American wins fight to remain in the UK

Published: 15/12/2009

An American mother living in Scotland has been given bittersweet news this Christmas.

Angela Faye Smith, 41, had been facing deportation following the breakdown of her marriage and an unsuccessful visa application. Ms Smith, who had initially entered the UK on a marriage visa, had been informed that she would need to leave the UK on 13th December as her application had been rejected and, as she did not have possession of her two children’s passports, she would have to leave them both in the UK when she was made to return to the USA.

The case became widely reported as a petition to the Home Office calling for the decision to be reconsidered caught the attention of her local MP Mike Wier. Mr Wier, alongside other local councillors and politicians, really got behind the campaign, with him labelling the decision ‘unjust and inhumane’.

Thanks to the support of local Councillor David Morrison from Ms Smith’s Arbroath constituency, a second application was made and filed with the UK Border Agency, with a local collection made to fund the application, which was gratefully received by Ms Smith.

During the period between the second application being lodged and the result being received, Ms Smith’s employer informed her that she would be made redundant if she was unable to furnish them with confirmation of her guaranteed right to work in the UK, in accordance with the legal responsibility of a UK employer to prevent illegal immigrant working.

While Ms Smith understood the necessity of such action, she was sure that the period of time given would be sufficient for her to gain an answer to her second application.

This was not the case however and, just as Ms Smith was celebrating the positive result of her UK visa application, giving her the legal right to live and work in the UK, her employer confirmed that it would be making her redundant. As she has no recourse to public funds, Ms Smith cannot claim any benefits.

Ms Smith remains positive though and is certainly delighted to be staying in Scotland with her children. She said, “I can empathise with the position my employer is in and in his shoes maybe I would have done the same thing even though I do think it is wrong. I’m staying with my kids and nobody can separate me from them.”

Councillor Morrison added, “I am so happy for her and her children but disappointed that her job has been taken away so close to Christmas.”

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