UK woman unable to bring Tunisian husband to Britain

29 May 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A British woman has been prevented from moving back to the UK with her Tunisian husband because they do not earn enough money to qualify for a spouse visa.

Deborah Chniti, 43, moved to Tunisia in 2012 to marry Ala, 27, after meeting him two years earlier via Facebook. She believed she would be able to bring her new husband back to the UK for up to four years without a visa after she left her home town of Stoke on Trent, but this is no longer the case.

Mrs Chniti, who is too ill to work and lived on disability benefits in Britain, says that because of her condition she cannot earn money in Tunisia. Her husband works as a labourer but only earns the equivalent of £5 a day.

Although she is free to return to Britain, her husband cannot obtain a spouse visa unless he is earning £18,600 a year or the couple have savings of £62,500.

Mrs Chniti told the Daily Mail: “I gave my house up, lost my car and my kids and went to live with my daughter. Every single thing in the UK I owned is gone. I’ve got nothing now.

“I need to go home. I want to be with my children and grandchildren, but I can’t leave my husband. I’m an emotional wreck. No-one speaks English where we live. I’m stuck in the house all day.”

She said that it was unfair for her to live apart from her husband after they had been together for two years, but it was impossible to live on his earnings.

Stoke-on-Trent South MP Rob Flello has contacted the Home Office on her behalf, but a spokesman said that the family rules are designed to stop spouses coming to the UK from relying on the taxpayer for support.