A hardworking Australian family face being kicked out of the country before Christmas because they missed the deadline to extend their visas when the father had an accident on a business trip.
Andrew Puchy, his wife Audra, and their 12-year-old son William, are pleading with the government to change its decision and launched a public campaign last Thursday to battle to stay at their home in Harborough Magna.
Andrew, who owns a business that makes plastic mouldings in Warwick, flew to Australia last year for a short business trip.
While there, the 55-year-old slipped on the pavement and shattered his knee cap, leaving him needing extensive surgery and unable to fly.
“I knew I needed to get back to the UK to sort out the paperwork for our application,” Andrew said.
“We’ve lived here since 2008 and we decided to apply for permanent residency, but my doctor told me I could die if I flew all the way back and it wasn’t worth risking my life,” he said.
The Home Office rejected the Puchy family’s application because it was late.
They appealed, citing exceptional circumstances, but were rejected again and told to contact the Local Enforcement Team by December 4.
“If we have to leave we will lose all the time and money we have invested in our business here, and our employees would lose their jobs too,” Andrew said.
“My son has a music scholarship and he is doing very well at school. He’s a talented young man and the school is really bringing the best out in him.
“We would hate to uproot him and disrupt his education, and it’s very unlikely that he could apply for a scholarship for an Australian school in time,” he added.
A petition was launched last week to keep the family in the country and they hope to get the backing of politicians to lobby the Home Office on their behalf.
“It’s amazing that we’re being supported by people we have never met,” Andrew said.
“It’s fantastic that this many people feel we have a good case to stay here.”
Rugby MP Mark Pawsey has written to the Home Office, asking officials to look into the family’s case again.
“As soon as I became aware of the Puchy family’s situation I immediately wrote to the Home Office asking that they investigated the issues surrounding the case and reconsider their decision to reject the family’s appeal to remain in the UK,” he said.
“Since then I have written to the Home Office on two further occasions as I was not satisfied with the answers I was receiving on the case.
“This week I have written to the Immigration Minister James Brokenshire MP asking that he intervene in the matter,” he added.
Warwickshire County Councillor Phillip Morris-Jones, who represents Pailton, where the Puchys lived for several years, said he fully supported the family’s fight to stay in the country.
“It would be inhumane and a tragedy to force them to leave,” he said.
“The Puchys are an active part of the community and they employ people, contribute to the economy and invest in the area.
“I fully support the family and that hope others will help to keep them here,” he added.
Former Rugby Mayor, Tony Gillias, who has lived in Pailton all his life, is also backing the Puchy family’s fight to stay in the country.
Hundreds of people have signed the petition, which can be found on the family’s website,
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