“Children can stay” joy for desperate dad

Justin Tutt with his children Leigh and Seth who the government wont allow to stay in the country.
Justin Tutt with his children Leigh and Seth who the government wont allow to stay in the country.

THE South African father who has been fighting for eight months to bring his two young children to Burnley has finally been given the news he has been dreaming of.

As first revealed in the Express in December, and again on Friday, Justin Tutt and his family have endured an arduous time after the suicide of his first wife in South Africa left his children effectively “orphaned”.

Eight months ago, Justin’s South African wife Deirdre committed suicide leaving their children Seth (8) and Leigh (5) alone in the country with only their elderly grandparents to look after them.

But new immigration laws in this country meant that bar worker Justin did not earn enough to bring his children to England.

However, the relieved dad has been told by the Home Office that his children can be granted settlement visas to allow them to live in England with him and his new family.

Justin (29) has lived in Burnley for the past five years after he separated from his wife and moved to England.

New rules introduced by the Government in July state that people living in this country must be earning £22,400 plus £2,400 for each additional child before dependants can enter the country.

Faced with the prospect of them being placed in foster care in South Africa, Justin flew to the country and arranged a holiday visa for them to Ireland. He then travelled back to England from there with the children.

Now, after much media exposure, he has been told that the UK Border Agency and Home Office will show “discretion” and waive the threshold rules.

“I am so relieved and overjoyed. It has been a long, hard eight months of fighting to get my children over here to be with their dad.

“It has been a very difficult time but finally there is light at the end of the tunnel. I will still have to raise £911 per child to bring them over, but the Home Office has shown discretion regarding my earnings threshold. I am so grateful for this.”

Justin, who has spent nearly £6,000 to reach this stage must raise for their settlement visas. He has organised a fund-raising night in Koko’s, Burnley, on Saturday, March 2nd, and has set up a Facebook page to help – www.facebook.com/#!/groups/341912962580303.

He added: “The people of Burnley have been so very kind and generous in the help they have given me so far, so I’m feeling very positive. I will not be completely settled in my mind until I have the visas in my hand but there is great hope now.”