'Relief' as Chinese mum granted UK visa

Image source, Sarah Elliott Photography
Image caption,
The couple got married in November 2016

A British man who was told he should "relocate to China" has spoken of his relief after his Chinese wife was granted a UK visa.

David Kiff, 32, and Wanwan Qiao, 27, who live in St Albans, got married last year and became parents in September.

The Home Office refused two visa applications from Mrs Qiao but she was granted one on Saturday after a third application.

Mr Kiff said they were both "absolutely over the moon".

"It's such a relief, it's like a huge load has been taken off your shoulders... as soon as we were told there were just tears of joy.

"Nobody can describe the feeling you get once you finally get the result you were after, after fighting for so long."

Mrs Qiao has lived in the UK for three years - initially on a student visa - and the couple met in April 2016 after chatting online. They then got married in November 2016.

At the second hearing in August this year, the Home Office told her there was "no reason" why the couple "could not relocate to China" and gave her a four-month visa extension.

Image source, David Kiff
Image caption,
The Home Office had previously said there was "no reason" they could not relocate to China

For a visa to be granted to a non-EU spouse, immigration rules require a couple to be earning a combined income of at least £18,600 a year.

Mrs Qiao's first application was turned down because Mr Kiff was self-employed and unable to properly demonstrate his income.

He said he provided adequate proof of income for her second application but the Home Office said it "did not meet the immigration rules".

The couple's lawyer Uche Uwaezuoke, who took on the case for the third hearing, said: "The baby had been born on this occasion so the human rights aspect, to say that the mother should not be separated from her husband and more importantly, her child, was one of the main focal points that we put forward."

Image source, David Kiff
Image caption,
The couple had their first child in September

A Home Office spokesman said the four-month visa extension that Mrs Qiao was granted in August has "since been extended by a further 30 months".

Mr Kiff said it was "the best result we could hope for at this time".

"But we are really hoping it will just be a tick box exercise [next time]… we've got the visa so it should just be a renewal," he said.

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