Wales

Swansea toddler's UK visa denial inhumane, mother says

The family Image copyright Lindsay Dutton
Image caption Lucy with her mother Lindsay Dutton and grandmother Janice Theron

A mother has said a decision not to allow her two-year-old daughter to stay in the UK was "inhumane".

Lindsay Dutton, originally from South Africa but now living in Swansea, has a British passport but her daughter Lucy's child visitor visa has expired.

The Home Office refused to extend it and Ms Dutton needs to find £3,000 to appeal, which she said she has not got.

All applications are considered on their individual merits, a Home Office spokesman said.

"I've been getting sick, shaking, sobbing," Ms Dutton said.

The Home Office wrote to Lucy denying her claim because the two-year-old has not lived continuously in the UK for at least seven years.

Ms Dutton, who moved to Wales in August 2018 and now lives in Clydach, said her daughter has no family members in South Africa where she was born.

"We're all devastated," she added.

"I can't sleep at night. If it wasn't for the support of my colleagues and friends, I'd be a complete mess right now."

The Home Office wrote a letter addressed to Lucy, which BBC Wales has seen, telling her she had the right to appeal their decision, but must leave the country within 14 days if she does not.

Image copyright Lindsay Dutton
Image caption Two-year-old Lucy lives in Clydach with her mother

It recommends Lucy returns to South Africa with her parents, arguing they would be able to find employment there.

It also claimed the toddler "failed to provide evidence of a familial link between yourself and these alleged relatives".

Lucy's parents have British passports, but neither was born in the UK.

They claimed citizenship through their parents - something which only extends to one generation, meaning Lucy does not have an automatic right to stay as she was born in South Africa.

The Home Office has powers of discretion in immigration cases.

Image copyright Lindsay Dutton
Image caption Ms Dutton said the family was struggling to find funds for the process to appeal

Lucy's family has appealed on the grounds of her human rights, with the backing of the Labour MP for Gower Tonia Antoniazzi.

She said: "This case is incredible, to think that a two-year-old has been refused a visa, it beggars belief.

"This baby has access to two parents here in the UK - her paternal and maternal grandparents are here - it's just heartbreaking to think that the Home Office can expect a two-year-old child and her parents to move back to South Africa. "

The Home Office said all applications were considered on their individual merits and it would be inappropriate to comment on Lucy's case as it was ongoing.

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