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Nottingham artist angry after Kenyan wife’s visa application to visit UK is rejected

todayFebruary 3, 2022

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A Nottingham painter has spoken of his distress after a visa application for his Kenyan wife to visit the UK was rejected.

Pete Spowage, an artist who owns a studio on Mansfield Road, has been married to Sylvia Mwaivu Chuma (37) for five years. And apart from the times when he flies over to Kenya to meet up with his wife, their communication is reduced to texts and video calls on WhatsApp.

On his latest trip at the end of November last year, Mr Spowage had it planned to stay in Kenya for four months before returning with his wife in March.

She had never been to the UK before, and applied for a visitor visa in January.

“I wanted to show her England and the good parts of it,” he said.

However, on January 24, Mr Spowage’s stay in Kenya was cut short after receiving some worrying news from home – and he had to fly back to the UK due to a family emergency.

As misfortunes never come alone, shortly after he took off, Ms Chuma received the news that her visitor visa application got rejected.

“What were the chances? I felt like everything was falling apart,” Mr Spowage added.

According to the letter signed off by UKVI Pretoria, the authority was “not satisfied” with the evidence provided in the application which proves that Ms Chuma will leave the UK at the end of her visit.



Pete Spowage and Sylvia Chuma pictured together in Niarobi, shortly before he took off to the UK.
Pete Spowage and Sylvia Chuma pictured together in Niarobi, shortly before he took off to the UK.

Mr Spowage, who said he is now seeking legal advice, added: “We have provided them with so much information and by contrast my visa application takes a few minutes to fill in.

“For Sylvia we needed someone to help with the application.

“She would never want to move here – she has a daughter at university, she has her business there and a house.”

The now heartbroken artist said: “They have not taken any of that into consideration.

“The problem with this country is that we are so arrogant because we think that anyone from Kenya would do anything to live here.

“Kenya is free land – when people from that country come here they are stuck in their houses.

“They are not used to having CCTV everywhere, they are not used to all that.”

Although it is far from what most people would describe a conventional marriage, Mr Spowage said he would not have it another way.

He added: “When you are in an exotic place like Kenya everything is perfect.

“I get to see my beautiful wife in an idyllic place and the magic’s never gone.”

Speaking about they met, Mr Spowage said that it all started as a ‘holiday fling’.

“I went to Kenya on a holiday about ten years ago – and it started as a holiday relationship at first.

“I have always been a relationship person, and I soon realised that it was more than just a fling.”

They got officially married at the registry office in Mombasa, Kenya in March 2017.

Mr Spowage flies over to Kenya two times a year, and stays there for two months.

However he would not describe his visits to the exotic country in East Africa as holidays, as he does charity work at orphanages and schools in the area.

He added: “I come unannounced to orphanages and they rarely have food for the children, so I contribute towards that.”

Mr Spowage went on and said: “I just love Kenya – I do not go through a day without thinking about selling everything and just move there.

“I am very impulsive so I have to stop those thoughts because at the moment I need to be here for my children and business.

“But I cannot stop thinking about what my life would look like in Kenya.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the Immigration Rules.

“We’ve reviewed our decision and have been in contact with the applicant directly to advise them on next steps.”

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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