A heavily pregnant British woman and her husband have been left “devastated” after the Home Office refused to grant him entry to the UK weeks before their first baby was due.
Elise Addiscott, 29, from south Wales, had been looking forward to spending Christmas Day with her husband, Kenny Monteiro, 26, a Cape Verdean national, before the birth of their baby in January.
The couple married in August, a year after they met at the hotel Mr Monteiro works at in Cape Verde. They were hoping to build a life together in Britain, and applied for a six-month visit visa in November, with a plan for him to then return home and apply for a spouse visa.
But his visa was refused on 3 December on the grounds that the Home Office did not believe he was “genuinely seeking entry as a visitor”.
Ms Addiscott, a dance teacher with a six-year-old daughter from a previous relationship – who has formed a close bond with Mr Monteiro – said she was shocked by the refusal.
Speaking to The Independent, she said: “I was devastated, I just burst into tears. I had to leave the lesson I was teaching. We were so ready for him to come. We’d bought matching Christmas pyjamas for him.
“It’s frightening that I’m going to have to give birth alone. I just can’t imagine that he won’t be there. I haven’t come to terms with it yet. I watch other couples walking around buying baby clothes and I can’t bring myself to do it without him.”
The 30-year-old, whose birthday is on Christmas Day, said she felt it was “ridiculous” that the Home Office was splitting her family up, adding: “I feel like this country is forcing me to be a single mum of two. I’ve got a husband who wants to support me, but I’m left on my own.
“I was planning to take 18 weeks of maternity leave and then go back to work, but I don’t think that will be possible now because he won’t be there to help with childcare.”
Ms Addiscott added: “I work, I’ve got two degrees. I’ve not claimed anything from the government. If I didn’t have a job I would understand. But they seem to just tar everyone with the same brush.”
Chai Patel, legal policy director at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said: “No one wants to live in a country where a father can be prevented from attending the birth of his child, and supporting his partner, by Home Office bureaucrats.
“We do know that officials frequently refuse visit visas, particularly from Africa, and this results in huge hardship for families whose loved ones are prevented from attending weddings, funerals, and other important occasions. These discriminatory practices must end.”
A Home Office spokesperson said they did not routinely comment on individual cases, but added: “All visa applications are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence available, and in line with the immigration rules.”