Swansea mum's heartbreak as visa refusal forces family apart
A DEVASTATED mother has spoken of her heartbreak over the UK Border Agency's decision to prevent her husband and two children from joining her in Swansea.
British citizen Zena Hamodat came to the city in December 2011 in the hope of establishing a new life for herself, her husband Ahmad, and their two children Salah al Deen, six, and Rabab, four.
Her family are currently living as refugees in Jordan, Amman, after they fled their home city of Baghdad, Iraq.
She has not seen her husband or children for 13 months.
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But despite working full-time at KFC at Morfa Retail Park as a supervisor and claiming no benefits, the agency has rejected her family's settlement visa applications as it does not believe she earns enough money to support her family.
Mrs Hamodat, 32, of Ael y Bryn Road, Fforestfach, said: "Throughout the process we have provided all the necessary information, everything which has been asked of us we have done.
"Our application was refused in May. We have done everything the right way. We appealed the decision in June and we heard nothing back from them until November.
"They apologised for taking so long and the appeal authorities gave the British Embassy in Amman until November 26 to make a decision.
"They have spoken to my boss, who told them providing he had the right to work in the UK, he would have a job waiting here for my husband. But they have maintained their decision as they are not convinced.
"What else are we meant to do? I have worked very hard to provide a life for our children. It is devastating."
Mrs Hamodat took the decision to come to the UK after they were unable to come under the Mandate Refugee Scheme.
In their refusal letter, the agency stated they did not believe the job offer for Mr Hamodat from KFC amounted to a "meaningful offer of employment" either.
She said it had been incredibly tough for her and her family and they planned on appealing the decision again.
"It has been devastating for both of us, with the kids in the middle.
"We speak on the internet but I haven't seen them for more than a year," she said.
"I have been advised to take some of the pressure off and go and see them later this month which I am going to do.
"I feel like we have been slapped in the face. We have done everything right.
"I have never claimed any benefits whatsoever, I pay my National Insurance and income tax. We are doing this for our children as they deserve it."
In a letter to support their appeal Mark Farley, of Farley and Associates specialist immigration services, wrote Mrs Hamodat has provided evidence to show she earns enough to support her family and have the application approved.
It reads: "In April 2012, the family applied for the Entry Clearance to join her in the United Kingdom and were refused on the basis of Mrs Hamodat not earning more than £235.29 a week and the Embassy not believing the job offer to Mr Hamodat to be genuine. We have provided Mrs Hamodat's original pay slips for the financial year to date and over the past 40 weeks her average take home pay has been £244.30.
"In December 2012 the Visa Section of the British Embassy rang the employer and were assured that they are more than happy to offer Mr Hamodat employment with them based on how highly they valued Mrs Hamodat's work ethics.
"Mrs Hamodat is a hard-working, law-abiding citizen wanting to do no more than to provide a strong stable future for her family. She has sacrificed 13 months of her life to achieve this objective and we would ask that you take this into full consideration when considering this appeal."
A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "We cannot comment on this case while a legal appeal is outstanding.
"British citizens who want to sponsor a spouse visa for their partner must be earning a minimum of £18,600, a threshold based on advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee and calculated as the level at which a couple generally ceases to be able to access income-related benefits. British citizens can enter into a relationship with whoever they choose but if they want to establish their family life here, they must do so in a way which works in the best interests of our society.
"Family life must not be established here at the taxpayer's expense."