AN AMERICAN wife who was threatened with deportation, despite being a carer for her husband, has been told she has won her appeal.
Kate Clifford, a Brownie leader, launched a petition to stay in the UK after the Home Office said her situation was not exceptional enough to warrant her staying to care for her husband Ross, who suffers from a number of serious conditions.
Despite running her own planning consultancy and fundraising for a number of local good causes she was told she would have to leave the country because the Home Office felt Mr Clifford could care for himself – or he could move to the US with her.
But, having submitted further information about her husband’s condition, the 33-year-old has been granted leave to remain for two-and-a-half-years.
Mrs Clifford, who came to the UK on a student visa in 2008, said: ‘It’s a huge relief. I can actually move on with my life – work, travel. I can do what I wanted to do and make plans more than a week in advance.’
The couple, of Oriel Road, North End, had been in limbo since Mrs Clifford’s application for citizenship expired in 2012. She has made several appeals and submitted applications for different types of visas since, eating up £3,000 of their savings.
More than 2,300 people signed a petition to keep her in the country.
Mrs Clifford added: ‘If all this had been sorted out three years ago we would probably have kids right now. It has kept us from moving on and starting a family.’
Once the leave to remain expires Mrs Clifford can apply for another two-and-a-half-year visa and has been told indefinite leave to remain will be granted after that.
Mr Ross has lost the sight in his right eye, damaged his knee so there is no cartilage, has chronic depression, and suffers from cerebral palsy.
Despite this he runs his own businesses.
Mrs Clifford is a volunteer Brownie leader and has fundraised for both the The Mary rose Trust and Wymering Manor.
She moved to Portsmouth from Philadelphia in the US in 2008 on a student visa to study building conservation at the University of Portsmouth.
Around that time she met her husband-to-be who was born in South Africa to English parents and has dual citizenship.
In July 2010 Mrs Clifford graduated and switched her visa to a post-study visa which was valid until February 2012.
The couple married in 2011 and in 2012 Mrs Clifford was told she would not be able to remain in the country under a spousal support visa as Mr Clifford was well enough to look after himself.