A Day Came A Year Too Late

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It was more than a year ago –  sixteen months to be exact, when I first submitted my application to the Home Office visa section after my husband and I had decided to relocate to England with our young son.  For those of you who have been following my blog post in regards to this matter (https://sandy.education/blog/a-test-of-patience-a-hellish-wait/) and how the unexpected turn of events had created such chaos for our family, we have news for you……

To give you a short summary of the timeline:  

June 1, 2017 – submitted my EEA family permit application in anticipation that it would only take 15 days to process such a visa.

Dec 14, 2017 – visa rejected based on lack of supporting documents

March 15, 2018 – submitted an appeal to the UK Court

Sept 10, 2018 – rejection overruled

Oct 29, 2018 – passport received with the visa stamp

I don’t even know where or how to begin to tell you the rollercoaster ride I was subjected to by the visa office over the past sixteen months. Am I relieved today when I got my passport back? Yes, of course I am but not because of the visa stamp in my passport but rather the fact that I could finally stop this insane chasing game.  

What was supposed to be a good news – gaining the right to live, work and reside in a new country, what was supposed to be an exciting new start of a life for my family had been transformed into a nightmare that lasted for months and months.  

It is somewhat analogous to going to a birthday party, expecting to have some fun but it turns out not only you didn’t have any such fun but you got caught up in an unexpected and unexplainable tragedy that was not of your making at all.  

The frustration stemmed NOT from the rejection and the ultimately the over-ruling but more so of the long delay with no explanation at any stage of this chaos from the UK Home Office Visa section.  It was the irresponsible and unexplained overdue delay that caused a fortune to my family. The new house, the shipping of all our furnitures, the school fee, the car we bought, all in preparation of that ‘new life’ and subsequently hiring the immigration lawyer to submit our appeal, most importantly the physical distance between my son and his father; my husband and I are still enduring the emotional turmoil in all these relationships as a result of the Home Office’s disastrous inability to manage and administer the paperwork in an efficient manner.

There was not even one correspondence from the Home Office to either explaining the long delay or the reason of the rejection.  The nightmare of chasing after (what we believed was an actual person, a case officer, a Visa official etc.) them but the fact that all we got in reply were some standard reply emails. Despite the extreme toil they place on families and real lives, there is no one on the other end who actually read or showed empathy to my family as a result of their incompetence, which still haunts me at night.  I have lived without my passport for over 10 months and that fear has been scarred into my mind for so long that I felt unprotected and almost as if I lost my identity. I couldn’t travel, I didn’t have an identity.

That’s only part of the story I am telling you today because part 2 of this story has yet to unfold, even to myself.  I don’t know how it is going to go now that my plan is to inform the visa office that I no longer need the EEA visa because my husband was left with no choice but to return to Hong Kong to reunite with us because of the long delay.  Now that we have resettled our lives in Hong Kong, there’s no immediate plan to relocate to anywhere, definitely not England.

After consulting our immigration lawyer, it is our obligation to inform the visa office that I will not activate the visa status based on the fact that my husband is no longer working in the UK and this visa was only granted for that reason.  If I don’t do that, I could run the risk of being questioned or detained for questioning if I try to enter the country for a holiday or a short visit.

The thought of starting this process scares me and there’s a part of me wanted to say, ‘I don’t need to go to UK ever again!” but the fact that my daughter is studying in London for the next few years, means that I do want to visit her.  

When and will I ever be able to plug up the courage to begin this process which I have no idea how long it will takes or what kind of mess I might get myself into this time, I don’t even want to think about it.  The thought of handing over my passport to people that I don’t even know, and from bitter experience sense that they will at best neglect it and at worst delay it indefinitely again, fills me with trepidation.

So the lesson learned and indeed the lesson that I want to share with my reader is that when it comes to immigration matters, don’t underestimate the power or stupidity of what we imagine could not exist in people who are in much higher position than us, thus they should  know better!!! Because they don’t.

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Sandy Sinn-Hussey

Motherhood has been a long journey for me. Being a single mother for twelve years, I have learned the importance of mother and child's relationship. Raising children is a lifelong career and require patience, perseverance and love.