A DORSET woman is facing Christmas without her six-year-old daughter after she was deported from Dubai for working without her husband’s permission.

Tess Lorrigan, 46, spent two nights in a Dubai prison and was deported back to the UK after her 10-year marriage to another ex-pat turned sour.

She is now battling to be reunited with her daughter Olianne, whom she adopted from Nepal in 2008 but who remains in Dubai with her father, because adoption is not recognised in the United Arab Emirates.

Tess, who is now living back with her parents in Wick Lane, Christchurch, said: “I’m feeling very, very lost. I’ve tried not to feel too desperate but there have been moments when I have felt entirely desperate because I don’t know how long it’s going to be before I see my daughter again and I don’t know what to do for the best.”

The secondary school teacher moved out to Dubai 15 years ago and married in 2001. The couple adopted Olianne in February 2008 but the marriage broke down and in November 2009, Tess filed for divorce through the UK courts.

Unable to return home because of a travel ban placed on Olianne, Tess instead found a teaching job in the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah.

But she was stunned when, in May this year, immigration police entered her classroom, arrested her and took her to the immigration court.

She was told she had been reported for working without her husband’s permission and should prepare herself to spend the night in prison.

“I was absolutely stunned, I had no idea what was going on.

“All I could think of was that Olianne was going to finish school and I needed to be there to pick her up.”

Tess was released the next day but had her passport confiscated. Over the next few months she spent thousands of pounds fighting the immigration case and a custody case for Olianne.

She was given hope in August, when a judge in her immigration case ruled in her favour but the prosecution successfully appealed the decision and she was told she would be deported.

As a result, she also lost her custody case.

“It was such a huge blow,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.

“Everything I had waited for and expected to happen was taken away from me.”

“The letter of the law was that the school hadn’t got the correct legal papers in place to employ me and I hadn’t got permission from my husband. It didn’t matter that I had applied for divorce.

“The fact is I was still his wife and I was working without permission.”

“I could have tried to appeal it but I didn’t have any extra money, “I had already borrowed so much and I was exhausted at that point. I was living with friends, I had no kind of life, I didn’t have my daughter and it looked like I would never get her from the United Arab Emirates courts.

“My friends in the UK said to come back here and fight for her from here. I knew that wasn’t going to be easy but I gave in. I didn’t have any more fight left in me anyway.”

Tess bought a plane ticket and went to the court for her deportation but she had to spend another night in jail before she was finally sent home. She has been home for three weeks now and is trying to remain positive for the future.

She has set up a Facebook page called Rescue Olianne and has an appointment to meet her MP Chris Chope. And despite her experiences, she is wary of being too critical of Dubai’s harsh laws.

“When I was living there I knew there was this dark side to Dubai but when you’re living a good life, with a good social life, with good friends and the weather’s lovely, you don’t think about it. I was one of those: ‘I’m all right Jack’ people. It was a wake-up call when I was in prison and saw women that have been there for months and months for nothing.

“Until you’re in a situation like that you don’t know how bad the system can be. You realise that it looks like a 21st century country, all modern, shiny and wonderful but it becomes a third world culture if you get on the wrong side of the law.”