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Some of our families' stories

 Here are some heartbreaking accounts of the real impact of the UK visa rules on children and families.

If you are from the media and interested in more stories please contact us 

Neil – daughters 5 & 8 years

I lived in The Philippines from 2005 until 2015. Since then I have been living and working in UK and returning to the Philippines every Christmas for as long as I can afford. I met my wife in 2007, we were friends until 2009 and married in Jan 2017. We have three children, two young daughters (5 & 8) and my wife's son (11) from previous. We also had another son but he died at five weeks old.

I used to own a popular sports bar in Puerto Galera and my wife managed the day to day things there. When she became pregnant with our son it was becoming clear that I had to return to UK as there was not enough spare cash available to support us with a new baby properly. I left to come to UK when our youngest daughter had recently turned two years old and my wife was six months pregnant.
Our son was born and I was away working. He was diagnosed with late neonatal sepsis.

Being 7000 miles away I was worried sick. Our newborn son went into ICU in the nearest hospital from my family (54km) but there wasn't enough incubators to put him in. Everything went wrong and I was not in control of anything. I had and in fact still have a hundred questions and nobody to ask them to. I don't know why this happened to my son.

I flew to the Philippines to meet my son in casket and put him in the ground. They do things differently there, the deceased are kept at home for a week in an open coffin with a plastic top so that all the relatives can come around and see them. This tradition sees the house open for a week and many visitors, friends relatives and neighbors around. This is what I found when I arrived there.

Two weeks later I was back at work in UK. I had no time to grieve or to consol my wife and children. My heart was broken into a thousand pieces.

The effect this tragedy had on my children was as you would expect but my wife to her credit was fantastic with them.

I couldn't stop crying for a long time, like 18 months. It would get me at work, in the car or in the shower. Always when I was alone and my mind would wander.

At least my wife had the kids to keep her busy but I did not. I turned to alcohol to help me sleep and forget. In the end, it made me quite ill and I had to dramatically change my lifestyle to get out of it.
Four years on and we are still separated. I work 80 hours a week to support my family and make sure they have everything they need but I still cannot afford the visa application fees and all the associated costs... Almost twelve thousand pounds to get my family here on a two year visa. As such, we are moving to Malta next year. My own mother has never met her granddaughters.