- Deborah Chniti, 43, moved from Stoke-on-Trent to Tunisia in 2012 to marry
- Now she and husband Ala, 27, whom she had met on Facebook, are broke
- Mrs Chniti, who was on benefits in the UK, is begging to come back home
- She wants to bring her husband but his visa application has been refused
- Government rules say Mrs Chniti must earn £18,600 per year or have £62,500 savings before her husband is granted a visa
- Home Office said foreign spouses are welcome in the UK but 'must not be at taxpayers' expense'
A 'Shirley Valentine' ex-pat who lived on benefits in Britain is begging to move back to the UK with her Tunisian toyboy - because they are broke.
Deborah Chniti, 43, from Stoke-on-Trent, was claiming disability living allowance when she emigrated to Tunisia in 2012 so she could marry Ala, 27, who she met on Facebook.
But Mrs Chniti's plan to return to the UK has now been scuppered after her husband was denied a visa - because the couple do not have enough money.
Deborah Chniti, 43, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, emigrated to Tunisia in 2012 to marry her toyboy Ala, 27, pictured, but now wants to return to the UK with her husband because they have run out of money
Mrs Chniti, who according to her Facebook page lives in Tunis, claims they are broke because she is too ill to work while her husband, who works as a labourer, earns just five pounds a day.
Now the mother-of-three has said it is 'disgusting' that her huband's visa application has been turned down and they cannot move back to Britain together.
She said: 'I’m missing out on my grandchildren growing up. I think it’s disgusting. The law has to change. The Government just want my money and letting all the wrong immigrants in.'
Mrs Chniti moved to Tunisia in June 2012, two years after becoming friends with Ala on Facebook.
She believed she could return with him to the UK - without him needing a visa - for up to four years after she left.
But new rules were introduced by the Home Office in 2012, in a bid to stop immigrant spouses, who might not work once they arrive in Britain, relying on the taxpayer for money.
Mrs Chniti was claiming disability living allowance when she lived in the UK and says she is still too unwell to work. Her husband works as a qualified labourer in Tunisia but gets paid £5 per day, she says
Rules now say Mrs Chniti - who says she cannot work because of a bad back, depression, anxiety and asthma - needs to earn at least £18,600 a year or have savings of £62,500 before her husband can join her.
People who have been married outside of the UK for more than four years are now no longer able to apply for the visa for their spouse.
Mrs Chniti said: 'I gave my house up, lost my car and my kids and went to live with my daughter. Every single thing in the UK I owned is gone. I’ve got nothing now.
'I need to go home. I want to be with my children and grandchildren, but I can’t leave my husband. I’m an emotional wreck. No-one speaks English where we live.
I’m stuck in the house all day.
'I can’t go to the shops because they don’t understand me as they don’t speak English, and that’s the only language I speak.
People stare at me because I don’t dress like them, and women knock into me.'
Mrs Chniti, left, says she cannot work because she has a bad back from three car crashes. She claims her husband, right, will 'work 24 hours a day to support' her if he is allowed into the UK
Ala Chniti is said to be working from 6am to 3pm each day and Mrs Chniti says they cannot possibly start to save up on what they are collectively earning
Mrs Chniti, left, said her husband 'doesn't want a penny' from the Government but she does not have the required salary or savings needed for him to obtain a visa
She added: 'It’s unfair for us to be apart when we have lived together for two years. Why does money have to stop us having a normal life? He’s a qualified labourer.
'He doesn’t want a penny from the Government.
He said he will work 24 hours a day to support me if it comes to that. I can’t work because I have a bad back from three car crashes and will need a knee replacement operation when I am 70.
'I can’t walk long distances and can’t sit or stand for a long time. I also have asthma and have suffered with depression, stress and anxiety since I was 21.
'My husband works from 6am to 3pm and gets the equivalent of five pound a day. We can’t save on that.'
Mrs Chniti said she missed the birth of her fourth grandchild last Thursday, and has never seen her third grandchild.
Her eldest daughter Laura Hughes, 22, said: 'I miss my mum, I just want her back. It’s been really stressful because we just want to be a proper family again.'
Stoke-on-Trent South Labour MP Rob Flello who has written to the Home Office about the issue.
He said: 'We are dealing with this case. I sympathise with Mrs Chniti and have been in contact with the Home Office to try to find a solution.'
But a Home Office spokesman said: 'We welcome those who wish to make a life in the UK with their family, work hard and make a contribution, but it must not be at the taxpayers’ expense.
'Our family rules were brought in to make sure that spouses coming to the UK do not become reliant on the taxpayer for financial support, and are well enough supported to integrate effectively.
'This is fair to applicants and to the rest of the public.'
HOME OFFICE RULES ON VISAS FOR UK CITIZENS' FOREIGN SPOUSES
The Home Office brought in 'family rules' in July 2012 to ensure spouses coming to the UK do not become reliant on the taxpayer for financial support.
Any British citizen who wants to sponsor their non-European spouse's visa must be able to show they will have a guaranteed job paying at least £18,600 a year, which will start within three months of returning to the UK.
They must also show they have been earning the equivalent to £18,600 in the past six months.
If they are not earning that salary each year, the British citizen must prove they have £62,500 in savings.