A South African doctor and her British husband are living on either side of the Irish border because of what one MP called a “borderline unconstitutional” application of post-Brexit immigration rules.
Corrinne and Brett Giles live 25 miles apart in Donegal and Derry counties respectively, with Corrinne in a “constant state of anxiety” waiting for a family permit to join her husband in the UK.
The A&E doctor, who worked on the Covid frontline, is out of a job and “living out of a suitcase” because she felt she could not extend her contract in Ireland as she was imminently emigrating to the UK.
Eight months on, she faces having to go back to South Africa as her residency rights in Ireland come to an end. She could risk the threat of deportation if she was caught illegally entering Northern Ireland.
Since Britain left the EU, UK citizens’ non-British spouses need to apply for pre-settled status before 29 March next year if they want to return as a family to the country visa-free. They are eligible only if they get a new EU family permit for the UK first.