The news of the Singaporean grandmother who has been deported from the UK for breaching immigration laws seems to be going viral. A crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for Irene Clennell's legal fees has been organized in the city, and many people took part in the event. It is said to have raised more than S$80,000 (£46,000) to help her.
Irene is currently living in Singapore with her sister. She arrived first in the UK in 1988 and is married to a British man with whom she has two children, and a two-year-old granddaughter. Irene was deported by the UK government despite organizing a high-profile campaign in her favor.
"Irene has nowhere to go in Singapore, both her parents have passed away - her whole life is here in Britain," Clennell said on the website gofundme.com.
In an interview with Associated Press, Irene said that she was treated like a terrorist by the British government. She was quoted as saying: "I'm a tiny person and two of the officers were holding my hand, like I'm going to run away or something, like a terrorist. It was quite embarrassing." It has also been reported that Irene's husband John is seriously ill and she is his sole caretaker.
According to the British government's visa system, a foreign spouse has to spend a long time uninterrupted stay in the country. However, Irene has spent a substantial period of time in Singapore after her marriage, to take care of her parents before they died. Earlier in 1992, Irene was granted permission to stay in the country but she had to fly back to Singapore for two years which lapsed the stay. Things got complicated when she returned to Britain in 2013 as a visitor and applied for a spouse visa, which was eventually turned down.
Irene is planning to file a fresh appeal to the UK government to accept her visa application. She told AP: "I'm not asking them to reinstate. I'm putting in new applications, but why was it not given? We're still married. I'm still with him. So I don't see why the rule changed."