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Mum-to-be granted visa in deportation row U-turn

PUBLISHED: 18:48 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 18:48 21 September 2018

Dean Smith and Grace Mi, from Manningtree Picture: GREGG BROWN

Dean Smith and Grace Mi, from Manningtree Picture: GREGG BROWN

A first-time mum who was facing deportation at seven months pregnant has had the decision overturned, her husband has revealed.

Grace Smith has now been granted a visa Picture: GREGG BROWNGrace Smith has now been granted a visa Picture: GREGG BROWN

Grace Smith was left distraught after being told by the Home Office she must return to China – despite being just weeks away from giving birth.

The Chinese national was locked in a row with the government department after having three visa applications rejected.

She met and married husband Dean in China – where they both worked – more than 10 years ago but the pair returned to Manningtree to look after her husband’s dying father.

Mrs Smith was granted a spouse visa which expired in February this year and she spent £11,000 on three failed visa applications.

Grace and Dean Smith Picture: RACHEL EDGEGrace and Dean Smith Picture: RACHEL EDGE

News of the third rejection came on the same day the 35-year-old lost her job at Marks and Spencer in Colchester, because her right to work was withdrawn.

But this afternoon, Mr Smith said his solicitor had been in touch revealing the Home Office had reversed their decision and granted his wife a visa.

“The Home Office has reversed its decision and granted my wife a visa reinstating full rights to work,” he said.

“For all our friends and the community that supported us. We do not have the words.

“Tough times don’t last. Tough people and communities do.”

While Mrs Smith added: “Words can not describe my feelings at the moment, it’s just so unreal. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you everyone for your great help and support.

“This has definitely brought back my faith, and again – never, never, never give up.”

Thousands of people signed a petition over Mrs Smith’s case, while dozens turned out in support for her at a council meeting.

Home Office bosses rejected Mrs Smith’s second application after suggesting the couple’s combined income failed to meet the required £18,600.

They threw out the third on the grounds she would not face “insurmountable obstacles” in being sent back to China.

When the Home Office was contacted by this newspaper following the third rejection, they got in touch with Mrs Smith’s representatives, adding they were considering whether it would be appropriate to grant a period of leave – given the circumstances.

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