Following a four-month visa battle with the UK Home Office, a British Army soldier has been reunited with his teen daughter from Kenya.
Kenya-born LCpl Denis Omondi, who is married to British wife Shelagh and served in Iraq and Afghanistan during his eight-year career with Scotland’s Black Watch, was joined by his daughter in the UK.
Initially, the Home Office had rejected his request for 14-year-old daughter Ann to be allowed to live with him in Inverness.
Mr Omondi said he felt overwhelmed at the support received from every corner of the UK, especially from Drew Hendry and his team.
“I have no words to thank them, it’s something I didn’t expect,” he added.
‘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.’
Since 2012 when he found out she was his child, Mr Omondi has visited Ann every year. After being granted uncontested custody of his daughter, he was entitled to apply to bring her into the country because she is under 18 and he is settled in the UK.
However, the Home Office refused the application on the basis that they had spent too little time together, but changed its mind after Mr Hendry raised the issue during a session of Prime Minister’s Questions in the Houses of Parliament.
Inverness MP Mr Hendry 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.”
After being reunited with her father and his wife, Ann said: “I’m so happy to be with my dad and stepmum, I love her so much.”
Mrs Omondi said she was shocked by the visa struggle, adding: “There must be hundreds of Commonwealth families who are separated.”