Singaporean Grandma Faces Deportation Despite Living in the U.K. for 27 Years

A Singaporean woman married to a Briton who has lived in the U.K. for more than 27 years faces deportation after she stumbled on problems regarding her status.

Irene Clennell, 53, who is originally from Singapore, was detained at an immigration removal center in Lanarkshire, United Kingdom after her application to stay in the country was repeatedly rejected. She was brought to the Dungavel House and detained because she had failed to make arrangements to go back to Singapore.

Irene was previously granted indefinite leave to remain in the U.K. after she married her British husband. She also has two grown up sons who are both British citizens and a granddaughter who she “wants to see grow up.”

“The kids were born here, my husband is from this country so I don’t see what he issue is. But they keep rejecting all the applications,” Clennell said.

According to the BBC, the problem regarding her residential status started when she spent long periods of time in Singapore to care for her elderly parents who were dying. Irene said that she has made repeated attempts to re-apply for her residential status but was rejected each time.

Her husband, who is in poor health, still hopes that she will be allowed to stay with him and their family.

“My husband is so stressed. He’s not well enough to travel. He’s in constant pain and there’s no one to look after him properly,” Clennell told Buzzfeed.

“I just want to be with my family. I don’t have anything in Singapore. I don’t have a house to go to, I don’t have a job. I feel closer to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law here than my family in Singapore. My parents are both dead and I only have one sister there and we’re not that close. I feel British. When I’m here I feel at home. If I go to Singapore nobody will accept me there because they see me as a British woman. I wear Western clothes and my whole culture is here.”

“I just can’t believe this is happening. It’s a disgrace. She hasn’t claimed any benefits here and I’ve worked nearly all my life, so I can’t see what the problem is. She doesn’t cost the state anything,” Mr. Clennell added.

Meanwhile, Nazek Ramadan, the director of non-profit immigration rights organization Migrant Voice, said that Irene is just an example of how “arbitrary policies tear apart families and ruin lives.”

“These kind of bureaucratic decisions are a direct result of a relentless drive towards unrealistic migration caps that don’t take real lives into account,” Nazek said. “We urge the Home Office not to break up a family that have made this country their home for decades.”


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