Only Fools’ Mickey in fight to lift ban on his Thai family
ended Patrick has acted occasionally – working instead as a poker professional, builder and hospital receptionist.
He now does night shifts driving executive cabs to raise the cash needed for his family’s visa application.
“I’m a Skype dad,” said Patrick, of Gravesend, Kent. “I talk to Josie and Anong every night online but I miss them both terribly. Before this change the Home Office would have recognised that my daughter is a British citizen.”
Campaigners say the rule has forced many UK f amilies i nto separation or exile.
There are 15,000 British children said to have grown up as Skype kids simply to keep in contact with one of their parents since the ruling was brought into force.
Last February the Supreme Court upheld the law change after an appeal. Justices did acknowledge that the rule “causes hardship to many thousands of couples, including some who are in no way to blame for the situation in which they find themselves”.
They also agreed it has “a particularly harsh effect” on British citizens who have lived and worked abroad, have married or formed stable relationships there – especially couples who got together before 2012 – and now cannot return home to the UK.
“Of particular concern is the impact upon the children of these couples, many or even most of whom will be British citizens themselves,” said the judges.
However, they added, that “does not mean the ruling is incompatible” with article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, on the right to family life.
Patrick said: “The Supreme Court called the new rule cruel and harsh but not illegal. So, thank you, Mrs May.
“I can understand why we have to stop immigrants in high numbers but she doesn’t think of families like mine.”