12 January 2012

Lost UK visa creates problems for Kiwi migrant

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A New Zealand man's move to the UK has been tarnished after a courier firm lost his passport and visa, leaving him thousands of dollars out of pocket and his trip in jeopardy.

UK visa

Daniel Finlay was forced to spend thousands on flying back and forth between the UK and New Zealand to resolve his visa issues.

Daniel Finlay, 21 of Hamilton New Zealand had intended to use his mechanic qualifications to start a new life in London. However, after his UK visa got lost in the post just before he left for the UK, Daniel was forced to fly back to New Zealand and apply for a new UK visa, costing him a total of NZ$3,500 (£1,817).

"I applied for my visa and got it all approved and went up to Auckland and did the biometrics, took fingerprints and had to send a whole lot of paperwork and that came back and I sent it off on November 11th" said Daniel.

But after what he was told was the maximum processing time of three weeks had passed, he hadn't heard anything.

With the original hope of being in London for the New Year, over a month with no visa and an ultimately fruitless call to the UK Border Processing Group, Daniel's concerns began to grow.

On December 19th he was told that his UK visa had last been seen at a Morrinsville depot on November 29th. He then contacted Courier Post, saying "that's when I started to worry about it because it had been three weeks sitting in a Morrinsville depot".

It was then that Courier Post informed him his package had in fact been lost. In an attempt to make his already booked flights, he drove to Auckland to secure an emergency passport and boarded his flight to London.

On arrival in London however, Daniel was informed that he would need to be in New Zealand for his UK visa to be processed, taking the total cost of the mishap to over NZ$3,000 (£1,556).

"It just frustrating and really, really stressful" said Daniel, "at one point I wasn't even sure I wanted to go [to the UK] at all. I thought maybe it's not supposed to happen".

While Courier Post has agreed to pay Daniel back the NZ$676 (£350) which he had to pay to reapply for the visa, there is little he can do about the cost of the lengthy and unnecessary flights he was forced to take.

Despite losing his package, Express Courier chief executive Mark Gibson has claimed that they did everything they could to help: "to further try and assist Daniel, as he was out on December 27[th], we also contacted the British high commission on December 20[th] to try and expedite the replacement process for him but we were told that, even in a rush situation, it would take at least six days and that they were closing for Christmas on December 23[rd]."

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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