A MARRIED couple from Herefordshire who fear being split up by immigration officials are refusing to pay more money to fight a visa application refusal caused by an administrative error.

Lee and Tanja Furnell received a letter on Christmas Eve from the Home Office to say Mrs Furnell would have to leave the UK by 2019 – despite the fact that the couple were married last March and have a two-year-old son together called Alexander.

Mr Furnell said Tanja, who is originally from Macedonia, had won an appeal in August 2014 and was given a family life visa by a Birmingham judge to stay in the UK permanently.

But following their marriage, they applied to change the surname on her passport and subsequently applied for a new visa.

It was then that they realised the wrong visa had been put in her passport last year – following the appeal.

Mr Furnell, 27, asked: “Is this the first time they have made a mistake with a visa?

“Are there people being told to leave the country when the Home Office have made a mistake?”

Mrs Furnell, 26, was told by the Home Office she had been refused a derivative residence card as a primary carer of a British citizen.

The refusal said she had not provided any evidence that she is the primary carer of her son, Alexander.

The refusal added: “You have not provided evidence as to why the child’s father is not in a position to care for Alexander if you were forced to leave the United Kingdom.”

Border officials, in their report, went on to say: “You state that Mr Furnell works full time. Notwithstanding the information regarding Mr Furnell’s employment, it is his choice to undertake such employment and it does not negate his responsibilities for the child.”

Angered by the reasons for refusal, Mr Furnell then discovered the Home Office had put the derivative residence card in her passport following the appeal, instead of the family life visa.

Mr Furnell, who works for Hoople as a vocational assessor and lives with his family in a village just outside Hereford, said: “We have spent £6,000 over the past three years on these applications and appeals.

“I now refuse to pay any more money.”

He added: “I am British, my son is British and we are married.

“There is no reason to split us up. She has got a right to remain.”

A Home Office spokesman said they would not comment as they do not make statements on individual cases.