Canadian wife of British soldier told she cannot live here

Darren Jarrad, 28, was told by immigration officials that his wife Chantel could not make a home in Britain due to fears she would claim benefits.

The couple met in 2006 when Mr Jarrad was a private in the Royal Anglian Regiment on a training exercise in Canada and their daughter Shyanne was born in April 2007.

They lived together in the UK from July last year until January, but Mrs Jarrad then had to return home to Canada because her six month visa had expired.

Since the couple who married in Canada earlier this year they have only been able to see each other by making occasional transatlantic trips.

Mrs Jarrad, who has not seen her husband since April, has been trying to get permission to live full time in the UK, but has been turned down.

Norman Lamb, the local Liberal Democrat MP, described the decision as “a dismal payback” for Mr Jarrad’s years of service as an infantryman serving his country.

UK Border Agency officials have ruled that Mr Jarrad who left the Army in April last year does not earn enough to support his family.

But Mr Jarrad insisted that he earned “a decent wage” as a floor restorer and technician and they would not have to claim benefits.

He also revealed that his father Kevin would have been happy to house him and his wife and daughter at his family home in Felmingham near Fakenham, Norfolk.

Mr Jarrad, who served for six months in Afghanistan in 2007, said: “It’s a real kick in the teeth. I don’t want an easy ride in life and I don’t want to sound like I’m making a big thing of being in the army, but I have done quite a lot for this country and then this happens.

“I didn’t mind going out to Afghanistan and Iraq, I didn’t complain. I just don’t understand why they won’t let us have the visa. I’m not a rich bloke, but we have enough money, and I have never claimed anything off the government.”

His father added: “It’s so unfair. Darren has done everything right and all he wants to do is look after his wife and their little girl. How can there be anything wrong in that?”

Speaking from Canada, Mrs Jarrad described the immigration rules as “understandable but kind of stupid” as she was planning to get a job if she lived in the UK.

“I am keen to live in Britain to experience the culture and get to know the other half of the family. The separation is becoming hard for Shyanne. She got to know her dad during the six months when we were together. Now she wonders where he is.”

The couple now plan to appeal against the visa refusal or reapply, but face paying out hundreds of pounds more in fees with no guarantee of success.

Mr Jarrad who also served seven months in Iraq aims to try to move to Canada to be with his family if his wife continues to be refused permission to live in the UK.

Mr Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, said: “It seems to be a pretty pernicious system which results in a father being separated from his wife and daughter, especially when there is so much emphasis on the importance of fathers as role models and keeping families together.

“I will support his case, which appears to involve some pretty dismal payback from the government to someone who has committed to serve their country.

“The rights of Ghurkhas to live in the UK rightly received a lot of attention recently and it appears this is a similar example of, in this case, a British ex-serviceman being treated poorly.

“We have to change the way we treat the people who serve this country. For someone to fight for their country in the pretty horrendous circumstances of Afghanistan and then face being separated from his family doesn’t seem right.”

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “The system is firm and fair, and it applies to everyone. All applications for visas to enter the country are considered in line with the UK’s immigration rules taking into account all relevant circumstances.

“The responsibility rests with applicants to demonstrate they meet the criteria for the type of entry clearance they have applied for.

“For example, an applicant for a spouse would need to demonstrate that they will be able to maintain themselves without recourse to public funds.

“Where an application does not meet the requirements of these rules, it will be refused.”