Deported Singaporean granted UK visa to return to family

Mrs Irene Clennell sitting on the sofa in her older sister Lily Anthony's rented Sembawang condo that was her bed during her stay here, in this photo taken in early March. Mrs Clennell was forced to leave Britain in February.
Mrs Irene Clennell sitting on the sofa in her older sister Lily Anthony's rented Sembawang condo that was her bed during her stay here, in this photo taken in early March. Mrs Clennell was forced to leave Britain in February.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Forced to return here after overstaying, she finally gets a 2 1/2-year visa after six-month wait

A Singaporean grandmother who was forced to return to Singapore after overstaying in Britain has finally been granted a visa to return to her family, after a six-month wait.

Mrs Irene Clennell, 53, told The Sunday Times yesterday that she "can't wait" to see her family again.

The mother of two British children, who has been married to a Briton for 27 years, was granted a 2 1/2-year visa by the British authorities.

She declined to say when she would be returning to the country.

In February, she was forcibly taken from her home in County Durham to an immigration detention centre in Scotland before being forced onto a flight to Singapore for overstaying her indefinite leave to remain.

Two days ago, Britain's Home Office, according to The Guardian newspaper, said: "Mrs Clennell has been granted a visa as a spouse as her latest application meets the immigration rules to enter the UK.

 
 
  • 27

    Number of years Mrs Irene Clennell has been married to a Briton.

"This does not negate the previous decision which was the result of Mrs Clennell having entered the UK as a visitor, overstaying her leave to remain, and making several applications while in the UK which did not meet the immigration rules.

"During that time, it was open to her to leave the UK voluntarily at any time in order to reapply under the correct route as she has now done."

Mrs Clennell arrived in Britain in 1988 and had an indefinite leave to remain in the country.

However, it lapsed after she spent long periods back in Singapore caring for her sick mother, who died in 1999.

She and her British husband John and children stayed on in Singapore till 2003.

When they returned to Britain, her applications for an indefinite leave to remain were repeatedly rejected.

Mrs Clennell, who was the main caregiver to her husband, said in an interview in March that her relationship with her sons John and Sonny, now 27 and 25, suffered as she could travel to Britain only on a tourist visa.

So from 2003, she would meet them for short periods before she had to leave the country.

She did not visit her family between 2007 and 2013, as she mistakenly thought there was a five-year travel ban against her.

She was able to re-enter Britain only in 2013, after an immigration officer allowed her to make another application within the country.

She was eligible to apply for a British citizenship only if her indefinite leave to remain was still valid and she met the residency requirements of the country.

The British Home Office previously said that applications for an indefinite leave to remain are "considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules".

The Straits Times reported in March that Mrs Clennell had been living with her older sister Lily Anthony, 54, in a rented condominium apartment in Sembawang since her return to Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 27, 2017, with the headline 'Deported S'porean granted UK visa to return to family'. Print Edition | Subscribe