A woman has been forced to return to Canada while her husband recovers from bladder cancer surgery in the UK after they were caught up in a visa row.
David and Maria Summers, who have been married for 45 years and have a son and a grandchild, had been living together in Canada until two years ago. They came to UK in 2013 to look after British-born Mr Summers’ mother. Mrs Summers is originally from the Netherlands but moved to Canada aged 10 with her parents.
The couple, who are both retired, have a home in Herefordshire without a mortgage and also receive income from pensions. But Mrs Summers has been refused leave to stay in Britain because immigration officials said they did not have enough money and had not proved they have a genuine relationship.
She appealed for leave to remain in the UK to care for her husband after his cancer diagnosis and to look after his mother, 95. The Border Agency asked for documents as proof of Mr Summers’ illness but she did not hear back from the authorities before her UK visa was up and she had to leave the country.
She said: "It's terrible that I can't be here for him. First they said we could not prove we had an affectionate relationship, then they said we don't feel you have the money to support yourselves.
"But we both receive pensions from Canada, David has a salary as a councillor and I do optical consultant work."
Mrs Summers told the BBC she was made to feel like a “criminal” every time she entered the UK, with her photograph and fingerprints taken by officials. The couple originally met in Canada in 1966 and married in 1970. Mrs Summers said it was “ridiculous” for the authorities to claim they did not have a genuine relationship.