A Sheffield dad has been separated from his wife and three-year-old daughter for three years following what he labelled as a ‘horrible experience’ with the Home Office.
Jan Harvey Hoyos Leal, of Parson Cross, has been left unable to see his daughter Athena and wife Yesenia Paola who are currently living in Cucuta, Colombia while the family awaits a decision on a visa application.
Mr Leal Mr Leal, who works as a chef at a pizza restaurant in Leeds, said the family submitted the spousal visa application on June 22, 2018 and paid for a ‘priority service’, which he said ‘gurantees a decision within 30 days but the couple is still awaiting a decision.
Yesenia said: “We have been waiting for more than two years to know what our fate will be. This is our second application. We wasted a year and a half in the first application with a lawyer that promised to reunite us earning less than the £22,400 per year required to get a spousal visa.
“In our second application, we made sure everything was correct, including my husband’s wage, which had increased since then.
“Waking up daily not knowing when we will get a decision in our visa Application has been really difficult, especially since I am having to live like a single mother without the company of my husband nor with the support of anybody here in Colombia”.
Jan said it had been a ‘horrible experience’ and said he wanted to share the family’s story to make others aware of the delays.
He said: “It has been a horrible experience and now we are at the last step to completing our lifelong dream; to be able to live together as family. The only thing stopping us now is the limitless wait the Home Office has put in our way.”
Jan said he had also got the opinion of a child psychologist on the effect the delays were having on Athena.
The Home Office said that the UK Visa and Immigration department did not guarantee a timescale for priority application.
In a statement, it added: “UKVI aims to complete all straightforward settlement applications within 12 weeks. Applications that are more complicated or require additional checks may take longer.”