Pembrokeshire family torn apart by immigration red tape

The family is being forced to live thousands of miles apart.

The family is being forced to live thousands of miles apart.

First published in News
Last updated
Exclusive by , Reporter

A PEMBROKESHIRE family is being forced to live thousands of miles apart after falling foul of immigration red tape.

Mark Rummery is living in Goodwick having recently took over the Ivy Bridge Guest House, but his wife of 21 years Jan, the mother of their two sons, is stuck in Malaysia having failed to get a visa.

Mark, 49, and Jan (Koi Leng Chi) 47, have lived in Malaysia for the past 25 years, and decided to move to Pembrokeshire, where Mark’s father lives.

“Instead of looking for a job and working for somebody else, we decided to invest in a business,” said Mark, talking exclusively to the Western Telegraph.

“We had plans for Jan to be the chef and serve Asian cuisine.”

The family applied to come to the UK in January last year, but have ended up travelling separately due to several problems with immigration.

The couple's 17-year-old son Trystan arrived in June last year in time for him to start his A Levels at Pembrokeshire College, Mark came over in January this year, followed by 11-year-old son Samuel in March.

“Being an expat I didn’t think I would have to leave my wife in Kuala Lumpur. I thought we’d all be on the plane together,” said Mark.

“We all miss her, certainly my younger son. We’re on the internet pretty much every day speaking to her. The last time we were all together as a family was in July 2013 when our two boys Trystan and Samuel graduated.

“I simply can’t stretch myself far enough to manage the opening of a business and the day to day running of the family."

Jan applied for a spouse visa in January 2013. In June she was told it was not going to happen as there was a technicality relating to Mark not earning £18,600 a year.

Mark said: “We’ve had a couple of appeals. She also applied for a holiday visa, and that was turned down on the grounds that there were still complications with the spouse visa.”

Mark has been in touch with his local MP Stephen Crabb, who told the Western Telegraph: “I take a firm and clear view on immigration issues but I do have a lot of sympathy for Mark’s case. I have written to the Immigration Minister to encourage him to look closely again at all the circumstances in this case.”

Mark said everyone he has spoken to, including his local church, cannot believe they are in this situation. He is now calling on someone with authority to look at his case and explain why his family is being forced to live apart.

Mark has hired a lawyer in Cardiff to handle his case. “He’s extremely positive,” said Mark, “but the reality remains nothing is going to move unless we get a slot in a court house and a judge that understands the importance of family unity.”

Mark added: “He told me there’s an article 8 which states you can’t separate mothers from their children. Both of our children are under age and British passport holders. They have every right to be here, and I have every right to be here. But my wife can’t be here because I can’t fit the immigration criteria.”

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:18pm Wed 4 Jun 14

chizy says...

And I quote:
"Mark has been in touch with his local MP Stephen Crabb, who told the Western Telegraph: “I take a firm and clear view on immigration issues but I do have a lot of sympathy for Mark’s case. I have written to the Immigration Minister to encourage him to look closely again at all the circumstances in this case.”
Wow, you go Mr Crabb. Don't get too involved eh? I thought one of the CONservative mantra's was solid and grounded family life.
On a serious note I do wish Mark and his boys gets things positively sorted very soon.
Good luck boys ;)
And I quote: "Mark has been in touch with his local MP Stephen Crabb, who told the Western Telegraph: “I take a firm and clear view on immigration issues but I do have a lot of sympathy for Mark’s case. I have written to the Immigration Minister to encourage him to look closely again at all the circumstances in this case.” Wow, you go Mr Crabb. Don't get too involved eh? I thought one of the CONservative mantra's was solid and grounded family life. On a serious note I do wish Mark and his boys gets things positively sorted very soon. Good luck boys ;) chizy
  • Score: 18

8:49am Thu 5 Jun 14

teifion says...

Whatever you may think about immigration into the UK, din't you think it's only the "easy" cases that the immigration officers get heavy on - nice, good decent folk ?

suspected terrorists, crooks, rapists,murderers ? best do sod all eh?

Good Luck to the folks involved in this case
Whatever you may think about immigration into the UK, din't you think it's only the "easy" cases that the immigration officers get heavy on - nice, good decent folk ? suspected terrorists, crooks, rapists,murderers ? best do sod all eh? Good Luck to the folks involved in this case teifion
  • Score: 12

8:40am Thu 12 Jun 14

GeoffMatthews says...

“CLAIMING TO BE WISE THEY BECAME FOOLS …” (1 Corinthians 1)

I also am a Brit, who, like Mark, has been working in Malaysia (myself helping drug abusers, addicts, etc) for over 20 years. Thus I and my (Malaysian) wife came to know Mark and his wife Jan and their two children some years ago. We know Mark as a very capable, intelligent hard-working man (a hotel manager), with a lovely, stable family. We knew of their decision to relocate to the UK, and start a new chapter in their lives, planning to live and work near Mark’s parents in Wales. We were happy for them and none of us envisaged anything so preposterous as to what has now happened – splitting a British family unit up (Mark and his 3 sons are all British), due to Mark’s wife of 21 years being from Macau?!
Thus we learned of their wretched situation, partly before Mark left for the UK, and then after he went to Goodwick near Fishguard with his eldest son Tristan. In her desperation, Mark’s wife Jan, asked my wife (who is quite close to her) to help out in the early weeks of Mark buying and then setting up a Bed & Breakfast Venture in Goodwick (The Ivy Bridge Guest House). This she/we agreed to do. This entailed my wife taking the youngest son Samuel to the UK to join his father and brother, and also taking care of the two sons, along with cooking their meals, etc, thus freeing Mark somewhat to concentrate on setting up the Guest House. At this point no one foresaw or believed that Jan would be prevented for too long from re-joining her husband and children.
It appears to us that the British government have ‘lost their minds’ and ‘all sense of decency’ in regards to the British Family (even if a wife/husband is a foreigner) judging by the laws that they are now applying. A certain part of their existing Immigration Policy appears to be some kind of ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to years of past unwise, slack laws. Here is a British citizen, an Entrepreneur, with two ‘British sons’, married to his wife for over 20 years, being told his wife cannot join him or their children? Here is a senseless, heartless policy causing a split in a stable family, depriving a husband of his wife and two growing children of their mother? (And there are apparently many similar cases in the same predicament). How can this be?! (And it seems probable that they would not now allow my Malaysian wife of over 30 years into the country, should we decide to return to the U.K?).
Thus we see the present British government, responsible for passing such crass laws, turning against its own citizens, against the family unit – and against basic human rights?! Can they not now discern between right and wrong; can they not discern between wisdom and foolishness; it appears not. They need to take a fresh look at their Policy as it relates to the circumstances of Mark and his family, and to other families caught in the same predicament, and speedily bring wise change where necessary, in line with human rights and in line with protecting family togetherness and stability.
Yours sincerely, Geoff Matthews (347, Jalan Sepakat 7, Taman United, 58200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).
“CLAIMING TO BE WISE THEY BECAME FOOLS …” (1 Corinthians 1) I also am a Brit, who, like Mark, has been working in Malaysia (myself helping drug abusers, addicts, etc) for over 20 years. Thus I and my (Malaysian) wife came to know Mark and his wife Jan and their two children some years ago. We know Mark as a very capable, intelligent hard-working man (a hotel manager), with a lovely, stable family. We knew of their decision to relocate to the UK, and start a new chapter in their lives, planning to live and work near Mark’s parents in Wales. We were happy for them and none of us envisaged anything so preposterous as to what has now happened – splitting a British family unit up (Mark and his 3 sons are all British), due to Mark’s wife of 21 years being from Macau?! Thus we learned of their wretched situation, partly before Mark left for the UK, and then after he went to Goodwick near Fishguard with his eldest son Tristan. In her desperation, Mark’s wife Jan, asked my wife (who is quite close to her) to help out in the early weeks of Mark buying and then setting up a Bed & Breakfast Venture in Goodwick (The Ivy Bridge Guest House). This she/we agreed to do. This entailed my wife taking the youngest son Samuel to the UK to join his father and brother, and also taking care of the two sons, along with cooking their meals, etc, thus freeing Mark somewhat to concentrate on setting up the Guest House. At this point no one foresaw or believed that Jan would be prevented for too long from re-joining her husband and children. It appears to us that the British government have ‘lost their minds’ and ‘all sense of decency’ in regards to the British Family (even if a wife/husband is a foreigner) judging by the laws that they are now applying. A certain part of their existing Immigration Policy appears to be some kind of ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to years of past unwise, slack laws. Here is a British citizen, an Entrepreneur, with two ‘British sons’, married to his wife for over 20 years, being told his wife cannot join him or their children? Here is a senseless, heartless policy causing a split in a stable family, depriving a husband of his wife and two growing children of their mother? (And there are apparently many similar cases in the same predicament). How can this be?! (And it seems probable that they would not now allow my Malaysian wife of over 30 years into the country, should we decide to return to the U.K?). Thus we see the present British government, responsible for passing such crass laws, turning against its own citizens, against the family unit – and against basic human rights?! Can they not now discern between right and wrong; can they not discern between wisdom and foolishness; it appears not. They need to take a fresh look at their Policy as it relates to the circumstances of Mark and his family, and to other families caught in the same predicament, and speedily bring wise change where necessary, in line with human rights and in line with protecting family togetherness and stability. Yours sincerely, Geoff Matthews (347, Jalan Sepakat 7, Taman United, 58200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). GeoffMatthews
  • Score: 9

8:03am Mon 23 Jun 14

Ginny nz says...

Having had to go through strict immigration rules to live here in paradise , they should have known better . As for the person who wrote this report it's " taken over " NOT " Took over " , shocking reporting and you should be ashamed !!
Having had to go through strict immigration rules to live here in paradise , they should have known better . As for the person who wrote this report it's " taken over " NOT " Took over " , shocking reporting and you should be ashamed !! Ginny nz
  • Score: -3

4:30pm Fri 27 Jun 14

Kingsmill_Ln says...

These are good people that had lived abroad and served in various part of the world in the past years. They served in the community and contributed towards the needy. They are humble people. They are not people who sort to live in "paradise". But rather selfless hard working professional. Wanting their children to learn their roots and be close to their aging grand parents. They are bringing with them invaluable years of international experience and exposure in hospitality industry. Is a great assets to their country. Is sad to know their returning "home" sound like a threat to their country and people. I hope the Authority working on Mark's case will soon bring to successful closing this horrifying experiences the family had to go through. Hope and peace be with the entire family. Strength and comfort be with both children that were separated from their mum. Praying for the Country to have mercy for their own people.
These are good people that had lived abroad and served in various part of the world in the past years. They served in the community and contributed towards the needy. They are humble people. They are not people who sort to live in "paradise". But rather selfless hard working professional. Wanting their children to learn their roots and be close to their aging grand parents. They are bringing with them invaluable years of international experience and exposure in hospitality industry. Is a great assets to their country. Is sad to know their returning "home" sound like a threat to their country and people. I hope the Authority working on Mark's case will soon bring to successful closing this horrifying experiences the family had to go through. Hope and peace be with the entire family. Strength and comfort be with both children that were separated from their mum. Praying for the Country to have mercy for their own people. Kingsmill_Ln
  • Score: 5

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree