A Kettering-born man who served his country during the Cold War has blasted ‘unfair’ immigration rules which have seen his South African-born wife refused entry to the UK.
Ken Taylor, 75, returned to the UK, renting a home in Desborough, eight months ago after spending 50 years in his adopted home of New Zealand.
However, after becoming tired with life in the southern hemisphere, Mr Taylor said he wanted to return to Kettering to see out his twilight years alongside his wife Louise and extended family.
But his attempt has been scuppered by Border Agency officials who said he and his wife did not have enough funds to move to the UK.
The couple, say immigration officers, are £15,000 short of the sums needed to move to the UK.
They have both claimed New Zealand pensions for the past eight years, but the UK and New Zealand have an arrangement which means citizens can claim pensions in both countries if they repatriate.
Mr Taylor would be allowed entry to the UK on his own, but his wife has fallen foul of a rule change made last year.
As a result, Mr Taylor said he has booked a flight to return to New Zealand on August 25.
He said: “Our plan was for me to arrange accommodation in the UK while she returned to South Africa to arrange her finances and begin the visa application.
“It is a lengthy and expensive process and my wife has had to cope on her own.”
Mr Taylor said he was angered that it took eight weeks, and cost more than £1,000, to find out the application had been unsuccessful.
He added: “In my view, the problem with the application could have been identified after a briefest scan of the documents and could have been returned, along with the exorbitant fees.”
Mr Taylor said his son-in-law has offered to give his wife the money to move to the UK, but the UK Border Agency says the money has to be in a bank account for six months – and Mr Taylor said he and his wife are not prepared to wait that long.
He added: “Rejection of my wife simply means I am being locked out of my own country.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said the rule changes for migrants married to UK citizens had been made so that spouses entering the UK did not become reliant on the UK taxpayer.