A Trinidadian family being threatened with deportation from the United Kingdom has started an online petition seeking to have their visa fees waived so they would be able to stay in the UK.
Peter Dipnarine and his family have lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, for almost 14 years but are unable to pay the £7,000 visa fees, which are due every two and a half years.
Some 73,659 people have signed the petition to date. The goal is 75,000 signatures.
The family’s story was first highlighted in the UK’s Daily Mail online.
Peter and Claire Dipnarine, both 57, are from Trinidad. The couple’s eldest son, Rene, 27, was born in Trinidad, but their two daughters Chantal, 22, and Marie, 16, were born in the U.S., where the family lived for several years before moving to Edinburgh.
The couple worked mostly in administration until their residency visas expired in November 2016.
According to the online petition, which was started by Rene Dipnarine and can be found on the change.org website, the UK is the place where “we’ve lived, worked, studied and laid down our roots.”
“But now we are being threatened by a deportation that could tear our whole family apart.”
Rene wrote, “My parents and I are citizens of TT whilst my two sisters are American. This means that if we are deported, my sisters would be separated from my parents and me. They could be sent to the U.S. where we have no home, no friends and no relatives. Splitting the family apart would be heart-breaking, traumatic and inhumane.”
Both Rene and his sister Chantal are completing their degrees and their younger sister, Marie, is in her last year of secondary school.
“Due to our visa status the family has not been able to keep permanent jobs, which has put us in a difficult financial situation and meant we simply cannot afford to pay the visa fees this time around.”
He said having spent more than half their lives in the UK, they were treated as illegal immigrants by the Home Office after they were told to go to a police station every month.
“It has left us feeling worried and insecure about our futures. We have applied to have our fees waived but the Home Office has rejected our application.
Please sign this petition so that my family and I can stay together in the UK.”