While many couples will toast the start of a fresh year this New Year’s Eve, Robert and Adna Cooper know this could be their last together.
Despite marrying 13 years ago at Kingswinford Christian Centre and living in the Black Country for three years – the Borders Agency has refused Adna a permanent visa to stay in the country.
Adna, aged 35, who met Robert while he worked as a missionary in Sao Paulo in Brazil, is only on a tourist visa and must leave the country on January 23, unless the couple can overturn an earlier decision to refuse her a permanent stay.
Currently, they await a date for an appeal hearing, but with the visa expiry date hanging over their heads, 38-year-old Robert fears he may lose his wife back to Brazil.
“We are both exhausted with the situation,” he said. Robert is staying in London working as a church pastor for the First Renewal Presbyterian Church, a non-profit organisation from Brazil.
His parents Robert and Katherine live in Comber Drive in Pensnett and he attended Pensnett School as a child.
He said: “All we both want is to look forward and have a normal life together – but with this over us we can’t.
“It’s costing us hours of time and thousands of pounds in money – but everything we are trying to do seems to be coming up against a brick wall. I don’t get why they won’t allow her to stay.”
New immigration rules mean British people who show they have earned more than £18,600 a year can sponsor their non-European spouse’s visa.
Mr Cooper, who moved to Brazil for nine years with Adna before returning last year, had earned the required amount, but because the First Renewal Presbyterian Church is a non-profit organisation, he cannot get payslips for the application, to prove his earnings.
The couple have received the support from MP Chris Kelly in their legal fight for a permanent visa. Mr Kelly said: ““I will continue to support the efforts of both Robert and Adna, I want to ensure that they get a fair deal and just decision.”Subscribe to our Newsletter