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Stacey Williams (above): ‘Premium appointment disaster’ 

Stacey Williams: I had to leave the UK after being given wrong information from UKBA

Stacey Williams booked a £1350 premium appointment to apply for indefinite leave to remain in July 2011, having worked and lived in London on a five-year ancestry visa.

Her first slot was cancelled by text and she couldn’t book another until the day before her current visa was due to expire.

Before her appointment, Williams, 28, tried to call the UKBA to ask whether it would be an issue that her passport was stolen while in Egypt in 2008. First she was told info couldn’t be given over the phone.

Calling again, an adviser told her applying without her original passport wouldn’t be an issue as long as she had a police report, so Williams paid to get the document translated from Arabic.

At the UKBA office, Williams was told she had been given the wrong advice.

“They said they would have no proof of whether I had been out of the country for more than three months of any year – one of the conditions of the visa.

"They’re the UKBA, shouldn’t they have that information?”

She was given 15 days to provide further documentation – including payslips to cover the period of her previous passport – but the company she worked for had gone bust, so she asked for her application to be withdrawn.

“I was told it would take another 15 days to return my passport – even though I had a flight booked, I was told it wasn’t urgent.”

Williams was then informed by another adviser that there was no wait, and she could collect her passport from a UKBA office.

Williams had to go back to New Zealand for six months, and save for a second ancestry visa – she returned to London in May 2012.

“Aside from spending nearly £3000 and all the stress, I now have to start my five years over again before I can apply for indefinite leave – my plan to work in Europe now seems a distant dream.”

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Photos: Getty; Sean Spurdle


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