INVERCLYDE'S MP has hit out at the UK's 'nonsensical' immigration laws as he backed a mum's bid to stay in Greenock with her husband and two young children.

Ronnie Cowan has offered support to South African national Nadine McGuire, 29, after the Tele told how she faces deportation and separation from her family having been refused a visa by the Home Office.

His remarks come as immigration officials stand by their decision to decline the application.

The family relocated to Greenock in April last year because of growing political unrest and safety fears in South Africa.

Mr McGuire, 39, is a mechanical engineer and got a job within four weeks of moving back to the country of his birth.

He and his two children - Kailyn, five, and son Kian, 21 months - have British passports but his wife does not and has now been refused permission to stay here permanently with her family.

They now face a £2,500 bill to appeal the decision - on top of £3,500 they have already spent on the initial application.

Mr Cowan said: "I have been contacted by a number of constituents who have been tangled up in the UK's nonsensical immigration system. "It beggars belief that Mr McGuire is unable to live peacefully in Inverclyde with his wife and children because of the UK Government's irrational pursuit of reducing net migration.

"Inverclyde's population is projected to decline for the next 30 years, yet here we have a young family unable to settle in the area despite Mr McGuire and his children being UK citizens.

"It's inevitable that applicants will experience difficulties with visas as long as the UK's immigration rules continue to be so unnecessarily complex. Families are often forced to rely on ruinously expensive immigration lawyers to make sense of this bureaucratic nightmare.

"I have offered to support Mr McGuire's legal representatives and I will continue to campaign against these unreasonable immigration rules, as I have done since 2015."

The family have launched an online campaign to help fund Mrs McGuire's visa appeal after spending their entire savings on the original application.

If it is unsuccessful, the mum-of-two faces being sent back to South Africa for a prolonged period away from her husband and young children.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The visitor visa route cannot be used to live in the UK for an extended period or permanently. "The immigration rules state that applications to remain as a spouse cannot be granted to individuals who are in the UK on a visit visa."