Woman deported after 27 years of marriage

Irene Clennell, who has two children and a grandchild and who has been married to her British husband for 27 years, has been deported to Singapore because she spent too much time caring for her dying parents in her home country. She was given indefinite leave to remain in the UK after her marriage in 1990 but spending long periods abroad in Singapore caring for her sick parents has invalidated her residential status.

She had been living with her family in County Durham and had been a beloved member of the local community. Her deportation on Sunday had therefore caused an outrage when the news broke. She was taken from  Dungavel Detention Centre in Scotland to the airport on Saturday. Mrs Clennell, who was unable to contact her lawyer, didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye properly. She is leaving behind two children, a grandchild and a husband in poor health for whom she had become the principal carer. Her parents have since died and she has no reason to go back to Singapore and leave her family behind.

Would you tear apart a hard-working family that has never claimed any benefits, that is well respected in the local community and that has been living in the UK for nearly 30 years? Mrs Clennell has since then repeatedly made unsuccessful attempts to re-apply for permission to live with her husband.

How do Home Office officials decide who is going to stay and who will have to leave the country? According to a Home Office spokesman “all applications for leave to remain in the UK are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules.”

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Jenny Bui

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