Home Office not to hold foreign's passports indifinitely when can't make a decision
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I thought I would never have to start this petition. I honestly thought that the Home Office and the British Goverment would have fixed all this hassle by now.
But here I am, married last year September 10th 2016 to my British husband Andrew, and because I'm from Argentina and that means I'm a Non EU citizen I need a Spouse Visa to be able to join my husband in the UK. I've been living in Spain for the last 13 years and that's where we met, in Málaga (Costa del Sol). I hold a spanish permanent permit and that's how I was allowed to apply for my UK Spouse Visa from Madrid, Spain. I have applied for my Spanish Citizenship ends of 2014 but I'm not spanish yet, and by the time I'm spanish probably it will be the same process I'm dealing with (after Brexit is completed).
The processing of this Visa should take between 12 and 24 weeks for standard applications.(Mine was standard). While they're processing your Visa in Sheffield (United Kingdom) they hold your passport indefinitely for the time they consider they need to make a decision. It's okey when you think: ohhh well don't think they'll take more than 6 months processing one Visa, I also thought; if for whatever reason they can't decide my application yet they'll return my passport (silly me I thought they should). How are they going to leave me in a foreign country (Spain) without my passport for more than 6 months?
Well now I've been waiting for 9 months from February 8th 2017, the day I handed my passport with all the documents in Madrid at the UK Visa Centre to be scanned (docs and evidence) and sent (passport) to Sheffield UK Visas...the Home Office.
I've been all this time 9 months of my life living in a limbo in Mallorca basically waiting (where my family lives), away from the person I love the most, the person I chose to spend the rest of my life with. Being forced to stay all this time in Spain, because I can't fly anywhere outside Spain without my passport. My husband and I missed holidays together, and so many events in Newquay (Cornwall), because of the incompetence of the Home Office. We have missed time of our lives that won't come back, that time that they have stolen from us.
They're having issues at the Home Office, it seems they can't sort all the applications in time (big backlog), they're failing also in communications (poor or no communication at all), and feedback to applicants, we also know from first hand that it depends on the grace of your ECO (Entry Clearence Officer) who's working on your case if you'd get a phonecall or email asking for more evidence or not (when they're in doubt or you've been classified as Not Straightforward Application), some other ECO's would just refuse your application straight away. So how can that be possible? Meaning you will have to re-apply and pay all over again. We're talking now around 2700£ aprox per UK Spouse Visa (application fee 1464£, IHS 732€ (mine was), 551£ Priority service optional)...so imagine all the money the Home Office is only making by refusing applications. (Where is that money even going?).
We also know that the UK and many other countries of the EU have let thousands of people into Europe in the past and now it's complicated cause you can't let anyone in, we understand that. But the only thing I'm asking to this Goverment is just let in those who fulfill all the requirements, and are in genuine relationships, people that will perfectly blend with the British Society. As if it was your house: you would let in those that you like and behave right? Well why is so different with countries and Visas? Think about it. Why now I'm paying for all of those that you let into the UK in the past and you shouldn't have done? That's why I think they should consider case by case, and take into account everything.
I'm not writing this petition only because of my particular situation.
There are thousands of couples, families with kids and even babies suffering all this ridiculous delays, lack of information and uncertainty.
Familes with children, babies and couples that won't see each other for Christmas, thousands of people who're being forced to be apart cause of the Home Office mistakes, short staff, untrained staff and ridiculous UK immigration laws...ask yourself: who's actually working in there? Deciding people's future?
If only they could return people's passports when they'll take more than 6 months to make a decision, that would be a good thing to start with. It's probably illegal that the UK holds people's passports who are not even their citizens and who haven't committed any crime.
I'm only asking you to raise my voice, so we can be heard, we're suffering emotional and psychologically (anxiety, sadness, uncertainty, etc) because of not knowing when they'll decide and when we're going to be finally reunited with our beloved ones. It also affects to our couples, immediate families from both sides.
I'm also asking to sign and share this petition so it reaches to the people who's responsible of all this pain, so they can make some changes, improve the Home Office services, cause we're paying thousands of money in application fees, IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge would be like your NHS).
We all know now that the major talk is about EU nationals in the UK and British nationals in the EU countries cause of the Brexit. But noone is telling you what they're doing to the Non EU people. It could happen to anyone you know...it could happen to you.
Is it a crime to fall in love with a Non EU person?
Please help me get home to my husband arms for Christmas, and by signing and sharing this petition you would also be helping those families that need desperately to be together.
Thank you very much. I appreciate your help.
Greta Passardi (The Applicant)
Greta Ryan Passardi (The Wife)
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