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Woodbridge: Suffolk teacher forced to live apart from Russian wife over visa row

15:12 08 April 2014

Eugenia and Charles Tait with their daughter, Angela, on their wedding day in 2010

Eugenia and Charles Tait with their daughter, Angela, on their wedding day in 2010

Archant

A Suffolk teacher fears his family will be torn apart by the Government’s refusal to allow his wife back into the country.

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Charles Tait and his daughter Angela, five, are struggling to cope living without wife and mother Eugenia who is being denied a visa to come to England to be with her family and remains in Russia.Charles Tait and his daughter Angela, five, are struggling to cope living without wife and mother Eugenia who is being denied a visa to come to England to be with her family and remains in Russia.

Charles Tait, the grandson of Benjamin Britten’s personal physician, is embroiled in an immigration row after his wife of four years, Eugenia, was twice denied entry to the UK on a visitor’s visa.

The couple met in May 2007 in St Petersburg, where Mr Tait taught English privately and at language schools.

They married three years later in Mr Tait’s hometown of Aldeburgh, where they moved with their daughter following the death of Mr Tait’s grandfather, Ian, last year.

Mrs Tait returned to St Petersburg this February to renew her six-month visitor’s visa - but her application was refused by the British Embassy in Moscow.

The couple say the refusal is down to officials deeming Mrs Tait’s intended voluntarily care for her mother-in-law as employment.

Mr Tait, who teaches at Ipswich Academy and remains with five-year-old daughter, Angela, at their home in Leiston Road, is willing to provide for his wife, who supported her mother-in-law, Janet, following her husband’s death.

He has also has set up a petition calling on the Government to allow his wife to live in the UK which has garnered nearly 350 signatures.

He said: “Both applications were submitted with property deeds and bank statements, and all the necessary guarantees on my part to provide for her, given that she is not allowed to work in the UK.

“It was in the immediate aftermath of my father’s death that we decided it was time to come back from Russia to Aldeburgh, so that my mother could have the benefit and support of her immediate family near at hand.

“Angela, naturally, is worried by her mother’s absence, and my wife is anguished by it.”

Mr Tait believes the Government will persist in its refusal to grant his wife entry until she is allowed to apply for a full resident’s visa as a spouse. But that application can not be made until he has been employed for six months in the UK or 12 months abroad – a status he argues is difficult to prove because much of his work in Russia was self-employed and his current employment began only in January.

He said: “The apparent disregard of the immigration authorities for the family ties of its citizens also means that care given at the family home for her elderly mother-in-law, following operations and her bereavement, is being given against my wife as a reason for denying her a visa; namely, her not having the right to work, paid or unpaid.”

Mrs Tait intends to apply for full residency in the summer, when her husband will have completed the required employment term. In the meantime, she hopes a third application for a visitor’s visa will be successful.

She said: “Only a parent can understand the agony of being separated from their child for unknown time. Not being able to provide support and help, to hug and kiss, to celebrate achievements and comfort at losses.

“While trying to meet the spouse visa requirements we thought I could come to the UK for periods granted by the family visit visa.

“Coming as a visitor doesn’t allow me to work or apply for any benefits - something I’ve never done anyway - thus I’m not a threat to the employment possibilities for the local people, nor will I be a threat to the country’s budget.”

The Home Office was unable to provide a response to a request for comment in time for publication.

The online petition at change.org can be found by searching for Eugenia Tait on the homepage.

• Support is growing for the family, click here for latest

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6 comments

  • I think that you are over-thinking the situation. Really, the UK is not a great place to be. The people here are uneducated and simply dull, and that is reflected by the coalition movements. Get a life!

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    Sion Cable

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

  • rules are rules...

    Report this comment

    Chris Ward

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • Don't struggle go in live in Russia with her , problem solved

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    pandy

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • It seems odd that Mr Tait moved to the UK "last year" but he has not achieved a 6 month employment history. To fulfil that requirement it may have been worthwhile to obtain a job anywhere in the UK and then later move back to Suffolk. Also, you print this story when they have only about 3 months left to go (I don't know what date in January he started work) so it is a problem with a resolution. My only problem with the immigration system is that is is illogical in many ways. A person with £100,000 in the bank who rents a home can meet the financial requirements for himself and spouse BUT a man with a house he owns (whether it is worth £100,000 or £1,000,000) and say £50,000 in savings cannot. But the man who rents may have to spend far more p.a. on living expenses. But if Mr Tait were an EU citizen (from any country EXCEPT his own country of the UK) he would not even require a Visa to bring his wife here! Crazy but true. It is only UK citizens who have the onerous Visa regulations in their own country. Which also means that possibly Mr Tait could have lived with his wife in another EU country and then entered the UK with no Visa requirement. Also, it is very easy for the wealthy and chums to enter the UK; perhaps by being given an inflated salary by his 'employer', even if that 'employer' is a foreign crook wanting to get his gang into the UK! But then foreign students who contributed so much to the UK economy are now being refused entry and so are adding instead to the wealth of countries such as Canada, which welcomes them. So many illogical issues and flaws in the immigration rules and so badly administered also.

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    Johnthebap

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • I am surprised his local MP has not helped them.

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

  • I think that you are over-thinking the situation. Really, the UK is not a great place to be. The people here are uneducated and simply dull, and that is reflected by the coalition movements. Get a life!

    Report this comment

    Sion Cable

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

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