After 14 years in UK, T&T family facing deportation over £7,000 visa fee

A Trinidad and Tobago family living in Britain, has claimed that they face being split apart because they are can't afford to pay a 'ridiculous' £7,000 (TT$62,000) visa fee.

In a report carried by the Daily Mail, Peter Dipnarine, who has lived in Edinburgh for 14 years with his wife Claire and three children, state that their residency visas expired in November 2016.

The parents, both 57 and originally from Trinidad and Tobago, have worked in England, mostly in administration, until their visas expired.

But now the couple are struggling to find employment because they were unable to pay the fees to get a valid visa.

The family members, none of whom is in full or part-time employment, say they are stuck in a vicious circle as, without a valid visa, they will not be able to secure jobs and fear they could be split up.

Son Rene, 27 is also from Trinidad and Tobago their daughters Chantal, 22, and Marie, 16, are citizens of the United States.

It would mean the family would be separated if the worst was to happen, the Daily Mail report said.

The report notes that after a fourth application to waive their fees was rejected by the Home Office, son Rene resorted to getting public support with an online petition.

It has attracted more than 70,000 signatures.

In an emotional letter, Peter wrote: 'I don't even want to think about us being split up.'We are all worried and are scraping by each month to afford to pay the rent and for food to live off.

'We are being treated like illegal immigrants. They should not be like this when children are involved.

'The Home Office just looks at a name on a piece of paper. They don't consider the consequences their actions have.

'We have friends here and we are happy. We just want to live a normal life. Edinburgh is our home and we don't want to go because we love it here.

'I didn't realise I had 70,000 friends to be honest. We are very grateful to those who have signed the petition.'

The family has recently been granted immigration bail with conditions to reside at their Drylaw home and report to their local police station every 12 weeks.

A fifth application was sent on June 13 in order to stay in Scotland but they face at least a six-month wait for another response.

The Daily Mail reported a Home Office spokeswoman saying: 'When setting fees, we also take into account the wider costs involved in running our border, immigration and citizenship system so that those who directly benefit from it contribute to its funding.

'This reduces the burden on taxpayers.

'There are exceptions to application fees to protect the most vulnerable, such as for young people who are in the care of a local authority.

'Application fees are also waived where evidence provided shows that a person may be destitute, or where there are exceptional financial circumstances, and requiring a payment would result in a breach of rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).'

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

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