Visa application denied for couple

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A WORKSOP man is being kept apart from his US wife after her visa application to move to the town was denied - which they claim is ‘unfair’.

Phillip Barry Lake, 55, is a retired policeman and former soldier from Carlton Road in Worksop. He now owns a fitness club in Derbyshire and runs a nutritional supplies business. He met his current wife, Tamara Bianca Sahler in Las Vegas in 2010. The pair were married in California in January this year.

The couple have been hoping to start up a new life together here in Worksop - but Tamara’s visa application has been refused.

“We find it disturbing, distressing and hard to believe that they would consider that a serving police officer would somehow attempt to deceive them,” said Phillip. “My wife earns £60,000 a year, drives a five litre Mercedes and owns a number of properties in Southern California where the food, fuel and tax are cheaper - why would she give all of that up to come and live in Worksop unless our marriage was legitimate?”

“I would move to the US to be with her but I have three children who are under 16 and an 80-year-old housebound father.”

Phillip argues that he and his wife have gone ‘above and beyond’ to meet the immigration department’s requirements. They have thousands of photos of themselves as a couple during visits, as well as business receipts and numerous letters of support - including one from Tamara’s grandmother, an ordained Methodist minister who married the couple. Now, Phil believes that the authorities are ‘shifting the goalposts’.

Phillip has grown so frustrated that he’s also been in touch with Bassetlaw MP John Mann.

Mr Mann told the Guardian: “There are strict immigration rules regarding getting into this country that apply to everyone.”

“As long as they follow these rules and Mr Lake can demonstrate that he can support her, and I’m sure that he can, then I’d expect them to succeed with their application.”

The couple have since lodged an appeal against the visa refusal.

A UK Border Agency spokesperson responded: “The responsibility lies with each visa applicant to demonstrate they meet the requirements of the UK’s immigration rules and to supply the evidence to support their application.”

“Each application is considered on its merits. If an application does not contain the evidence required, it will be refused. The rules are fair and apply to everyone.”