Pending visa decision leaves Earl Soham family stranded 7,000 miles apart in Suffolk and Indonesia
- Credit: Gregg Brown.
A husband and wife of 15 years face a nail-biting wait for officials to decide if they will be reunited after months apart.
The Austin family has been split between Suffolk and Jakarta as authorities consider a visa case.
Kirk and Septin Austin married in 2002 after meeting at an insurance firm in Indonesia.
Having lived in Asia and the Middle East – most recently in Qatar – they moved to the Earl Soham home of Mr Austin’s widowed mother 18 months ago.
The couple secured a visitor visa before applying for Mrs Austin to remain – a process that required her to leave her husband and teenage sons for Indonesia.
Mrs Austin, a Master’s educated accountant from East Java, volunteered at a Framlingham charity shop before having to return. Her husband claims she is being prevented from contributing to society by “box-tickers”.
“In all of the places we’ve lived, when we provided documents to show we were a family, the process of getting a visa was pretty straightforward,” said the 56-year-old, originally from Tilbury.
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“The only place we’ve faced problems is here in the UK, where I came to be closer to my mother and send the boys to a local school. In accordance with the rules, Septin left when required.”
Since 2012, British citizens must earn at least £18,600 before they can bring a spouse from outside the EU to the UK – or have at least £62,500 saved for six months.
However, Mr Austin withdrew part of his pension to sustain the family until he found work, which he argues will gross almost twice the required amount annually.
In February, the Supreme Court ruled the minimum income requirement was not unjustifiably high, following the Government’s appeal against a judgment that it breached human rights laws.
The application was delayed until Mr Austin submitted the financial documents, which he believes will fail the test.
“I suspect she will be refused entry,” he said. “Encouragingly, the courts said the interests of children should be paramount – and I have two boys who haven’t seen their mum in months.”
Mr Austin’s mother, Doris, said: “We all miss her. It’s dreadful. The boys need both of their parents.”
A Home Office spokesman said the case was under consideration, adding: “Mrs Austin submitted an application for a settlement visa on April 18. Mandatory documentation was missing but has now been received.”