‘I’ve not seen my wife and kids for 10 months’

09:03 19 August 2014

Sidford resident Ralph Leadbetter with photographs of his family who remain in Indonesia unable to live with him due to current immigration laws. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 1622-33-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

Sidford resident Ralph Leadbetter with photographs of his family who remain in Indonesia unable to live with him due to current immigration laws. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 1622-33-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

Archant

A WORKING dad has been unable to hug his wife and children for 10 months because immigration bosses say he does not earn enough money.

Together, 2 years ago in Indonesia - Myself & wife with our son & daughterTogether, 2 years ago in Indonesia - Myself & wife with our son & daughter

A WORKING dad has been unable to hug his wife and children for 10 months because immigration bosses say he does not earn enough money.

Ralph Leadbetter has told how his young family have been ‘torn apart’ by a law that has left his loved-ones living 8,000 miles away.

The only contact the Sidmouth hotel supervisor has with his Indonesian wife of six-and-a-half years, Ervina, and children Harry, five, and Malika, two, is a weekly phone call.

He recently bought a three-bedroom ‘dream home’ in Church Street, Sidford, but they cannot enjoy it with him because he does not make £18,600-a-year.

“The house should be filled with life and children shouting and Evi calling from the kitchen,” said Ralph. “I don’t want to raise them by Skype.

The 45-year-old even made a personal plea to Prime Minister David Cameron – only to receive a reply from the Home Office saying Ervina would be a ‘burden on the tax payer’.

“I haven’t seen them for 10 months and there is no hope for us being together now, our family unit has been torn apart,” added Ralph.

“Our husband/wife relationship suffers, the children are deprived of a father and I’m deprived of my wife and children.”

Researching the issue, he discovered that the law affects 4,000 families in the UK.

Ralph speaks to his family every Saturday, but hanging up leaves him wishing they were not 8,000 miles away.

The couple got wed in February 2004 and their marriage is recognised by British law. Harry and Malika are both registered with the British Embassy in Jakarta, and hold dual nationality.

Ralph wants to highlight the issue and the ‘unjust’ nature that has stopped him raising his family. He added: “Harry asks his mummy, ‘why does daddy keep going away? Have I been naughty?’ It breaks my heart because that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Changes in immigration law in July 2012 meant Ralph would need to earn at least £18,600 a year before he could bring his family home. Ervina is also waiting to sit her English test, which has been delayed.

“I am a full-time worker and own my own home. However, due to the new laws, I have been effectively separated from my family,” said Ralph.

“I find that friends, family and people in general are unaware of the laws governing British Nationals with non-EU families.

“When I explain my situation it is always the same look, ‘but it’s your wife’.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sidmouth Herald visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sidmouth Herald staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sidmouth Herald account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 18:30
Fashion show

Exmouth Players is hosting a fashion show in early June as a fundraiser to help refurbish the green room and kitchen at the Blackmore Theatre in Exmouth’s Bicton Street.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:59
Beryl and Colin Kingman, Jan Baker, Tony Lavers and Ian McKenzie-Edwards hope to prevent Sidford Social Hall from potential closure. Ref shs 7362-21-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

It is ‘make or break’ time for Sidford Social Hall - which faces closure unless members of the community come forward to secure its future.

Read more
Tue, 16:28
Georgia Ruse and Chloe Towers with two of the brollies they used to keep dry. Ref shs 6981-21-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

A pair of kind-hearted teens swapped revision for rushing to the rescue of a stricken pensioner who had been knocked over by strong winds.

Read more
Tue, 12:31
EDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7701-15-12SH Picture: Simon Horn

Campaigners have expressed their disappointment after a bid to safeguard Knowle’s parkland was rejected this week.

Read more
Sunday, May 24, 2015
The Ottery 10K run took place at the weekend. Ref sho 6997-21-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A popular 10-kilometre run through Ottery St Mary made a successful return after a three-year break - with hundreds of fleet-footed fundraisers taking part in aid of a cancer charity.

Read more
Sunday, May 24, 2015
The cut out card

This small item is just one of the objects featured in a new exhibition at Sidmouth Museum.

Read more
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Dan Lavery of the Devon Freewheelers. Ref exe 1231-13-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Dan Lavery is determined Devon Freewheelers will help save lives – as a Belfast ‘hidden hero’ undoubtedly helped saved wife Shelley’s life in 2005.

Read more
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Afternoon tea for Nancy Bowstead an RBL member for 70 years. Ref shs 6853-21-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

A registered blind Royal British Legion (RBL) stalwart of seven decades is saying goodbye to Sidmouth - but will continue to raise money for the cause at the age of 93.

Read more
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Sam Bader

Dad-of-one Sam Bader, 28, who grew up in Ottery St Mary, supports Devon Freewheelers by sponsoring one of the motorbikes, Bravo One.

Read more
Friday, May 22, 2015
EDDC's Knowle HQ. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH Picture: Simon Horn

Independent councillors call for extraordinary meeting to debate the office relocation

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life
Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition



Devon's trusted business finder