A British woman and her Zimbabwean husband who are aiming to return to the UK after suffering repeated attacks and robberies at their home in Harare are facing problems due to the Government’s minimum earnings requirements.
Sandra De Klerk, 75, from Stroud in Gloucestershire is desperately trying to secure a settlement visa for husband Gerry, 80. The couple married in Stroud in 1976 and have lived in Zimbabwe ever since.
But after a string of attacks at their home, they have both ended up in hospital, with Mr De Klerk suffering a severe beating. The couple have also lost thousands of pounds in cash and jewellery in the raids.
Mrs de Klerk said: “We are both utterly traumatised and terrified from the attacks. We are lucky we weren’t killed. All we want is to move back to Stroud. It is where I grew up; I have family and friends there. We just want to live somewhere where you can go home and go to bed without fear.”
The couple obtained an application form for a settlement visa for Mr De Klerk but we told they had to prove proof of £18,600 in earnings annually for five years or savings of at least £62,500. However, their retirement savings were lost when the Zimbabwean dollar collapsed in the 1990s and they cannot provide the required financial guarantee to allow Mr De Klerk to settle in the UK with his wife, who is still a UK citizen.
Mrs De Klerk, who has children and grandchildren living in Gloucestershire, said: “We have emailed and written to several agencies with no success, simply being referred from one to another and even had a visit from a consul from the British Embassy.
“But now we really are starting to lose hope.”