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Kingswinford church pastor's Brazilian wife denied entry to UK in rule change

A church pastor says his 13-year marriage to a Brazilian woman is being 'ripped apart' by immigration bosses who are refusing her entry to the UK - because he cannot provide six payslips.

Wedding – Robert and Adna Cooper

Robert Cooper immediately fell in love with his wife Adna while working as a missionary in Sao Paulo and after six months married her at Kingswinford Christian Centre. The pair then worked and settled in the region for three years.

But after returning to the South American country for nine years to teach English at a private school and then run a church, Mr Cooper has been told by the Border Agency that he cannot bring back his wife to this country.

The problem lies with new immigration rules brought in last July which mean only British people who show they have earned more than £18,600 a year can sponsor their non-European spouse's visa.

Mr Cooper was earning more than 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.

"It's heartbreaking for both of us, the Borders Agency has ripped us apart," said Mr Cooper, who returned to live with his parents Robert and Katherine, in Comber Drive, Pensnett in March.

The 38-year-old is appealing against the Borders Agency's decision, and has the support of Dudley South MP Chris Kelly.

He said: "We have been together for so long, and now my only contact is over the internet or telephone, the whole thing is terrible and has left me feeling powerless.

A Home Office 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.

"Mrs Cooper's application did not meet the requirements of the immigration rules."

The couple appealed against the application refusal last month, and expect to receive a date for an appeal later this month.

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