The clock is ticking for a husband and wife who are facing deportation because they do not earn enough money to stay in the country.
Joe and Sarah Aburn will be forced to leave their Tansley home, sell their belongs and even give away their dog because Australian-born Sarah’s two-year work visa will run out on February 17.
Sarah, 27, has been working for the Post Office and Joe, 29, is a self-employed gardener.
The couple was shocked to discover they were unable to renew Sarah’s work visa just over a week ago.
Joe said he came home one day to find his wife in tears.
“She was told she was not eligible for a visa because we did not meed the criteria,” he explained.
Joe discovered that because his wife was not a UK national, he is supposed to support her and is required to earn at earn at least £18,500 a year or have £60,000 savings in the bank in order to do so
“As a self-employed gardener I don’t make that much,” he continued. “And who has £60,000 to hand?
“I feel like I am being punished for not earning enough.”
In desperation, the pair contacted the MP for Romford, Andrew Rosindell, after hearing he had spoken out about this situation before for other people.
The MP has subsequently written to the Home Secretary Theresa May, MP for Derbyshire Dales Patrick McLoughlin and the assistant director for London and South East UK visas and immigration Jay Sajee.
However they are sceptical about their hopes of staying in this country.
“Everyone I have spoken to can’t believe it,” Joe said. “You would think with her being a Commonwealth citizen and us being married she would be able to get a work visa, but she can’t.”
The couple met while working in America eight years ago and married in May last year.
Joe said they have now made a life for themselves in Tansley and don’t won’t to leave, adding that he is close to his family who live nearby.
The pair are now preparing to leave the country and move to Australia at short notice, and have to start selling their possessions and even find a new home for their Jack Russell Frankie, who they don’t want to put through the ordeal of being quarantined.
Joe continued: “It’s ripped us in two, and yes my family can come and visit but when is that going to be?
“We’re leaving everything.”
“I just feel like we are going to have to go and we’re never going to be able to come bank and live in my country,” he added.
A Home Office spokesman: “We are building an immigration system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate migrants and tough on those who abuse the system or flout the law. We welcome those who wish to make a life in the UK with their family, work hard and make a contribution. But family life must not be established here at the taxpayer’s expense.”