Wednesday, 14 December 2016

One Year.

It's a big anniversary for us today - a year after our tribunal hearing.

Robyn is American and was here on a visa - she applied for a new visa and neither of us realised this was a situation where The Home Office takes a huge fee and then automatically refuses the request. More than that, they slapped an immediate application for a deportation order and seized her passport.

I was desperate and, of course, we appealed.

A year ago in November I was in Charing Cross Hospital for a 'simple' kidney operation. I was meant to be there for a couple of days which turned into a week when they couldn't stop the bleeding.

So this became our legal office;

We had statements to write, bundles of documents to sort out and number, strategy and plans to work out. In fact, the more research I did the less chance we seemed to have.

Robyn struggled from home and back on a variety of buses and trains, carting her computer with her because the Hospitals Wi-Fi had caused my computer to sieze up - as soon as I got home it was OK.

We ended up e-mailing statements to each other, rewriting them and e-mailing them back again. Then Robyn printed them out and then copied the bundles of documents at huge expense at the local newsagents. They must have thought Christmas had come early.

It was only later at court that we discovered that The Home Office had 'lost' their copy, which we had sent by registered post.

We kept a spare copy - I'm used to that happening.

Here's our case;

And then on the 14th December we struggled up to Feltham to the tribunal to put our case to the Judge.

Really, I suppose we were very lucky.

But the alternative was unthinkable.

Either we went on the run, which is a bit of a problem in my state - more like a saunter, with the occasional use of a walking frame to hold me up.

We weren't exactly Thelma and Louise.

Or Robyn went back to the States and we were separated.

Anyway, today I've been reliving it all and it's not been much fun.

Robyn tells me to just be grateful but I can't forget that 2015 was the last year when I could have travelled but we couldn't take a holiday thanks to Theresa May and The Home Office.

Or that they didn't even really consider our application - just refused it out of hand.

I remember it all - our friends Martin and Sue who came to give evidence for us, me pacing up and down in the corridor. The Judge not letting me in to advise Robyn, so she was alone in the courtroom.

Running through in my head all the problems in our case; and there only seemed to be problems.

And then it was over and we faced a month long wait for the result - after Christmas.

As I said, I am grateful for the year but I'm angry we were put through such an ordeal. I didn't need the stress. And it was all such a struggle too.

And now the awful Theresa May is Prime Minister.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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