August 14, 2018 10.43 am This story is over 40 months old

‘My gay partner is being deported’

They have been together for the past four years

A Lincoln man who is being torn apart from his Australian partner of four years is pleading with the Home Office to review the visa application process.

Rusty Goodhall, 34, moved to the UK from Australia after meeting his partner Stephen Buck online four years ago.

Since they met in 2014, the couple have dated, lived together and travelled the world before deciding to settle down in the UK.

Last year, the couple decided that they would apply for a FLRFP visa so that Rusty can stay in the country, but they said they have had a long and difficult wait for updates.

After 14 months of waiting on a decision from the Home Office, the couple had their application refused and told that Rusty must leave the country within seven days and that Stephen would have to join him if they wanted to be together.

In response, Rusty and Stephen started a petition online, with the aim of making the Home Office visa application more “fair and transparent.”

They have also hit back at the decision, accusing the Home Office of ignoring evidence, making factual errors and even discrimination.

The petition has been signed over 82,000 times at the time of writing.

Stephen Buck, who grew up in Lincoln and now lives in Tunbridge Wells, told The Lincolnite: “The refusal letter they have issued is full of misinformation and ignores significant pieces of evidence we submitted.

“Yet because the Home Office are a law unto themselves, and answerable to no one, we have no ability to challenge their mistakes.

“Our solicitor told us there is no reason the application should have been refused. They deal with over one hundred similar cases every month an believe it is either incompetence or intentional discrimination.”

Self employed social marketing consultant Rusty Goodhall, who had his visa application refused, also told The Lincolnite: “It is heartbreaking what is happening. I have just over two weeks until I need to voluntarily leave.

“After 14 months of waiting, I now have to leave the country I love, the partner I love, our dog and friends behind.”

He had been living in the UK on and off for around 11 years and said it’s wrong to receive little correspondence for 14 months and then being “told to leave like a criminal”.

The couple had to send proof to the Home Office that they met on Tinder by sending screenshots of messages and paid thousands of pound in application fees. They added that they should not be “forced to marry” in order to stay in the country.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “Every visa case is assessed on its own merits in line with immigration rules.”

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