A pregnant British woman from Liverpool is facing effective deportation to Nigeria under harsh new family migration laws. Becky, 23, met her Nigerian husband Uzo, 33, in a Liverpool club when she was a fine art student at Wirral Metropolitan College and working part-time in a garden centre.
Uzo had originally come to the UK to visit his aunt, but decided to stay and join the British Army as an engineering pioneer. The pair married in May 2012 and applied for Uzo’s spouse visa as his job with the army ended, but they were refused due to two mistakes on the application.
Then the new family migration rules were introduced on July 9, 2012, which stipulated that a British citizen needs to earn at least £18,600 to sponsor a non-EU spouse to stay in the UK – a sum too high for Becky and Uzo (as well as 47% of British citizens, according to campaigners).
When Becky was 25 weeks pregnant, they appealed the case under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which protects the right to family life.
They managed to win and set off on a family holiday to Wales to celebrate.
But as they were relaxing in Wales, relieved at the court’s decision, a phone call from Becky’s father came through telling her a letter from the Home Office had arrived saying it planned to appeal the decision.
“I never thought I could feel so ashamed of this country I call home.”
“We could not believe our own government’s immigration officers would be so callous as to suggest our baby in utero had no rights to be taken into account,” said Becky.
“It almost insinuates that they’re hoping that he will not come into being in the near future.”
To make things worse, an ultrasound scan found that their baby had a kidney problem and a possible chromosomal disorder.
“There is absolutely no regard to family life in their treatment of people’s cases and their procedures are immoral and unethical.”
Becky now faces the decision of having to go to Nigeria with Uzo and raise the baby there, or staying in the UK and caring for the baby alone without its father.
“My husband tries to tell me it’s going to be OK, but we just don’t know what our future holds right now,” she said.
“At a time when it is of utmost importance for a woman to be looking after her health, I feel incredibly disgusted in my country for persecuting us this way and treating us as scapegoats to the UK’s economic problems.
“My husband wants nothing more than the right to get working and support his pregnant wife and future son and, in effect, pay taxes and contribute fully to UK society. He has never been here illegally or committed any crime. He even has a well-paid job waiting for him.”
The couple’s hearing is set for November 29, when Becky will be 37 weeks pregnant.
“We have sunk all our money into this process and I have became so distressed and ill with the thought that we have to continue this fight,” said Becky. “[It] seems to be for the unjustified benefit of the UKBA to meet a rejection quota and meeting their randomly plucked out figure of reducing immigration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands.
“There is absolutely no regard to family life in their treatment of people’s cases and their procedures are immoral and unethical. I am experiencing panic attacks, my blood pressure’s shot up and I cannot sleep.
She added: “I never thought I could feel so ashamed of this country I call home.”