LONDON (AFP) - A crowdfunding campaign for legal fees to help a Singaporean grandmother deported from Britain for breaching immigration rules had raised more than £46,000 (S$80,000) by Tuesday (Feb 28).
Irene Clennell, who first arrived in Britain in 1988 and is married to a British man, was deported to Singapore on Sunday despite a high-profile campaign for her to stay on compassionate grounds.
Her sister-in-law, Angela Clennell, set up the crowdfunding campaign, saying that her brother was seriously ill and Irene was his "sole caretaker".
"Irene has nowhere to go in Singapore, both her parents have passed away - her whole life is here in Britain," Clennell said on the website gofundme.com.
"As you can imagine it was a great shock receiving the phone call from Irene at 11am to inform us she was being deported at 3.30" on Sunday, she said.
Clennell is staying with her sister in Singapore.
She and her husband John have two children and a two-year-old granddaughter.
She spent periods of time in Singapore to care for her parents before they died and lost her leave to remain as a result of Britain's spousal visa system.
The controversial system means that the British partner in a marriage has to prove earnings of at least £18,600 and the couple have to demonstrate long stretches of uninterrupted time living in Britain.
The threshold was put in place in 2012 as part of efforts to drive down the number of immigrants arriving in Britain from outside the European Union.
"All applications for leave to remain in the UK are considered on their individual merits and in line with immigration rules," a Home Office spokesman said.
"We expect those with no legal right to remain in the country to leave," he said.