Ex-sol­dier is ‘forced out’ of UK to be with his wife Falklands vet­eran and fam­ily in Home Of­fice visa wran­gle

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Mike Lock­ley Fea­tures Staff

AFALKLANDS War vet­eran has made the de­ci­sion to move his chil­dren to The Far East after his Chi­nese wife was barred from liv­ing here.

And Gary Walsh has slammed the gov­ern­ment for block­ing wife of 17 years Xia Zhao’s re­turn to the UK.

The 53-year-old for­mer squad­die said: “Theresa May has no re­spect for mar­riages and fam­i­lies.

“With Brexit, she pledged fam­i­lies would not be split-up, which is some­thing I agree with.

“But I’m Bri­tish, my chil­dren are Bri­tish and we have gone to the back of the line. I have no loy­alty left for this coun­try.

“We talk about build­ing walls, but walls here, too.”

Xia Zhio came to Bri­tain in Au­gust 2015, on a 12-month visa fol­low­ing news Mr Walsh’s fa­ther was gravely ill. She trav­elled with her hus­band and their two chil­dren, 16-year-old Daniel and Mei Li, 13, and the fam­ily set-up home in Aming­ton, Tam­worth.

The cou­ple were mar­ried in Dubai in 2000 and had been work­ing in Jo­hoe Bahru, Malaysia, be­fore mak­ing the mercy dash home. The for­mer sol­dier with the Royal Sig­nals taught English abroad, Xia Zhio, 44, is an ac­coun­tant.

In May 2016, Xia’s ap­pli­ca­tion to stay and work in the UK on hu­man rights grounds was re­jected. The de­ci­sion meant she was un­able to gain em­ploy­ment – or even carry out vol­un­tary work.

Mr Walsh, orig­i­nally from Pype Hayes, Birmingham, al­leges the gov­ern­ment ad­vised his wife to re­turn to her fam­ily in Shan­dong Prov­ince, Eastern China, and re-ap­ply for a “spouse visa”.

She flew out in June 2016, be­liev­ing the pa­per­work would be a for­mal­ity.

To date, Xia Zhio has made ap­pli­ca­tions at £3,000 a throw.

The Home Of­fice’s re­fusal to ac­cept her ac­coun­tancy qual­i­fi­ca­tions and her own re­fusal to be in­oc­u­lated for TB, which she feels un­nec­es­sary, Don­ald Trump we’re build­ing four have proved bar­ri­ers. For a year, he has been left to look after the chil­dren. Now he plans to leave Bri­tain within weeks.

“We never thought there would be a prob­lem, we have been naive,” said Mr Walsh.

“We thought we were do­ing things the right way. This has cost us £9,000 and we sim­ply don’t have any money left.

“We no longer have a choice, we are go­ing and not com­ing back. We have been apart for one year, that is the long­est time we’ve been apart.

“It has been bloody aw­ful. Our son Daniel keeps him­self to him­self, but Mei Li broke down in school. She is in bits.

“Peo­ple have said, ‘but you fought in the Falklands’. It means noth­ing. I have lost all hope.

“The way we have been treated is dis­grace­ful. The col­leagues I served with in the Falklands sim­ply can’t be­lieve what has hap­pened.

“There are many, many ser­vice­men in this coun­try with wives they met in Hong Kong.”

After weeks with her fam­ily in China, Xia Zhio found part-time ac­coun­tancy work in Dubai, where she is cur­rently stay­ing. Mr Walsh and the chil­dren flew out to be re­united with her at Christ­mas and Easter.

He now has two op­tions: mov­ing to China or up­ping sticks to Myan­mar, for­merly Burma, where he has the of­fer of a teach­ing job. The lat­ter seems most likely.

On Fe­bru­ary 18, 2016, the Home Of­fice in­formed Xia Zhao: “You were fully aware when es­tab­lish­ing any pri­vate life or ties in the UK that you would not be re­main­ing in the UK in­def­i­nitely on your cur­rent visa.

“In any case, you can main­tain con­tact with friends and rel­a­tives via mod­ern means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion from China.”

The Home Of­fice not been heart­less.

It added: “All ap­pli­ca­tions are con­sid­ered on their in­di­vid­ual mer­its and in line with the Im­mi­gra­tion Rules.

“Cer­tain na­tion­al­i­ties, in­clud­ing China, do need a tu­ber­cu­lo­sis test if com­ing to the UK for more than six­months from an ap­proved cen­tre.”

Peo­ple have said, ‘but you fought in the Falklands’. It means noth­ing. I have lost all hope

stressed it had

Gary Walsh

> Ex Falklands sol­dier and teacher Gary Walsh and his wife Xia Zhao

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