A DISTRAUGHT mum-to-be has been told she will be deported to China just weeks away from giving birth to her first child.

Grace Smith, who lives in Manningtree, moved to the UK in 2015 with her husband Dean after they met in China where they both worked and lived 11 years ago.

Chinese national Grace was granted a spouse visa in February and since then she has applied three times for leave to remain, which has cost the couple about £11,000.

The pair has now received a third visa rejection leaving Grace - who is seven months pregnant - feeling "hopeless" and Dean calling the situation a "travesty".

Following the visa refusal by the Home Office last week, 34-year-old Grace lost her job at Marks and Spencer in Colchester as her right to work was withdrawn.

Grace said: "I feel so hopeless at the moment as I am facing the situation that at any time someone could throw me out of the country and it's just so scary.

"I have not been able to sleep for two or three nights.

"I am so anxious and stressed and it will affect the baby too."

Home Office bosses refused Grace's initial visa bid in February.

Her second application was refused on March 18 after suggesting the financial requirements were not met - a claim the couple heavily dispute.

To remain in the UK, the couple must earn a combined income of £18,600.

Dean is a self-employed exercise specialist and until last week Grace worked full-time.

Dean, 53, said: "Grace is pregnant and was about to qualify for maternity leave and all the financial pressure is on me alone now.

"This is the most callous thing for the Government to do to us.

"As a foreigner you come to a new country to work hard, not claim off the Government, and you get respect.

"We have worked since we both got here and have contributed - so it's just a travesty."

The couple, who married in 2011, originally came back to the UK to look after Mr Smith’s dad who was dying of cancer.

His 78-year-old mum is now ill and Dean acts as her carer.

Dean said: "The only thing my mum had to look forward to was the birth of her grandchild.

"She has not been well since my dad died 18 months ago and I don't want to leave her in England."

A Home Office spokesman said he is in touch with Grace's representatives.

He said: "We are considering whether it may be appropriate to grant a period of leave, given the circumstances of the case."

The Home Office said Grace's third application was refused on the grounds the couple would not face "insurmountable obstacles" to continuing their family life together outside the UK.

The rejection letter from the Home Office, seen by the Gazette, said: "Your application has been unsuccessful. You must leave the United Kingdom now, or you will be liable to be detained or removed."

To sign the petition to keep Grace in the UK click here.