A South Tyneside family set to be ripped apart by immigration chiefs say they have been given a glimmer of hope that they can stay together.
Lian and husband Alexander Papay, known as AJ, believed they had come to the end of the road in their fight to keep Mr Papay from being deported.
The 27-year-old American citizen, whose father and stepmum both live in South Tyneside, had been ordered to return home as his wife, Lian, does not earn the required £18,600 for his application for permanent residency to be accepted.
The couple who were married in 2013 have a four-year-old son. Jayden, together.
The family, who live in Candlish Street, South Shields, launched a further appeal with the help of an immigration lawyer.
Up until now AJ has been forced to fly back and forth from the US and sleep on friends sofas in order to fulfill Visa requirements.
We’ve received a letter from the Home Office stating they have received our application and that our case is complex because it raises human rights issues.Lian Papay
Now, after being told he faces deportation and a 10-year ban from the country if he refuses to leave, they say they have been given a glimmer of hope following an appeal.
Lian, 31, who works as a PA, said: “We’ve received a letter from the Home Office stating they have received our application and that our case is complex because it raises human rights issues.
“It also falls outside of normal immigration rules. I’m seeing this as something to be positive about, as now they are actually considering our human rights.
“Up until now, they didn’t consider what this would do to us as a family, or to our son who is close to his dad.”
If AJ is forced to return to the US, his wife Lian says they will be left no option but to go with him in order for them to remain as a family.
However, this would end up with the family facing the same issues with Lian needing to apply for permanent residency - but without the network of family and friends to support them.
The couple are currently being supported by New Hope Church which stepped in to support Lian while AJ was in America.
Speaking previously about the immigration issue, AJ said: “This is having a huge impact on my son. Every time he wakes up he asks where’s dad?
“We don’t have family, we don’t have friends over there.
“All I want to do, is to be able to work and to be able to support my family.”
The couple are currently awaiting further correspondence from the Home Office.