Couple battle with UK immigration against deportation after investing 'every cent' to stay

12 June 2017 - 12:54 By Taschica Pillay
Image: Gallo Images/iSock

Former Lotto and Road 2 Riches TV presenter Paul Freathy and his wife‚ Gail‚ are selling their business to fund their battle with UK immigration against deportation.

The couple are putting their photographic shop in Torquay‚ a seaside town in Devon‚ England‚ up for sale in the hope that they can raise enough money to be able to pay the legal costs of enabling South African-born Gail to stay in the UK.

They left South Africa for Britain in 2013 after a violent robbery at their Johannesburg home. They invested “every cent” in moving‚ with furniture and pets‚ to start their business.

Freathy‚ 58‚ is British-born‚ but his wife needed a spousal visa‚ which expired earlier this year. She was told to leave the UK and then reapply for a visa‚ but decided to stay put and try to resolve the problem.

They even missed their daughter’s wedding in January in South Africa because they were locked in the visa battle in Britain and feared that leaving the UK would jeopardise the chances of Gail being allowed to return to their new home.

The couple applied for a family permit or leave-to-remain visa. Both were denied.

After initially being told they had just 28 days to leave the UK‚ Gail is now appealing the decision against the family or human rights visa application which was made eight months ago.

“That was rejected‚ even after the Minister of Immigration‚ Robert Goodwill‚ looked at it personally. The appeal was allowed. If the appeal is unsuccessful‚ we will either return to South Africa or if we have enough cash left over we will try to apply for a spousal visa and get normal jobs‚” said Paul.

Paul said it would cost up to about £15,000 in legal costs.

“We don’t want to go the 'fundraising route' as it just seems so selfish‚ so we decided to sell up. Gail is allowed to stay for as long as the appeal takes‚ and depending on the outcome of the appeal .... we will know if we can remain or not.

“If we are not allowed to remain‚ at least we will have the cash from the sale of the business to help pay our expenses to return to South Africa.

“Life has been stressful. My health has deteriorated. I now have Tinnitus — ringing in the ears‚ often related to hearing loss — which adds to my depression and stresses me out even more. I have gone on a serious diet of no carbs and loads of exercise in an effort to help myself. Gail is also stressed‚ but she is the stronger one of the two of us‚ always has been‚ and she just keeps on going. We have a lot of support from our local community‚ who keep popping in to see how we are‚” said Paul.