A worried husband from Fletton fears he will never see his wife again after the Government ordered her to return to her native Venezuela.
Alicia Fernanda de Shermer flies back to South America on Friday, but her petrified husband Maoi Shermer, of St Margarets Road, says political unrest in the country could threaten their future together.
Qualified barrister Mrs de Shermer (36) has been in the UK since February 2016 after arriving on a visitor visa. However, her application to remain as a spouse was refused, and the Government is refusing to let her apply under a different immigration category until she is back in Venezuela.
But that is unacceptable to British citizen Mr Shermer (48) who believes deadly protests in Venezuela, the country’s humanitarian crisis, and the authoritarian behaviour of President Nicolas Maduro, make returning to the country a risk to his wife’s safety.
He said: “I’m afraid that something could happen to my wife in Venezuela. Nicolas Maduro could tomorrow draw up a bill saying people can’t leave the country. That’s what happened in Cuba for 45 years.”
The couple, who have been married for five years, met in Turin 11 years ago where Mr Shermer was teaching English courses and his future wife was one of his students.
Their relationship began during an end-of-year pizza meal as Mr Shermer happily recalled: “There are people in Italy who go around restaurants with roses. I gave one to her and invited her out for coffee and we exchanged numbers.”
The couple then moved to Caracas in Venezuela, but due to rising hatred of the English Mr Shermer moved back to the UK and settled in Fletton, with his wife then joining him.
However, they were left in tears after a Home Office letter in March gave Mrs de Shermer weeks to leave the country with no route of appeal.
Mr Shermer, who now works at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Fletton, said: “We are best friends and we do everything together.
“I can’t possibly imagine what it’s going to be like for me to travel to Heathrow not knowing if and when I will see her again. It’s horrendous.”
He added: “She is highly qualified and can benefit the country.
“I feel slightly let down having promoted the nation abroad for such a long period and this is what I get in return.”
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “All applications are considered on their individual merits, including any exceptional or compassionate circumstances, and in line with the Immigration Rules.
“Mrs de Shermer is due to leave the UK voluntarily later this month. She is not being deported.”