Wife's joy as judge overturns visa ban

A church pastor and his wife of 14 years who were torn apart because of an immigration wrangle have won their battle to be together.

Robert and Adna Cooper, from Pensnett
Robert and Adna Cooper, from Pensnett

Robert Cooper says he is overjoyed after a judge overturned the Home Office’s decision to refuse his wife Adna a resident visa application. The pair were split when immigration officials refused Brazil-born Adna a right to stay in the UK.

But following a year’s campaign, the couple finally got the decision they wanted. Mr Cooper, who lives in Pensnett, says he hopes his wife will return next month.

It follows a year's campaign and a tribunal hearing in Birmingham last month and the couple still must wait several weeks before Mrs Cooper's visa is ready.

Mr Cooper, aged 39, is flying out to Brazil next week to see his 35-year-old wife for the first time since January, and hopes to bring her back with him when he returns to the UK on June 17.

Mr Cooper, who lives with his parents in Pensnett, said: "We were both totally overjoyed - we knew they (Home Office) were wrong, but we were still anxious the case could all be lost and we'd never be able to live together in the UK.

"It's been an exhausting year, as a couple we feel like we have overcome an awful lot, but we're here at last and I can't wait to get out there and see her again.

"I hope she can come back with me and we can start life all over again."

The Home Office refusal of Mrs Cooper's permanent residence was partly because Mr Cooper could not prove he earned more than £18,600 a year at his job, a new requirement under new immigration rules.

Mr Cooper earned the required amount from the Brazilian-based church, but could only provide accountant receipts, not payslips, as his employer, a non-profit organisation, did not supply them.

Mr Cooper, who attended Pensnett School as a child, said: "The judge must have looked at the evidence and agreed it was an unreasonable demand by the Home Office.

"It still baffles me why she was refused the visa.

"Common sense has prevailed - but it has cost us about £5,000 in legal costs, all money we had saved to live a life in the UK."

The pair met in Sao Paulo in Brazil while Mr Cooper was working on a missionary.

They returned and married at Kingswinford Christian Centre, before heading back to work in Brazil.

When coming to the UK last year, Mrs Cooper could only get a tourist visa and had to leave in January.

Mr Cooper said: "Adna is delighted too.

"To be honest, it's exhausted us both and we're looking forward to getting on with our normal lives again.

"I'm still working for the church and she is going to start searching for a job, times are exciting again, but we can't escape the fact this has taken a year out of our married life."

In visa applications, the Home Office says it is down to the applicant to provide evidence to prove they meet criteria.

A spokesman said: “All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules, the onus is on the individual to provide the necessary evidence to support their application.

“Ms Cooper’s application did not meet the requirements of the immigration rules.”