A family are being ripped apart after a three year battle with the Home Office to remain in the UK.
Leeds-born war veteran Ray Coulson will have to watch his Canadian wife Shainie and possibly their three teenagers – aged 18, 17 and 15 – leave the country on May 14 because they can no longer afford the legal fight to get ‘leave to remain’ in the UK granted.
In the last three years they have spent £15,000 on fees and faced with the possibility of another £20,000 bill they have made the heart-breaking decision to uproot.
Mrs Coulson will leave next month and it is hoped the children can stay temporarily to complete this education year.
Faced with staying here alone, Leeds born war veteran Mr Coulson – who served in two Gulf wars, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and did three tours of Bosnia – will have to leave his job, pals and elderly and ill parents to keep his family together.
He said: “It is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. It is devastating and soul destroying. We don’t have the money to fight it and there is no guarantee I can stay in Canada. My father-in-law is having to sponsor me because we don’t have an income there.”
The couple, now of Eccleshill, Bradford, wed in 2006 while Mr Coulson was a serving soldier in Canada. When he was posted back to England in 2009 his new family followed and Mrs Coulson given a three year stay. The couple claim the Army said the children didn’t need any paperwork but discovered they did when Mrs Coulson re-applied for permission to stay at the end of 2013.
The teaching assistant said: “The whole thing is overwhelming. He is 45 and I am 40 and we have to go and live with my parents. We will never retire and are already in debt from this.
“We told the children – the oldest was upset, our daughter has done nothing but cry and the youngest won’t speak about it and says he is not going and that is where we are at.”