THE Tycroes pensioners who face being ripped apart by immigration services after 10 years of marriage have received the news they most dreaded.

On Saturday, Jeff and Bonnie Walters, of 30 Derlin Park, received confirmation from the UK Visa and Immigration Service that Canadian-born Bonnie, aged 62, should prepare to leave the country and return to her homeland.

The letter said that unless she left the country herself, she “would be removed”.

The pair, who married in Llanelli in 2003 before returning to Bonnie’s native Nova Scotia for a new life together, returned to the UK in January to be closer to 72-year-old Jeff’s young grandchildren.

Bonnie, who as a Canadian citizen does not require a visa to visit the UK, set about apply for a long-stay spouse visa once the couple had found themselves somewhere to live in Jeff’s home village of Tycroes.

However, immigration officials have now informed the couple that she is not permitted to outstay her six-month tourist visa – which expired in July - and have rejected her long-term application on the grounds she is not permitted to apply to stay from within the UK.

The couple, who have already spent more than £3,000 on visa application fees and legal advice, now face the heartbreaking situation of Bonnie being forcibly returned to Canada where she would then have to re-apply for yet another visa.

“How long is that likely to take?” said Jeff.

“Two years? Three years? Five years? I am 72 now, who knows whether I will still be alive in five years?

“There is no guarantee she would even be accepted then.

“What makes me most angry is that we are being made to feel that we are criminals and that we are doing something illegal.

“We are not here to claim benefits – we are not even eligible for any benefits. All we receive is my state pension, which I receive wherever I am.

“They are trying to take my wife from me, but I am not going to let that happen.”