British Army soldier from Kenya joined by daughter after visa win
A BRITISH ARMY soldier was reunited with his teen daughter yesterday after a four-month battle to get her a UK visa.
Kenya-born LCpl Denis Omondi, who is married to a Briton, has served in Iraq and Afghanistan during his eight-year career with Scotland’s Black Watch.
But the Home Office rejected his request for Ann, his 14-year-old child with a woman in Kenya, to be allowed to live with him in Inverness.
His MP Drew Hendry set up an online petition to help them that attracted 3,200 signatures. And after a U-turn by officials, the soldier and wife Shelagh hugged Ann as she landed at the Highlands city’s airport yesterday.
Mr Omondi said: ‘I feel overwhelmed at the support received from every corner of this country, especially from Drew Hendry and his team.
‘I have no words to thank them, it’s something I didn’t expect.
‘I’m just thankful that they took the case and gave me all the support needed and Ann’s here now — I feel safe now.’
Mr Omondi has visited Ann every year since 2012, when he found out she was his child. He gained uncontested custody of his daughter and was entitled to apply to bring her in because she is under 18 and he is settled in the UK.
But the Home Office said they had spent too little time together. It changed its mind after Mr Hendry raised the issue in the Commons.
The SNP MP for Inverness said: ‘If you’re willing to lay your life on the line by serving in the armed forces, you should be able to have your family with you, it’s as simple as that.’
Ann said: ‘I’m so happy to be with my dad and stepmum, I love her so much.’
Mrs Omondi, who also campaigned on Ann’s behalf, said she was shocked by the visa struggle. She said: ‘There must be hundreds of Commonwealth families who are separated.’