Kenyan girl finally granted UK visa - Daily Nation

Kenyan girl finally granted UK visa to live with her father in Scotland

Sunday March 17 2019

9 West

A file photo of the 9 West building in Westlands, Nairobi, where the UK visa office is. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ANITA CHEPKOECH
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A Kenyan-born British soldier has finally won the battle to have his teenage daughter granted a United Kingdom (UK) visa to live with him and his family in Scotland.

Lance Corporal Denis Omondi, who is stationed at Fort George, had been fighting for the custody of the 14-year-old Ann, who currently lives in Kenya.

This was after his November, 2018, application for an entry clearance for her was rejected by the Home Office on grounds that her dad "doesn't see her enough".

Mr Omondi is no longer in a relationship with Ann's mother, and is married to Mrs Shelagh Omondi, who had also been “heartbroken” by the visa denial to her stepdaughter.

"Her father has full custody, he's doing everything he possibly can," Ms Omondi told Forces News regarding the matter.

They both appealed the decision as they faced the possibility of having to reapply and pay additional legal fees yet his wife is recovering from breast cancer and is unable to work.

The couple had urged the Home Office to rethink its decision and they received the backing of their local SNP Member of Parliament (MP) Drew Hendry.

Mr Hendry said that a serving soldier deserved better treatment.

IMMIGRATION RULES

But after Ann's case was raised at Westminster, Mr Omondi has been told her application now meets the immigration rules.

According to a BBC report, the MP asked Prime Minister Theresa May about the family's situation in January.

"He (soldier) has uncontested custody of his young daughter Ann who is in Kenya.

“Despite visiting her as often as he can, she is being denied a visa because the Home Office claims he hasn't spent enough time with her," said the MP during Prime Minister's Questions.

In rejecting Anne's visa, the Home Office claimed there wasn't enough evidence to show that Denis and Ann had spent enough time together.

The PM assured that the Home Secretary Sajid Javid would look into the circumstances of the case and respond to Mr Hendry's question on the denial of a visa.

Mrs May also thanked Mr Omondi for his commitment to the British Army noting that "all our Armed Forces do an incredibly important and brave job for us".

HOME SECRETARY

She added: "I'm sure the Honourable Gentleman will not expect me to be able to look at the details of the case at the dispatch box on the floor of the House, but I will ask the Home Secretary to look at the case and respond to him."

Upon the visa approval, Mr Hendry said he was delighted by the Home Office’s positive response as it had been a "hard slog" for Mr Omondi and his family.

Mr Omondi, a British citizen who is originally from Kenya, serves with 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland and has carried out tours of Afghanistan, Iraq and Cyprus during his eight years with the Black Watch.

He has visited Ann in Kenya every year since 2012, when he first became aware that she was his child.

But the family now want her to live with them in Scotland where he is based.

Ann attended her father's wedding to Shelagh in Kenya.