Norfolk man’s visa battle to be reunited with foreign wife and baby son
Immigration bosses told a father who had made a 2,000 mile round trip to be reunited with his wife and baby son that they do not believe he is in a 'genuine relationship' with his other half.
Great Yarmouth business owner Phuc Phan Van, known to his friends as Tony, has been sorely missing his wife whom he married a year ago.
He stepped up his efforts to get a passport for her after his four-month old son, with whom he has only been able to spend a few days, was born.
So when he received an email from the British Embassy telling him his wife's passport was 'ready for collection' he thought he had his happy ending.
He flew out to Slovakia, where his Vietnamese wife and son are living on a five-year visa, and took them to Vienna in Austria where Slovakian immigration matters are handled.
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It was there that the 33-year-old owner of Five Star Nail Bar in Regent Road found out that his wife and son had not been granted passports.
He was back working alone at his nail bar the following morning and says he is a broken man.
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'I can't sleep at night and all I want to do is go back with my little boy and my wife,' said Tony. 'I thought the passport was ready then they handed me an envelope.
'I thought they were telling me she could come over.'
Tony is an EU citizen and has been living and working in the UK for seven years.
He grew up in Vietnam as did his wife Thao Le Thi Phuong, 29, and they now have a baby son Tom.
The false hope given to him by the embassy cost him nearly �1,000 in travel expenses and lost business while his shop was closed.
A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: 'All applicants are sent a message once a decision on their visa has been made. 'This message does not specify the outcome of the case, simply that it has been concluded and that their documents are ready for collection.
'Thi Phuong Thao Le's application was refused because she failed to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that she is in a genuine relationship with Phuc Phan Van.
'She has the right to submit further documentation and appeal this decision.'
Tony's friends in Great Yarmouth are backing his efforts to be reunited with his family.
His friend Roy Singfield, 56, who owns neighbouring business Studio 54, said: 'He's at his shop working until 8pm at night. He doesn't shirk and he doesn't claim any benefits.
'He's built a business here and it would be silly for him to walk out of the door and blow it.
'If they let his wife come over he would be the happiest man in the world.'
George Andrew, who has owned St George's Famous Diner for 30 years, said: 'He should be allowed to bring his wife and son over, you can't live without your family.
'He's making enough money to cover all his wife's expenditure and he doesn't need benefits.'
Craig Skeet, manager of Martyn's Gift Shop, said: 'He's not trying to be cheeky, he's a hard-working guy.
'He pays his rent on time and I couldn't find fault.'