Published: 04/01/2018 08:55 - Updated: 04/01/2018 09:07

Deported teacher felt like a criminal

Heather CattanachA TEACHER waiting to return to her job at Applegrove Primary School has been deported.

Canadian, Heather Jean Cattanach, was instructed to stop working in March and give up her passport while the Home Office considered her application for leave to remain.

She married Scotsman and father of two, Gary McIver, in July and her application was changed to a spousal visa.

However, it was refused in October as the initial paperwork was submitted a week late by Heather’s lawyer who had failed to check her visa expiry date.

The couple’s claims that they looked after Gary’s son every second weekend were also rejected as evidence they submitted was deemed insufficient. The Home Office stated that, in any case, contact could be maintained from overseas “via modern means of communication”. 

Heather was deported to Canada on November 22. 

She said: “I was met at Gatwick by Home Office staff who ensured I made my flight. I felt like a criminal being forced out of the UK. 

“My husband travelled with me and has been a great support throughout this whole ordeal.”

Heather was unable to work while living at Balnageith Rise, Forres for the nine months between having her passport confiscated and being forced to leave the country.

She said: “Sadly, after Gary accompanied me to Canada he had to return to Scotland to continue working in order to pay our flat bills and I am still in Canada. This would have been our first Christmas together as a married couple.”

She added: “We applied for my spousal visa from Canada but I am not certain this will be approved. The Home Office has its own agenda. They have already refused my visa for what seems to be incomprehensible reasons.”

Having initially qualified in British Columbia, Heather taught in Alberta and England before a year in Forres where she became fully qualified by the General Teaching Council of Scotland.

“My favourite aspect of teaching is encouraging pupils to explore their environments,” said Heather.

“I love watching them learn and grow into the best people they can be.”

Heather is aware of the ongoing teaching shortage in Moray, particularly at Applegrove where four teachers are required.

She said: “The UK is forcing away-qualified teachers and breaking up families. At the same time, the UK is forcing children to despair with the lack of qualified teachers.

“I am a teacher; my love and value towards education is clear.

“The Home Office is not making it easy for qualified teachers to immigrate to Scotland. While Scotland is desperate for teachers, the Home Office would not give me approval to teach.”

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