A DESPERATE dad from South Africa is pleading with the Government to allow his children to stay with him in Burnley.
The Burnley Express exclusively revealed in December the extraordinary and tragic set of circumstances that has since led Justin Tutt (29) to effectively “smuggle” his children to this country from South Africa via the Republic of Ireland.
Mr Justin Tutt (29) has lived in Burnley for the past five years after he separated from his wife Deirdre in South Africa, but eight months ago she committed suicide leaving their two children Seth (8) and Leigh (5) alone in the country with only their elderly grandparents to look after them.
Faced with the prospect of them being placed in foster care in South Africa, Mr Tutt flew to the country and arranged a holiday visa for them to Ireland. He then travelled back to England from there with the children.
New rules introduced by the Government in July states that people living in this country must be earning £22,400 plus £2,400 for each additional child before dependants can enter the country. But Mr Tutt, who works in Burnley’s Walkabout bar, said his earnings rule him out.
“I am a desperate man. My children need to be with me, but the new rules mean I do not earn enough to bring them over here permanently.
“I have hired a solicitor who is helping me to apply for a settlement visa which would allow them to stay for five years, before they can then apply for British citizenship.
“I am in torment because my children need me but I cannot get a visa for them to come and live in England. It is absolutely appalling and desperately upsetting.
“Their holiday visa runs out on March 21st and I really don’t know what will happen then. I have been advised that I will receive warning letters from the Border Agency. If my children are taken away it will be incredibly cruel.”
Mr Tutt, who now lives in Briercliffe Road with partner Clare Miles, her daughter Kaitlyn (7) and their seven-month-old son Jake, has enrolled Seth and Leigh at St Mary’s RC Primary School in Holcombe Drive.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle has also offered his support. A spokesman for the Border Agency said that it does not comment on individual cases.