Colin Jones and Elizabeth Madrid
Colin Jones and Elizabeth Madrid on their wedding day. Colin Jones/

A London firefighter has launched a desperate petition to stop his wife being deported to Bolivia after she was refused a UK visa.

Briton Colin Jones, who has served with the London Fire Brigade for 28 years, is petitioning the Home Office to save his wife Elizabeth Madrid from deportation, after they claimed the relationship could continue overseas. The pair met in 2006 and married in 2015 but have been battling her deportation for about a year.

Writing on the petition, which has reached almost 7,000 signatures, Jones claimed his wife was working and paying tax and National Insurance, but that he has since been forced to start working a second job to support them.

He wrote of his fears about leaving those jobs behind to move abroad, and of worries he could be killed in Bolivia.

He said: "It would be impossible for me to go to Bolivia as I rely on my two jobs to provide income. I wouldn't have a job there. I have little knowledge of their language and the way of life there, and also my wife worries that I would be targeted and killed there, because of the crime rate."

Jones also revealed the toll the battle for a visa has had on him and his wife, upon whom he leans after difficult and traumatic days with the fire brigade.

He said: "The whole situation is very stressful and upsetting for the both of us. If she is deported I don't know what I will do. She is such a rock for me, helping me deal with the fallout from those tough incidents I have at work and I love her so much. I only want us to have a normal life here, contributing to society, without the stress and anxiety we have now lived with for the past year."

Fellow London firefigher Gareth Cook showed his support for the petition, writing: "Colin and his wife are decent people. Colin has served his community and the people of London for nearly three decades. Colin and his wife deserve happiness without concern.

"Colin has given the best part of his life to helping others In need. Firefighters find it extremely hard to ask for help, please recognise the significance of this."

Another friend of the couple, Debbie Perera, wrote: "They are both hard working decent people, who pay taxes, they have been together for many years and are devoted to each other and are true soulmates. This decision is cruel and heartless and serves no purpose at all."

A Home Office spokesman told the Standard that Madrid has no leave to remain and does not meet the "requirements of the immigration rules for the category in which she applied.

"There were no exceptional reasons for her to remain in the UK because her relationship could continue overseas. We expect people with no legal basis to remain in the UK to leave the country voluntarily."