Bristol father 'stabbed in heart' by UK visa rejection

Mahmoud Abdelrahman and wife Norah El-Gohary
Image caption Canadian citizen Mahmoud Abdelrahman may have to leave his wife and family in the UK

A father of four could be forced to leave his wife and family in the UK and return to his home country because he did not have enough savings.

Mahmoud Abdelrahman, a Canadian citizen who lives in Bristol, has been refused a visa to stay in the country.

His wife and four young daughters are all British citizens and the couple own their home outright.

However, Home Office rules state those who apply for a settlement visa must have more than £62,500 in savings.

Mr Abdelrahman, a software engineer, was working in Canada and commuting from the UK, while staying on a visitor visa which expires in April.

His contract came to an end in November and he applied for a settlement visa so he could stay and work in the UK.

But this was declined because he did not meet the financial criteria of having a high enough income or savings of £62,500.

'Really stressful'

Mr Abdelrahman and his wife Norah El-Gohary were married in 2007 and their four daughters, aged between four and nine, were all born in the UK.

He said: "You can't prevent children from being with their father. The kids are established in their schools and this is where their life is.

"It scares me that someone can make a reckless, rash decision like this. I feel like it is a stab in the heart."

Mrs El-Gohary added: "It's really stressful. I cried when I first got the news."

A Home Office spokesman said: "All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence available and in line with UK immigration rules."

He added visa applicants "need to prove they have the minimum funds required" and Mr Abdelrahman was unable to do that.

Mr Abdelrahman plans to appeal the decision, but the process can take up to 12 months during which he would be separated from his family.

A petition supporting the family has gained nearly 4,000 signatures.

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