Father fights to bring daughter home

A FATHER has vowed to continue his fight to have his daughter from the Philippines live with him and his family in Portishead.

Rob Van Eker was stunned when Maki, a daughter he did not know existed, tracked him down using the social networking site Facebook in 2010.

The 52-year-old says Maki, who lives in Manila, had a close call when the capital was hit by Typhoon Nesat last week, which has made him more determined to campaign for his daughter to gain residency in UK.

Mr Van Eker, who lives in Lower Down Road with his wife Morag and their two children, said: “We met Maki for the first time last year when she visited us from her home in the Philippines and we all got along really well, there is definitely a strong bond between us.”

Maki, now aged 24, had an extremely tough upbringing. Living in poverty she worked from an early age and had to fight to get an education.

Now her dad says he wants to make it up to her. He and his family want to provide a home in Portishead for her and are prepared to support her financially.

However, but Mr Van Eker has been told by the Home Office that because his daughter is over 18, she has no right to live in Britain.

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He said: “We are all absolutely devastated and don’t know which way to turn.

“We are not asking for any handouts, I just want to be able to take care of my daughter who has suffered a great deal of hardship in her life and I want to ensure she has a bright future.”

The family is now planning to take the case to local MP Dr Liam Fox who they hope will be able to help them move forward with their quest.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “Unless there are exceptional compassionate circumstances, adults who wish to join relatives in the UK need to qualify for a visa in their own right.

“The fact that Ms Van Ekar’s father is a UK resident does not in itself entitle her to settle in the country.”