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Sidcup couple pushed to brink of divorce over immigration fight
A MARRIED couple say they are on the brink of divorce after spending £17,000 fighting to stay together in the UK.
Gary Edwards, 52, and his Brazillian wife Claudia, 35, of Blackfen Road, Sidcup, feel they have been unfairly treated and claim they were given misleading information about the immigration guidelines.
Claudia, who currently has a two-year leave to remain visa says she has been spending 12 hours a day trying to pass the Knowledge of Life test which is required for indefinite leave to remain living in the UK.
She has failed it three times and Mr Edwards says the couple's money is quickly running out as his wife only has a cleaning job.
The mother-of-two said: "We went to the immigration office in Croydon last October a week before my appointment with the evidence I had passed my English language exam.
"I was told I had all the right documents and should pass the test next week.
"I went back a week later for my appointment and was told I had failed because I had not put forward the right documents.
"Each time you apply for indefinite leave to remain it costs £3752 and we have already done this twice.
"We are spending our life savings on these immigration tests and applications.
"All I want to be able to do is to live in the UK with my husband and two daughters.
"I was failed in October because I had not given any evidence of passing the Knowledge of Life test.
"I wasn't told about this test before the appointment and there was no way we could get the money back.
"I have now been spending all day everyday trying to answer the questions which are quite difficult, normal people in the UK would find it hard to pass."
Examples of the kinds of questions include: A very impressive hill fort can still be seen today at Maiden Castle, in the English county of ______? and how old is the Big Ben bell?
Mr Edwards, who currently is out of work because of a back injury, said his wife is even considering divorce because it is putting so much stress on their relationship.
He added: "We lived in Goiania in Brazil straight after we got married but I just couldn't adjust to life out there.
"We came back to the UK at the end of 2011 and started the process to try and get Claudia a permanent visa.
"My wife will probably only give this test one more chance because she cannot handle it anymore, it is to much for us.
"We have spent so much money already and our money is running out fast.
"I have written to our MP James Brokenshire but not recieved any kind of useful response."
James Brokenshire, MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, said: "I respond to all enquiries from constituents and have made clear that I am very willing to raise this case with the Immigration Minister.
"I am looking forward to receiving further details to take this forward."
A Home Office spokesperson added: "All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules.
"Although Mrs Edwards completed an English language exam she did not provide evidence of passing the Knowledge of Life test, which is a requirement of the rules.
"She has been granted leave to remain for a further two years to allow her to do this."
The couple have spent: £3750 on the first part of British immigration, £3752 for one attempt for a permanent immigration application, £4700 on flights back and forth from Brazil £3000 on visas for the UK while in Brazil £2000 on solicitors fees.
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