Newlyweds separated after bride falls foul of new visa law

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Less than a year ago, Adam Wallace had married the girl of his dreams and was looking forward to a life of domestic bliss. Now, the 29-year-old and his Canadian bride Rochelle, 19, are to be forcibly separated after falling foul of a new law designed to prevent forced marriages, which came into force just four days after their wedding.

In November 2008, the legal age limit for a foreign citizen to apply for a spousal visa was raised from 18 to 21. It means that the Wallaces, of Aberystwyth in Wales, can live happily together in any EU country except the UK. Mrs Wallace is being flown out of the country at 6am today and will not be eligible to apply for a spousal visa for 15 months, when she turns 21.

"It is almost like a jail sentence. It definitely is going to be hard and I can't go to Canada as it is not financially viable," her husband said.

The couple approached their local MP and even made Home Secretary Alan Johnson aware of their plight, but were told it was impossible to transfer Rochelle on to a marriage visa.

A Home Office spokeswoman said Mrs Wallace had overstayed her current visa and that her deportation had "nothing to do with her marriage".