Stephen Purcell
[Address removed]

Tel. [removed]

Sunday 25th July 2004

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing this letter to detail the circumstances of my wife Myrlia's application for further leave to remain in the UK as my wife.  We are aware that, given Myrlia's current visitor status, she is not directly entitled to make this application from inside the country, but we believe strongly that there are compassionate circumstances that we would kindly ask the Home Office to consider.

Our situation has elicited strong support from our friends, my employer and my Member of Parliament, and from our distressed extended family.  We have included with our application a number of letters written by those parties.

In January of this year, after an extended period of visiting each other in London (where I was resident) and Munich (where Myrlia formerly lived with her ex-husband), Myrlia was finally granted a divorce and we managed to organise our wedding.

In February, after a chaotic period of uncertainty about where we would settle, Myrlia found herself in the UK on a visitor entry clearance when we decided that we would like to settle here.  We dutifully took steps to formalise her residency here, and although Myrlia was pregnant and had been advised by her doctor to avoid further flights, we were prepared to travel in order to obtain visas if absolutely necessary. We promptly contacted the Home Office by telephone, explaining our circumstances fully, and were advised that we could make an in-country FLR application with a letter detailing our situation.

We made the application as advised, and many weeks later it was rejected on the basis of Myrlia's visitor status, contrary to the advice we had received.  By that time, Myrlia's pregnancy was too advanced for flying to be an option, and her visitor clearance was due to expire at the end of July, when our child would be only eight weeks old.

Since the rejection of that application, we have been in a constant state of stress, knowing that we had no right of appeal and would have to find a way to resolve the situation, or be forced to undertake international travel very soon after our child's birth.

In the months since the Home Office decision, the question mark over the residency issue has left us unable to move to a house more suited to a young family, and I have been unable to commit to long term projects at work that might have further advanced my career.

Our daughter Grace was born here on her due date, the first of June, and is now less than eight weeks old.  In addition to the inevitable stresses of parenthood, the inappropriate apartment and my worries about supporting my family, we have spent every spare moment of our time worrying about how we could possibly leave the country to obtain the entry clearance the Home Office insists upon.  My wife is showing many signs of stress and depression, and I am faring little better.

Grace is breast-fed, and must therefore travel with her mother. She is also, to date, un-immunised.  We have, naturally, received strong medical advice against flying with such a small infant.

If my wife and infant were to make the long flight to Myrlia's de-facto country of current residence, the USA, they would be absent for a significant and indeterminate time.  I would be unable to join them without either resigning from my job (thereby voiding our claim for residency) or taking an unpaid leave of absence, which we could not support financially.  Separation of our family in this way would inevitably heap further distress upon us.

After arriving alone in America, my wife and British daughter would need to undertake further flights and lengthy road journeys if she were required to attend immigration interviews.  The likelihood of Myrlia's stress and depression worsening is significant, and the two could not reasonably obtain medical care if it were needed.  (A minor incident on a past visit resulted in a bill of $4000 for an uncertain diagnosis and no treatment.)

In order to resolve this situation, I decided that the risks to our family are too great for such a trip to be made, and that we would make a further application for leave to remain in the UK in the earnest hope that the Home Office will recognise the compassionate circumstances of our application and grant us permission to stay here as a family.

I thank the Home Office in advance for the time and consideration given to our case.

Yours faithfully,

Stephen Purcell