A Sheffield family, separated for almost three years following Home Office delays, will be reunited this week after The Star shed a light on its case.
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.
But, after the Star published a story on the family's plight and what Mr Leal, labelled as a ‘horrible experience’, the Home Office has approved the application and they will be together lonce again on Friday.
Mr Leal said: “My wife and daughter will be with me this friday. My MP called the Home Office to show them the story you wrote and 30 minutes later, the Home Office called back to say a decision was made.
“Eight years ago my wife and I began our dream of one day being together as a family and now our dream became true. I can now live a happy man.”
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.
He said the Home Office had also refund the ‘priority fee’, which they paid.
He added: “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.”
Jan said he had also got the opinion of a child psychologist on the effect the delays were having on Athena.s
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.”