A Lancaster woman whose Indian partner faces deportation is pleading with the government to let them stay together.
Carol Sharp, 57, says her partner Jameel Mohammed, 39, is her “only bit of happiness”, but he now faces being sent back to his home city of Hydrabad in India after being found in the country illegally.
The couple, who have been together for eight years, met and fell in love while Jameel was in the UK on a student visa.
Carol, a mother of one and grandmother of two, has been told she can go to India with Jameel, but says her health conditions prevent this, and is arguing that this wasn’t taken into account when the Home Office made its decision to deport him.
The couple are now waiting on a final appeal, and say they are “on edge all the time” as they await their future either together or apart.
Carol said: “I just want to be happy. I’ve just had such a bad life. Jameel is my only bit of happiness.
“They say I should move to India but my grandkids are my world. I have them most weekends they would miss me as much as I’d miss them.
“Also I have agoraphobia and I’ve not been on public transport for about 15 years.
“I also have COPD and I’m on a lot of medication and they’re basically expecting me to go on a plane and I’d never be able to breathe in India’s heat.
“Jameel has two brothers, one in Australia, and the other in Hydrabad, but there’s no-one else for him there.
“His life is here.”
Carol said Jameel’s student visa ran out after the couple met, and he was caught in the country illegally three years ago. Since then they have been fighting for him to stay, and he has to attend regular meetings at the immigration centre in Preston.
They are expecting to hear the outcome of the appeal before Christmas.
“We’ve been advised to go for a Judicial Review, but we can’t afford that.
“It’s £500 just for a consultation, and it’s around £6,000 in total. I don’t know what they expect me to do.
“The case wasn’t dealt with properly last time as my health issues had not been taken into account. I’ve got no-one to help me, and I don’t think I’d be able to go on if he was sent back to India.”
The couple say they are desperate and “on edge all the time” waiting for the verdict.
The Home Office was unavailable for comment as the Lancaster Guardian went to press.
The Citizens Advice Bureau issues guidance for people living in the UK illegally, and suggests contacting them or the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. It says applications are normally refused if someone applies more than 14 days after their permission to stay has expired, but it also says someone who has a partner with a right to stay in the UK may be eligible to apply. See www.citizensadvice.org.uk/immigration.