Becoming a new mother is arguably one of the most beautiful, but stressful things in which a young woman can go through. The waking at 4am for a feed, the stress of keeping baby warm and safe, understanding what each cry means- no one can prepare you for this journey.
This was all made much more complicated for myself and my husband, Werner Oelschig when our daughter, Aurora was born 11 weeks prematurely, and sent straight to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of Derriford Hospital on December 23rd 2019. She was born at 3lb3oz.
She was immediately treated for Suspected Sepsis upon birth, and given assistance with breathing. A routine cranial ultrasound was administered, and a small bleed on our tiny baby’s brain was found. While this is fairly normal in pre-term babies, it was a terrifying diagnosis to hear as her parents. She spent nearly 7 weeks solely dependant upon medical care, including: under phototherapy treatment for extreme jaundice, nearly requiring a blood transfusion, being solely tube fed for the first 5 weeks, over a month in an incubator- the list goes on.
After 6 weeks and 5 days in Hospital, we were allowed to take Aurora home, and finally become the family we were so desperate to be. We intended to have a full week to acclimatise to our new situation.
Article 8 of the Human Rights act: The right to a family. The right to a private life and family life only subject to conditions that are necessary and in accordance with the law. Meaning you have the right to them, so long as they do not harm anyone else essentially.
What I have not mentioned until now is that my husband is from South Africa. We met while I was travelling in South Africa intending to volunteer, but ended up meeting him, falling dramatically in love and moving in with him for 3 months instead. As a British citizen I was allowed entry into South Africa for 90 days without the need for a visa. So on day 89, I flew back to England, bringing with me a fiancé (not the duty free gifts my family were looking forward to).
We had applied for a visa that would allow my husband to enter for 6 months, and we could get married here, and transfer his visa into that of a spouse.
Until this application got denied.
After 4 days at home with Aurora we received the letter notifying us that my husband’s application had been refused- this was because of three main points.
The first is that we do not meet the entry requirement of financial income or savings. This would have to be a yearly salary of £18,600 per year or more (only considering my income, as he is not allowed to work here until his visa is approved). This would be fine, but I am a full time student alongside employment, so juggle time enough with 20 hours work alongside a law degree. Student finance is not included in their allowed income.
The second reason is that his English language certificate is not the allowed version. He took the test in an approved test centre in Pretoria, South Africa- he took the Academic skills test, which looks at Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening. This has been refused because the ONLY test he needed was Speaking & Listening. They refused because he is overqualified.
The third is that they believe Aurora would not be detrimentally affected by growing up in South Africa. It doesn’t seem to matter that it is the 50th most dangerous country in the world, with a terrible rate of crime, substandard healthcare systems, and none of her maternal family able to visit regularly. Her paternal family are much more spread out across the globe, with family in Holland, Oman and Germany- meaning we would not be with Werner’s entire family if we were to be in South Africa, in the same way we are around my entire family in England.
We are now instructing Stephens Scown in Exeter to assist us with the legal battle we face, arguing that by deporting my husband, the Home office are denying him a human right. As well as endangering our daughter’s life by expecting to rip her away from the healthcare she is reliant upon here.
We have gained amazing support through friends and family, and have over 1400 signatures on our petition to keep Werner in the UK. As well as £1000 raised through Gofundme and Facebook donations towards our fees. Please continue to help us in anyway you can, whether by signing our petition, sharing our links to your Facebook page, or if you can- donating towards our fees (over £4000) We thank everyone who has helped us, and hope we will be able to repay everyone’s kindness in the future.
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