Ruling gives family at risk of being separated 'a bit of hope'

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A family at risk of being separated are hopeful that the Supreme Court ruling could give them a chance to stay together.

Caroline Coombs, 41, is fighting for her husband, Ecuadorian-born Carlos Alarcon Real, to be given the right to remain in the country and continue helping to care for their 15-month-old son, Thomas.

The Supreme Court ruled that UK sponsors must have a minimum gross annual income of £18,600 before they can apply for spouses or partners from outside the European Economic Area to join them.

But it added that the rules and instructions "unlawfully fail to take proper account" of the Home Secretary's duty to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children when making decisions which affect them.

Ms Coombs, of Highbridge, Somerset, said the ruling had made her "feel very uncertain but tinged with a bit of hope still because we have a child and that hasn't been taken into consideration with our case".

"The only comfort that I have is about the ruling regarding children, that gives me some hope because we obviously have a child and he was not taken into proper consideration at all," she said.

But, she added, there remained "uncertainty" about whether it would be considered in their case.

"How much will it be considered? They haven't given a damn about the children so far, so how far will they push it to just meet those requirements as set down today?," she asked.

She said that the family were having to "live by the skin of our teeth" and that she was in £20,000 of debt because of the situation.

Mr Alarcon Real, 49, is not able to work or volunteer and instead cares for the couple's son full-time.

Ms Coombs, a television producer who met her husband while on an extended holiday in Ecuador, said she hoped that the Supreme Court ruling would be "taken into consideration" at their appeal hearing for Mr Alarcon Real's right to remain case.

A date has not yet been set for their case, she added.

"My view is if you are a legitimate family and there are children involved it is a no-brainer, and when you are willing to work and capable of working you should be allowed to do that, to provide.

"That is a basic human right of any family and we are not being allowed to do that."