IT is a frightening prospect that a couple from Melbourne in South Derbyshire, who have lived and worked in the UK face deportation back to Zimbabwe, where they have a genuine fear for their lives.
Yvonne Karusseit and her husband, Clive, left their home in the country as they grew increasingly worried about their safety under the leadership of President Robert Mugabe.
They a had a good reason to be very scared – for Yvonne’s brother was murdered by Mugabe’s regime.
Terry Ford was a white farmer who had tended his land for years, having being born in the country. But Robert Mugabe’s sister visited the farm and decided she wanted it.
When he refused to hand over his home and livelihood, he was beaten and hacked before being shot in the head.
The death of Terry made headlines across the world.
Not least because of a photograph taken which shows him lifeless with his loyal dog, Squeak, curled up against his body. He had to be coaxed away from his master hours later.
The Karusseits believe they could face a similar fate.
They have told how they were educated in Zimbabwe. Their schooling was British and upbringing was very British. Their relatives fought for Britain in the Boer War and Second World War.
But the reason their visa application for indefinite leave to stay in the UK has been declined is because they haven’t given sufficient proof that they are proficient in English and do not have sufficient knowledge of life in Britain.
In a petition to UK Home Secretary Theresa May, Yvonne explained: “My husband and I were informed that our applications for Indefinite Leave to remain in the UK had been declined as we had erroneously omitted taking an English test and submitting same.
“We cannot appeal this decision. We are pleading with everyone to please sign this petition to assist us in getting our new visas. My elderly mother has dementia and other debilitating medical problems.
“With her dementia, she relies on me to do most things for her. There will be no family to take care of her if we are deported.
“The fact that we grew up in Rhodesia and were brought up in the British way under British rule for many years means nothing.
“Our only hope is to appeal to The Honourable Theresa May to assist us in this matter. We have supported ourselves since arriving in the UK.”