Chinese wife's six-year wait before she can become a Brit
A CHINESE woman, who married a Derby man, may have to wait for six years until she can become a British citizen – twice as long as normal – after an error with her visa application.
Anthony Davies, met his wife-to-be, Xingling Xu, while on holiday in China.
They applied for a fiancée visa for her to enter the UK and, in August 2010, married and had a son, Tim.
Mr Davies said: "The first six months Xingling was in the UK just flew past.
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"The time came to send off the paperwork for her to stay. But, in the 48 hours it took us to download the form and send it off, they changed the type of form and fee for the application. There was no information about this on the UK Border Agency website.
"They sent back the original form, saying it was the wrong one."
Mrs Xu's visa application was rejected on November 25, 2010, due to a problem with the fees. The couple had paid the amount stated before the agency's changes.
They were also told that their application would be subject to new rules and Mrs Davies must complete an English language test.
Now Mrs Davies must reapply for a visa every two years for six years, because her original visa had expired. Only then will she be able to apply for citizenship. People can usually apply in three years.
Mr Davies said: "My wife's visa was due to expire on November 25, 2010, and we knew that new rules, including a language test, were due to be introduced at the end of November."
But the couple did not expect this to apply to them.
Mrs Davies, 34, called the agency and an adviser told her she must leave the UK immediately.
At this point, Mr Davies sought legal advice. He said: "I just missed the threshold for being eligible for Legal Aid. We managed to pay the fees with help from family but it's turned into a never-ending expense."
The family, who live in Upper Boundary Road, made a fresh application in 2011 and, finally, in October 2012, Mrs Davies was granted permission to remain in the UK on a discretionary basis.
Mr Davies, 45, a police community support officer, said: "In the two years it has taken to sort this, my wife hasn't been able to visit her family or get work in the UK.
"She can contribute a lot to this country. She's not a scrounger. It's been very hard on her. She misses her family and they've missed out on Tim growing up.
"I don't think our politicians appreciate the impact on families this has. These are decent, hard-working people. They're no threat – no burden."