A SOUTH African-born woman and her two children settled into a new life in Middlewich could be thrown out of the UK after immigration officials said their ‘betterment’ of Britain did not give them the right to stay in this country.

After a four-year fight to remain together the family claim they have been victims of immigration officials in the Home Office deciding they have no right to stay in the UK to meet targets.

Louise Gent, 42, whose family originated from Bristol, could be deported with daughter Chelsy, 18, and 13-year-old son Caydin after the visa allowing them to stay with the children's father expired.

Now she and the children wait in fear of arrest and forced removal to South Africa, leaving her husband behind to fight for their return.

They say the Home Office refused a request from the family to stay under Human Rights laws, saying Mrs Gent could use her work experience in the UK to get a job in her native South Africa and her children could keep in contact with schoolmates on Facebook or Twitter.

Mr Gent was also born in South Africa but has been allowed to stay in the UK as he has British citizenship.

Both children have suffered trauma and depression resulting from the thought of being removed back to a country they left when they were seven and 13.

The official writing to the Gents on behalf of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who resigned this week, said: ''You have told us you and your partner are in full-time employment and are duly contributing to the betterment of the country. However, this is not considered to be an exceptional circumstance. This is because you can both return to South Africa and seek employment there.”

Mrs Gent, who moved to the UK in 2012 after her husband got a house and a job in Stoke-on-Trent, said: ''The stress of being rejected like this is terrible and we are being torn apart as a family.

“All we ask is remain here together to work, study and pay our taxes like everyone else.

“We live constantly in fear of being taken away any moment to a detention centre and I am terrified of answering the door in case they are standing there with handcuffs to drag us off to be deported.

"We have tried to do everything in the right way to stay here but have been rejected time after time.”

Mr Gent said: "If my family are forced to go back to South Africa I will stay here and fight for their return.”

Mrs Gent was born in South Africa and arrived in the UK on a two-year spouse visa in 2012 and passed a British citizenship test.

Her subsequent claim for citizenship for herself and the children was rejected in 2015 and the family has spent £20,000 in legal fees appealing under Human Rights Act legislation concerning ''the right to a family life.'' She has since lost her job due to her immigration status.


The Gent family at their home