Thetford couple “torn apart” by visa struggle

A newly-married wife who faces deportation to Canada said she was 'devastated' at the prospect of leaving her new home.

Stacy Quinlan, 36, a native Canadian, married her husband, Ian, in Thetford last November.

But the happily-married pair face a separation of 5,000 miles as Mrs Quinlan's visa application has been turned down by the UK Border Agency.

'I am absolutely devastated,' she said. 'They are tearing a family apart for no reason.'

Mr Quinlan, 36, said he would be desolate if his new wife were forced to leave. 'It is desperate,' he said. 'I don't think two people could really love each other more.'

Although the pair went through official channels to get a spouse visa at �600, the authorities have refused to grant Mrs Quinlan leave to remain in the country.

Despite allowing the couple to get married, the agency has turned down her application to stay in the country as she did not have permission to live in the UK for six months before the marriage.

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Mrs Quinlan now faces a long wait back home in Lethbridge in Calgary while waiting for another visa application.

'It is completely indescribable,' Mr Quinlan said. 'It is so cruel.'

Friends of the pair have formed a group on Facebook to fight the deportation.

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: 'Anyone seeking to remain in the United Kingdom as a spouse must enter the country with the right visa.

'To help prevent abuse of the immigration system, those who arrive in the UK on a general visitors' visa are not permitted to switch to the spouse visa route once in the UK. They must instead return to their home country and apply from there.'