Visa nightmare continues for Thorpe St Andrew couple

A family are facing Christmas thousands of miles apart as a visa deadline that will indefinitely separate them draws ever closer, despite their best efforts to stay together.

Earlier this year, the Evening News told how Robyn McCrystal faces having to return to her homeland of Australia despite the fact she has set up a life in Thorpe St Andrew with her four-year-old son James and English husband Damon. Having spent thousands of pounds applying five times for a full residency in Britain while in Australia, they came to England together with Robyn on a visitor's visa believing they would have a better chance of success.

Since then, and after having hopes repeatedly raised and dashed, the 43-year-old will have to leave in just over a month.

Mrs McCrystal, who has a potential job lined up, told of the recent moment when they had to explain to their son what was going on.

'Damon and I are pretty upset that we're going to have to spend Christmas apart, and I will be with James so Damon will be on his own.

'We sat the little fella down the other day and had to tell him that daddy was not coming with us.'

She added the stress has taken its toll: 'We took him to the doctors recently due to a chest infection, and he has been clingy of late, and the doctor said they thought it stemmed from everything going on.'

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The couple plan for Mr McCrystal, who has a full time job in the print trade, to send back money while his wife looks after their child. However, they fear the cost of flights and further visa applications will cripple them financially.

'I've got no trust in them [the UK Border Agency], and I think when I get back to Australia they will say 'no' and I will be stuck there,' she said.

'It's just so stressful at the moment, what with having to come up with advance rent for somewhere to live, and put in another application there not knowing how long it will take to get a response.'

A UK Border Agency spokesman said people who wish to apply for settlement as a spouse in the UK must do so in the country in which they normally live.

'People wishing to settle in the UK must also demonstrate that they can be maintained and accommodated without relying on public funds.

'Mrs McCrystal has provided insufficient evidence showing that she meets this requirement and our decision has been upheld by the courts.'

Have you got a family story? Contact reporter John Owens on 01603 772439.