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.”