aim of improving her employability prospects, and ultimately earning enough to allow her husband to rejoin his family in the UK.
Habib Rahman, chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said: “This heart-breaking case is unfortunately not unique. Our experience is of hundreds, if not thousands of similar cases across the country.”