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Home Office decision could leave Harrogate 2-year-old without his mum

Harrogate family appeals Home Office decision to split them up

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 7:35am 26th July 2018. (Updated at 7:38am 26th July 2018)

A staggering 86,000 people have now signed a petition urging the Home Office to think again over a decision that would split up a family in Harrogate.

Stephen Hynes launched the petition on change.org after his wife, Valentina Hynes - who is originally from Nigeria - had her application for Leave to Remain refused.

"Every time I watch my son, I wonder if this will be the last memories I have of him as a child" Valentina told Stray FM.

Stephen added: "It is like living a life in limbo."

Until last year, the married couple were living in Nigeria with their 2 year old son Harry-Zander, until Stephen had a series of mild heart attacks, which went undetected.

While on holiday in the UK, Stephen was rushed to hospital where it was diagnosed that he had had a heart attack.

The family subsequently moved to the UK so Stephen could receive medical treatment.

Due to the speed of events, The Hynes family say Valentina was unable to apply for a spousal visa and instead arrived, legally, on a visitors' visa.

LISTEN: The family describe their reaction on receiving the news

Immigration rules normally require a person to leave the UK and re-apply to switch to another form of leave.

The family say they have don't know how long this would take and believe there are clear compassionate grounds to support their application.

But in a letter to the Hynes family, received a week after Valentina suffered a miscarriage, the Home Office stated that there were 'no compassionate factors' in their case to warrant a grant of leave to remain.

In the meantime, an appeal won't be heard until February.

Valentina said:

"I still can't get over it. How can you tear a family up?

"I can't believe the UK Government, that preaches so much on family and the child's rights, would so blatantly reject and deny my child his rights.

She added "Why break up a self-supporting family? We don't live off the state.

"What crime have we committed and how do I pose a danger to this community?"

The family have vowed to fight the decision and have thanked people who have signed their petition and supported them online.

They hope the publicity will encourage the Home Office to think again.

Stephen, who is originally from Harrogate, said:

"We are not alone in this situation, there are a lot of other families in the UK who are suffering the same problems and all fighting the Home Office to try and get them to rescind decisions of refusals of extensions of visas to stay here."

A Home Office spokesperson said,"The case is subject to an ongoing appeal and so it would be inappropriate to comment."

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