Petition to overturn deportation of heavily pregnant St Albans woman reaches 800 signatures
PUBLISHED: 11:08 07 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:08 07 September 2017
A petition to overturn the deportation of a heavily pregnant St Albans woman has reached nearly 800 signatures in less than a week.
Chinese national Wanwan Qiao married St Albans local David Kiff in 2016, fell pregnant at the beginning of this year, and applied for a spousal visa soon afterwards.
For seven months during pregnancy, while the application was being processed, Wanwan had no access to NHS health checks for herself or the baby. The judgement has recently come through - a firm refusal.
She has been given four months before she will be asked to leave - without her newborn baby, who will be a month old.
The Home Office cited there being “no reason why you and Mr Kiff could not relocate to China and enjoy your family life there” as the reason for refusal.
The letter admits that the couple are “in a genuine and subsisting relationship”, and relocation “may involve a degree of hardship” - but describes it as not “insurmountable”.
In response to several Herts Ad articles, nearly 800 people have signed a petition to get the decision overturned.
Petition founder, St Albans mother Nadya Giffen said: “I was utterly disgusted. I could not believe what I was reading and the fact that they denied her medical care - it riled me and I thought it was outrageous.
“I started the petition because no-one else had. I don’t want to live in a country where the government tells you who you can and cannot fall in love with. I don’t want that for my child’s future, that could be my son, he could fall in love with someone from another country.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking.”
She has also offered Wanwan some pregnancy reflexology treatments for free, before the baby is born in September, “because she is really stressed and I would like her to feel welcome and cared for and like she belongs here”.
She added: “She shouldn’t have to deal with this stress. I don’t know David or Wanwan but they live in our community, in St Albans, we are neighbours, and it is really upsetting.”
David said he was overwhelmed by the community’s response: “It’s extremely kind and we are overwhelmed. We didn’t expect the level of support we have got at all, it’s really good, we have been extremely happy with it.” Signatories of the petition commented with their reaction. A woman with the username Carol O said: “It is only common decency that these citizens be allowed to stay in the UK.
“I don’t believe in cruel decisions that split families and wreck people’s lives, we need to support people like this.”
Karen B commented: “I just don’t understand how this can possibly be the case. It’s stupid and inhuman. What’s the matter with the Government these days?”
Gavin O added: “The welfare and immigration systems are both supposed protect UK people from abuse and build a healthy vibrant UK society.
“When those systems over reach and penalize loving, caring young families who contribute to society - they should be held to account.”
Responding to the refusal, a spokesperson from the Home Office said: “Ms Qiao’s application was refused on this occasion as it did not meet the immigration rules.
“However, given Ms Qaio’s circumstances we have granted her four months exceptional leave to remain so she can give birth in the UK. Any further visa application from Ms Qiao once she has given birth will be considered.”
The Home Office did not respond to the petition, and the family are currently seeking legal advice to contest the decision.