18th Mar 2013 11:01am | By Carol Driver
A small business owner is being forced to put his expansion plans on hold due to UKBA incompetency.
Sean Spurdle, who runs landscaping firm Natural Elements Landscape, applied for indefinite leave to remain in June 2012 – and is yet to hear from the Border Agency.
The 35-year-old has been living and working in Kingston, London, for the past seven years, flying over from New Zealand the day after the July 7 bombings in 2005.
He got in touch with TNT after we launched our UKBA Balls-Up campaign, demanding improved services for those applying for visas or visa extensions in the UK. Click here to sign the UKBA petition
Despite numerous calls and emails to the UKBA to inform them of the change, he was originally told advisers wouldn’t be able help him until his application had been in the system for six months.
“At the start of January, I finally spoke to somebody who said, ‘We’re merely a call centre and have no access to your file’,” Spurdle said.
“I just wanted to make sure my documents were not being sent back to the lawyers as they had gone into liquidation.
“But the adviser couldn’t even tell me what address was on file. After I questioned what the UKBA’s role actually is, she hung up the phone on me.
“So with no way of contacting the UKBA, and if without a valid visa, I am now pretty much trapped.
“It’s affecting the expansion of my business,” he added.
“I want to invest in vehicles but no bank will give me a loan because technically I don’t have a valid visa. If my visa doesn’t get granted, I’d have to lay off the seven people working for me.”
And it’s not just Spurdle’s work life that’s affected.
He proposed to his long-term girlfriend Sophie last year, and they’ve got a wedding booked in July, with friends and family scheduled to fly over from New Zealand.
The wedding is booked for July, with friends and family due to fly over from New Zealand.
However, as his visa still hasn’t been approved, so it could prove a wasted trip.
“I have no passport or visa. No visa equals no marriage licence. Not good!” he said.
As Spurdle had to surrender his passport for the visa application, he has already missed out on travelling to New Zealand for his mum’s 60th birthday as well as a friend’s wedding back home, for which he was supposed to be best man.
Eight months after applying for his visa, there’s still no news from UKBA, so Spurdle has enlisted the help of his local MP, Liberal Democrat Ed Davey.
“I am worried about the time. We want to buy a house, we want to plan the honeymoon, but, more than anything, we just want to move on with our lives,” Spurdle added.
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