A YORK husband says he is devastated after his Kenyan wife was told she is facing deportation.

Robert Earnshaw, 43, of Haxby, said the UK Border Agency had refused a request by his wife, Marysella, for a “spouse visa” to remain in Britain for an additional two years.

It had told Marysella she could appeal within ten working days but, if she was unsuccessful and did not leave voluntarily, she would be removed to the Philippines – even though she had never visited that country and had no connections with it.

Mr Earnshaw said he had married Marysella, 47, at York Register Office in January, having met her last year while she was studying for a masters degree at York St John University and while they were both also working as support workers.

He said: “I love her to bits. I have had a tough few years since I was treated for bowel cancer at York Hospital in 2009 and 2010, and she has transformed my life.”

Mr Earnshaw said his wife’s application had been refused on the grounds she had not provided an English language certificate.

Mr Earnshaw said York St John had originally accepted Marysella to take a masters degree in leadership and management after it was satisfied she had met its English language requirements, having taken a Bachelor of Education degree at Kampala University which was taught in English.

He had been shocked when the agency’s letter arrived, and he planned to appeal.

He said he accepted the need to prevent immigrants trying to stay in Britain through marriages of convenience, but his was a genuine marriage.

“She is the love of my life,” he said. “I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I cannot go to live with her in Kenya because I am in remission from the bowel cancer, and need regular check-ups at York Hospital.

“The stress of this is making Marysella ill. She isn’t eating and an ulcer problem is flaring up as a result of the stress.”

He said he and his wife were also baffled by the reference to the Philippines.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Marysella Aduda failed to provide the English language certificate, which is required from Kenyan nationals under the immigration rules, when she submitted her application. Her application was refused for this reason.

“Due to a clerical error, the Philippines was listed as the country to which the applicant should return. In fact she should return to Kenya. We apologise for this mistake.

“All applications for further leave to remain are considered on their individual merits in line with the immigration rules and based on the evidence available at the time a decision is made.”