South African denied visa to visit poorly Horsham mum

JPCT 150713  Valerie Austin's son was denied a visa from SA to see her. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Valerie Austin's son was denied a visa from SA to see her. Photo by Derek Martin

A South African man who was denied a visa to visit his poorly and ‘distraught’ mother living in Horsham has claimed the ‘whole decision was based on probabilities’.

Denzil Austin, 27, was recently denied a visa to visit his mother, Valerie Austin, 59, of Roffey, who suffers from numerous health problems and whom he has not been able to visit since 2009.

He said: “I was denied a family visitors visa based on the assumption that because my entire family lives in the UK and I have no family in SA, the chances of me returning to SA are minimal.

“So the whole decision was based on probabilities, which I feel is a little unfair.”

Valerie said the Home Office ‘closed the door’ on his application on the basis of submitted bank statements that did not take into account his then forthcoming pay-check and bonus payments.

She said: “I’m very grateful for Britain taking me to stay in the country I’m not saying anything against the government but I do think my son has been treated very harshly.”

She added: “I just want to see my son. Your family is your base and if you cannot see them it’s devastating.”

Denzil moved to England aged 18 with his mother in 2004 after his father died suddenly in their native South Africa.

Valerie, whose grandmother was British, was granted leave to remain on ancestral rights while Denzil came to England on a two-year working holiday visa.

He then spent a further two years in Britain supporting his mother financially after being granted a compassionate visa but was asked to leave for South Africa in 2009.

Denzil said: “I was basically under the impression that because the Home Office was aware of my situation and subsequently granted me leave to remain in the country based on my situation, another application for leave to remain would be granted.

“However when I applied for an extension, it was refused and I was asked to leave the country.”

Valerie, who lost her work as a carer due to health problems, said she had raised money with family and friends to pay for Denzil’s visit.

The mother added: “He had to go home to nothing. Friends put him up, he was just 22.

“I love South Africa but nobody wants to send their son to a crime-ridden country.”

Denzil has subsequently re-settled and has a job and his own home.

After being contacted by this newspaper for comment on the situation, a Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not comment on individual cases.”