Back In Hull: Family Thrown Out Of Bermuda After 20 Years And Two Children

08/05/2012 12:00 | Updated 22 May 2015
Stephen and Kirsty Tomlinson: Family with young children  thrown out of Bermuda despite living there for 20 yearsCaters

A family from Hull who have lived in Bermuda for the past 20 years have been forced off the island after the country's Government clamped down on UK immigrants.

Stephen and Kirsty Tomlinson and their two children, Holly 12, and Joseph, six, have had to return to east Yorkshire, despite the fact their children were born in Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory.

They say they were only given a month's notice to leave after Stephen's workplace burned down and he was made redundant.

He had been working as a spray painter, whilst Kirsty ran a beauty business. Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas were among her clients.

Stephen, 45, said his children were traumatised by the move, adding his daughter is crying herself to sleep at night and asking: "When are we going home, Daddy?"

He said he did not understand how the island's Government could order them to leave after they had been there so long and having 'worked hard and paid our way.'

Stephen moved the the island when he was 24 in 1991, and met and married Kirsty who was there on a work permit. While Bermuda has granted permanent residency to Britons living on the island since 1989, the couple missed the cut-off point by just two years.

Family with young children  thrown out of Bermuda despite living there for 20 yearsBliss! The family's life in Bermuda. Pic: Caters

Friends of the family desperately fought the Bermudan Government's decision, but it could not be overturned. Officials vowed in 2010 to make work permits harder to receive and renew, in an effort to boost employment on the island. The Government will now only give work permits to foreigners with particular skill sets or highly trained occupations. Beauticians and painters are not on this desired list.

Mr Tomlinson said there were other families from Hull still living on the island, but that more Britons were due to be sent home.

"You build a life up only to get kicked out," he said.

Their local Conservative MP Andrew Percy is assisting the family, but admits it is unlikely they will be able to return to Bermuda, which although a British colony, has control over its own immigration system.

He told the couple's local paper:"It's completely unjust that the Tomlinson family should be cheated in this way when they have lived there for so long. I will do everything I can to help them."

The Foreign Office says it is powerless to stop the island's Government sending Britons back to the UK.

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