A poorly Horsham mother is ‘distraught’ because her son was denied a visa to visit her from South Africa.
Valerie Austin, 59, of Horsham, who lost her work as a carer in Mill River Lodge due to numerous health problems, had gathered money with friends and family to pay for her son to visit her.
Her son, Denzil Austin, was recently denied a family visiting visa by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), part of the Home Office.
Valerie said the UKBA ‘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.”
Valerie and her son, who was aged 18 at the time, immigrated to England in 2004 after her husband died suddenly.
She was granted an ancestral visa and her son a working visa for two years, then a compassionate visa which expired after another two years.
He subsequently had to return to South Africa in 2009, leaving most of his friends and family, after the UKBA rejected his third visa application, which was made on the understanding it ‘was a matter of formality’.
Valerie added he spent his five years in Britain supporting her financially.
She said: “He had to go home to nothing. Friends put him up, he was just 22.”
She added: “I love South Africa but nobody wants to send their son to a crime-ridden country.”
Denzil has re-settled and has a job and his own home, but has been unable to visit his mother since 2009.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We do not comment on individual cases.”