Disabled woman’s partner of four years and father of unborn child told to leave country or face deportation

Mum-to-be’s desperate visa appeal

By Kieran Hughes

A disabled and pregnant Ardoyne woman, whose partner faces deportation to Pakistan after his visa application was rejected, says she fears their child will be raised without its father if he is ordered to leave the country. Mary-Ann Larkin, who suffers from congenital heart disease and uses crutches and a wheelchair, is four months pregnant with her partner Mohammad Javad’s child.

Mary-Ann says she wants to marry Mohammad and raise their child together but she is separated from a previous marriage although she wants to divorce her estranged husband.

Mohammad, who has been living in the North for five years and has been with Mary-Ann for four, last week received word that his visa application has been rejected because he cannot prove that their relationship is ‘durable’. He must now make arrangements to leave the North, if he doesn’t he may face deportation.

However Mary-Ann wants the Border Agency to reverse their decision and allow Mohammad to stay with her.

The 31-year-old first gained entry into the North on a one year working visa in 2007. Mary-Ann accepts that he has been here illegally since that visa expired in 2008 but says she needs him so they can raise their child and build a family.

Mary-Ann hasn’t been able to work because of her illness and fears she won’t be able to raise the new child, and her seven-year-old daughter Stevie-Marie.

She fears she could be forced to move to Pakistan if Mohammad can’t secure a visa.

“We got word last week that his visa application has been rejected and it has been unbearably stressful,” she told the North Belfast News.

“Regardless of being pregnant I still would have fought to keep him here but I can’t just get up and go to Pakistan and live there, it is a underdeveloped country. This country is so much better for me, I can use my wheelchair. I am independent. I have a life here, I would have absolutely no life there.”

Mary-Ann has been using crutches and a wheelchair since she was a child after complications during heart surgery at nine months old.

She is due further heart surgery but that has been postponed because of her pregnancy.

“I am due heart surgery in the future and I gave the Border Agency proof that, but that wasn’t enough. I don’t know what I am supposed to do or where I can turn. I love him and I want us to be together. We want to get married but at the moment we just can’t afford it.”

Mohammad, who has limited English, said he wants to stay with Mary-Ann, and raise the child with her.

“I want to be here with her and the baby,” he said

A UK Border Agency spokesman said they “do not routinely comment on individual cases”.

“Applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules,” he said.

“Where an application does not meet the immigration rules it will be refused. Details of appeal rights against a decision are included in the refusal letter.”

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