A Northam father has spoken of his desperation to keep his family together after his Guatemalan wife was refused a UK visa by the Home Office.
A Northam father-of-two is desperately trying to keep his young family together and stop his wife being deported back to Guatemala.
Scott Handy, 42, and his wife Glenda, 35, were ‘devastated’ when Glenda’s application for a visa was refused after more than a year of waiting.
The couple, who married in Guatemala in November 2013, have two children, Xavier, three, and Xander, two – both are British citizens.
But Glenda, who was born in Guatemala, has been refused a visa by the Home Office on the grounds she had ‘illegally entered with the intention of overstaying a six-month tourist deliberately settle in the UK’.
The couple deny this and are now undergoing a costly appeal process to prove their case. They will face a hearing in January to determine their fate.
In a matter of days, Scott has gained the support of nearly 9,000 people in a petition to the Home Office, begging for his family to stay together.
He said: “We can hardly sleep at night, all huddled together in the same bed, embracing each memory as a family unit like they are the last.”
Scott said he ‘cannot face’ taking his family back to ‘dangerous’ Guatemala, where violent crimes and murder are a daily occurrence.
“Over a period of nine months, the area that we lived in had three babies stolen from their mother’s arms,” said Scott, who had been working in the country on sea turtle conservation projects.
“In the city, if you go out after 7pm there is no-one around; people are too scared to go out because the only people on the streets are criminals.
“Glenda was terrified to leave the house with the children. It was just horrific.
“Our two children are amazing and they deserve the right to live here, where they are citizens, with both parents.”
Glenda had initially only entered the UK on a tourist visa because the family was planning to move to Spain, but the EU referendum meant Scott’s job offer fell through.
Scott said he does not know what will happen if Glenda is refused a visa in January.
“I’ve had to take time off of my teacher training course with the stress of fighting this, and Glenda is just in bits,” he added.
“It’s been amazing that so many people have got behind us but until that date in January we are living in uncertainty.”