Baby Oliver born two weeks early as St Albans visa application couple prepare for another attempt
- Credit: Archant
A St Albans couple fighting for the right to stay together in the UK have welcomed newborn baby Oliver into their lives, two weeks early.
His prompt arrival may have been stress induced - Wanwan Qiao’s blood pressure spiked only days after her spousal visa application was refused.
Chinese national Wanwan and her husband, St Albans local David Kiff, have been battling to stop Wanwan’s deportation during the tenure of her pregnancy - and for more than seven months while her application was processed, Wanwan had no access to NHS pre-natal care such as scans and check-ups.
Wanwan was nearly full term when she finally received the refusal - even though little Oliver would not be able to follow her abroad, freelancer David would struggle to find work without speaking Chinese languages, and Wanwan has no-one to help her get back onto her feet in China.
The Home Office said there was “no reason why you and Mr Kiff could not relocate to China and enjoy your family life there”, and although it “may involve a degree of hardship”, it is not “insurmountable”.
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Wanwan has four months to leave the UK unless the couple is successful in another application.
The new baby, Oliver Le Qiao Kiff, was just 5lb 11oz when he arrived on September 4.
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David said: “Wanwan’s never had high blood pressure in the past but after we had the application result, her blood pressure spiked and she was taken to hospital, and he was born soon after.”
After numerous emails and letters, David has not been able to speak to his visa case worker.
“I can’t put into words how annoyed I am the Home Office are putting us through this, it’s unnecessary - if they would just speak to us that would be half of it, it’s so frustrating.
“But Oliver is amazing, we are both smitten with him. He’s really, really good - he’s perfect.
“He hasn’t been keeping us up at all, and it’s a bit tiring because we have to feed him three times a day, but he has been an angel.”
Oliver’s Chinese name, Le, means happiness.
After the Herts Ad exclusively broke the news about the couple’s ongoing struggles the story hit national headlines, and the St Albans community has rallied together to support Wanwan’s case, with more than 2,000 people signing a petition in just over two weeks.
On the petition website, respondent Laura W said: “Despicable, hateful behaviour and policies designed to inflict pain, uncertainty and fear upon innocent people. Sick of this government and its appalling policies.” Pamela P added: “We don’t choose who we fall in love with and no government should have to power to choose for us.
“Controlling the amount of people entering this country based on economic affordability is one thing, no matter the country, even the USA, dictating we can marry is another.” Sheena B commented: “This young couple deserve the human right of enjoying their marriage and child without fear of separation.”
After sourcing a new lawyer, David is hopeful about Wanwan’s next visa application: “I think it’s a much better case, I am much more confident.
“She [the lawyer] said there’s still a chance they could refuse it but we have a much stronger weighting for it now Oliver is here.”
Responding to the refusal, a spokesperson from the Home Office said: “Mrs Kiff’s application was refused because it did not meet the Immigration Rules. However, given Mrs Kiff’s circumstances we granted her four months leave to remain exceptionally outside the Immigration Rules so she could give birth in the UK.”
He added that “any further application from Mrs Kiff will be considered” in light of any new evidence that is provided.