A HEALTHCARE worker who helped save lives during the coronavirus pandemic fears “unfair” immigration rules will see her family split up after she failed a test.

Grace Namwali has lived in the UK since 2013 with her British husband and daughter but now fears she will be deported to her native Kenya.

The family has spent £7,000 so far on fees and fulfilled almost all of the criteria for Grace, who has worked as a healthcare assistant at Colchester Hospital for four years, to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the country.

But one vital piece of the puzzle is outstanding – the 45-year-old must pass the Home Office’s Life in the UK test.

Gazette: Workplace - Grace Namwali has worked at Colchester Hospital for four yearsWorkplace - Grace Namwali has worked at Colchester Hospital for four years (Image: N/A)

She recently took the test but failed, leading her husband of 16 years Nicholas Wood to dub the process “fatuous and irrelevant”.

He told the Gazette: “It’s very difficult to focus on the different aspects of life in the UK. One question was ‘how long is the Bayeux Tapestry?’.

“My wife has worked for the NHS right through the pandemic and now we have to go through this. It’s not a pleasant experience.”

Grace and Nicholas moved to the UK ten years ago after their then three-year-old daughter Laura was diagnosed with cancer, before settling in Colchester.

The couple married in 2007 after they met while Nicholas, a teaching assistant, was living in Nairobi.

Grace entered the country on a visitor visa and later applied for an extension before beginning the ten-year process to gain indefinite leave to remain.

She is due to sit the test again next month but the family fears they will run out of time if she doesn’t pass, and after already paying thousands of pounds in fees they can’t afford expensive legal costs.

Her 72-year-old husband added: “This Government's record of vilification of immigrants generally is an international disgrace, and shameful for a country once renowned for common sense and compassion.”

The stress and worry over Grace’s future in the UK has taken a toll on the whole family, especially 13-year-old Laura, a pupil at St Benedict’s Catholic College, who “could do without the stress of her mother’s situation”.

The Home Office has been approached for comment.