Family fear for stranded woman in Philippines after visa problems

David Betts with his wife Marissa and two kids 

David Betts with his wife Marissa and two kids - Credit: Contributed

A city man does not know when he will next see his wife who has been left stranded 8,500 miles away due to visa delays. 

David Betts, 61, and his two children have been separated from his 45-year-old Philippine wife Marissa since April when Mr Betts' job in Singapore came to an end. 

But his wife has been unable to join them back at their family home in Queens Hill, Costessey, where the children have been going to school. 

Mrs Betts - who has had to return to the Philippines - has been waiting for a spouse visa from the Home Office since December with the couple paying £4,000 to the government - which included three years payment for the NHS. 

The Home Office has said family visas have been delayed due to the war in Ukraine. 

Mr Betts said: "It is simply a disgrace and a total embarrassment that our immigration system is run so poorly.

"They gave us the excuse of the Ukraine crisis but we applied in December before that happened. 

kyiv war

The Home Office has said family visas have been delayed by the war in Ukraine - Credit: AP

Most Read

"I am left as a single parent at the moment in Norwich while my wife is 8,500 miles away. My children desperately miss their mother and I obviously miss my wife."

Mr Betts said he is currently living off his savings as he is unable to look for work when looking after two kids. 

He added: "I am split up from my wife because of total and utter incompetent bureaucracy."

It is understood the application is currently on assessing day 108. 

The Home Office emailed all customers - including Mr Betts - on Wednesday, May 11 to say the service for Marriage and Family Entrance Clearance has been extended from 60 to 120 days. 

All visa applications are considered on their individual merits. 

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are prioritising Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, so applications for study, work and family visas have taken longer to process.”