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British born and bred...but I could be forced to quit UK

Published date: 20 March 2013 |
Published by: Staff Reporter
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A SERIES of bureaucratic blunders by the Home Office means the Leader photographer Craig Colville could be forced to leave the UK if he wants to continue to live with his wife.

This is despite the fact he has a Welsh mother and English father, he was born and went to school in St Asaph, raised near Talacre and now lives in Chester.

The 31-year-old met his now wife Crystal, a Canadian citizen, in 2006 when they were both working on a cruise ship.

After a long distance relationship she moved to the UK on a Youth Mobility Visa in October 2010 and the pair were married at a ceremony in Llangollen last July.

Once they became husband and wife, Crystal, 29, applied to the Home Office for “an extension of stay as the husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried/same-sex partner of a permanent resident”.

But Home Secretary Theresa May refused the application, saying Crystal could not stay in the UK because Craig “does not hold settled status, is not a British citizen and is not a person with refugee leave/humanitarian protection”.

“My wife and I are extremely upset by how poorly the Home Office has treated our case,” said Craig, a former Ysgol Glan Clwyd student.

“It should have been very straightforward as I am a British citizen.”

Craig and Crystal were told if they were not happy with the decision the only thing they could do was to lodge an official appeal.

But in yet another blunder by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), a section of the Home Office, they have now been told their application for appeal has been refused because it was not in on time.

The couple were told in their original refusal letter, sent on February 4, they had until February 18 (10 working days) to appeal.

But on March 7 they received a letter saying their notice of appeal had been refused.

Someone at the UKBA had confused 10 days with 10 working days and the application should have been received by February 14.

“When we called to query this we were told the only thing we could do was to lodge an official appeal against the decision not to allow us to appeal,” said Craig.

“It’s getting beyond a joke now, I dread to think how much this is going to cost the tax payer to sort out.”

Crystal has been told if her appeal is unsuccessful she “must leave the United Kingdom as soon as possible” when her present visa runs out.

The letter from the UKBA adds: “If you do not leave the United Kingdom voluntarily, you will be removed to Canada.”

Craig added: “I do not have the right to live or work in Canada and my worst fear is that we would be separated again, ruining everything we have worked towards.”

Ironically Craig’s identical twin brother Scott, also born in St Asaph, has not been told by Britain’s border guards that he is not a British citizen.

Equally ironic is that Crystal’s grandparents were both a Geordie and a Scot. If she had foreseen the current Home Office blunders, Crystal could have qualified for full British citizenship under an ancestry visa.

Craig has contacted Chester MP Stephen Mosley about the matter. A spokesman for his office said Mr Mosley was supporting the couple and had contacted the UKBA, but that he could not comment further while the issue was ongoing.

At the time of going to Press Craig and Crystal received a further letter from the Home Office which underlined the fact that the couple would have to continue their life outside the UK.

A UKBA spokesman said: “We are writing to Ms Levy [Crystal] this week regarding her application.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further until she has received the latest correspondence.”

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  1. Posted by: sandrobe2001 at 11:19 on 20 March 2013 Report

    I sympathise with the Colvilles, because this is just typical of this Conservative led Coalition, who don't give a 'flying fig' about the law-abiding citizen. They make blunders, they know when they make them, but it lands squarely on the heads of the victims of these blunders, with little recourse to the right/appropriate help. This situation is so ridiculous.

  2. Posted by: truth hurts at 11:24 on 20 March 2013 Report

    So Crystal who is a Canadian citizen, a country with our Queen as its constitutional head and indeed her head on their money is having problems getting permission to live with her Welsh born& bred husband? This Border Agency is a joke and as always, May never gets to take any responsibility for the debacles she oversees. Small wonder many see her as the future leader, she's as slippery as an eel

  3. Posted by: septimus at 13:09 on 20 March 2013 Report

    It's OK, just leave the country, re-enter and say you're claiming asylum from Iraq, move to Blackburn, get caught dealing drugs, drive a car without a license, MOT, tax or insurance, run a small girl over and drag her down the road till she dies, do a runner, and hey presto, a British passport, this is tried and tested to work.

  4. Posted by: sandrobe2001 at 14:24 on 20 March 2013 Report

    This whole situation proves ONE THING and ONE THING ONLY. That being, to illustrate that the UK Border Agency, is again, NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE!

  5. Posted by: kevinweston at 17:43 on 20 March 2013 Report

    It would be good if the spokesman had a name, then again it's probably "Prat"! Come on Leader let's get a campaign running and a result.

  6. Posted by: lindopski at 08:14 on 21 March 2013 Report

    The home office is one of the foulest government departments I have ever had the displeasure of having to deal with (and this was in the 90s), if the large Hadron collider does indeed open a black hole then The Home office should be the initial target formation of said entity sucking it to oblivion first.

  7. Posted by: Dr Indahows at 13:42 on 21 March 2013 Report

    The most astounding part of this story is that the Leader couldn't get a picture of their own photographer to accompany this story ;0).

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