‘Immigration rules are destroying my family’

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A new mum who claims who claims that her family has been torn apart by immigration rules is set to take her fight to Westminster.

Shelley Hornby-Baaouani, 28 who lives in Great Denham married her husband Walid in Tunisia in December last year, two months before their son Rayen was born.

But Walid has missed his first son’s birth, and big chunks of his early life, after problems calculating Shelley’s salary, as a result of new Home Office rules, have meant that the application will not be reviewed again until October.

And even though the salary comes to over the required £18,600 a year Shelley claims that immigration officials unfairly calculated it by her lowest pay slip and multiplied that by twelve months.

The mum, who works at Luton International Airport, said: “How much of this child’s life has he got to miss just so this government can prove a point.

“I just don’t think it’s fair that someone in the government can decide whether I can have my husband and if my child can have his father here.”

She added: “Theresa May said the rules were so there would be no burden on the tax payer, but Walid is coming from outside of the EU so wouldn’t be able to claim benefits anyway.”

Shelley met Walid, 26-year-old hotel worker while holidaying in Tunisia in 2011.

While putting together a variety act for others staying at the resort, the couple fell in love and for the years that followed Shelley travelled to see him on a regular basis, both in Tunisia, and while he was working in Norway.

After Shelley fell pregnant she and Walid married, and expected to be able to settle in the UK before the arrival of baby Rayen who is now three months old.

Shelley, said: “When we found out we were having a baby we were engaged already, but brought the wedding forward so that we could get married before the baby was born.

“We got married and got all the paperwork completed and ready and sent it all off, but six weeks later they contacted my husband and asked him to the embassy in Tunisia, they told him the application had been refused on the grounds of the financial requirements.”

She added: “We’ve spoken to a solicitor who says that now a court will decide but we won’t hear from them til October.”

The Home Office recently brought in tighter rules on the migration of non EU spouses of UK citizens to the UK. But campaigners, including Shelley claim that it will have a devastating impact on those who have fallen in love overseas and will break up families.

Shelley has now set up a Facebook group entitled The UKBA Are Destroying My Family, and has contacted her local MP Alistair Burt.

And on July 9 she has been invited by the Migrants Rights Network to a meeting in Westminster with Baroness Hamwee to raise awareness about the issue.

Shelley said: “We just want him to be here with his family and to see his son growing up..”

A Home Office spokesman said: “British citizens who want to sponsor a spouse visa for their partner must be earning a minimum of £18,600, a threshold calculated as the level at which a couple generally ceases to be able to access income-related benefits. In this case, that has not been proven.

“British citizens can enter into a relationship with whoever they choose but family life must not be established here at the taxpayer’s expense.”