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A Perth man who planned to spend the rest of his life in Australia with his wife, is facing deportation over a bureaucratic mix-up.
54-year-old Paul Henwood moved to Australia on a state-sponsored business owner visa and bought a café for $800,000 in 2015 which currently employs seven workers. He has now been told he would be deported after his application for permanent residency was declined.
Mr Henwood’s original state-sponsored visa was running out on 19th September. On 13th September, he sent his paperwork to immigration’s Adelaide office for processing. But he did so by Express Post instead of using a courier.
“I went to a post office and asked my documents to be sent to Adelaide via courier so that they reach Adelaide the next day. I was directed to express post which is the next day service,” Mr Henwood told SBS Punjabi.
He said his application was declined as it wasn’t sent via courier.
I feel, I have been charged with a crime and I am going to be convicted. And I am not even given a chance to defend myself- Paul Henwood
Mr Henwood says by the time he could submit his paperwork again, his visa had expired and the department refused to accept his application.
He is now on a bridging visa-E which doesn’t entitle him to work in Australia.
“On bridging visa, I am not supposed to work. I can’t run my business, I can’t pay salaries to my employees,” he said.
Mr Henwood’s bridging visa expires on October 9. After that, he and his 61-year-old wife will have to return to London if the deportation takes place.
“I feel, I have been charged with a crime and I am going to be convicted. And I am not even given a chance to defend myself,” he told SBS Punjabi.
It is incumbent on all visa applicants to ensure they lodge any visa application correctly and with sufficient time for their visa to be received and processed before any previous visa expires- DIBP
Suresh Rajan, Ethnic Communities Council of WA said Mr Henwood’s case demonstrates how “bad” the bureaucracy around the migration system in Australia is.
“He is making a fairly massive contribution in terms of having a business that’s running, employing people and contributing by way of taxes,” he told The West Australian.
The Immigration Department says it’s important for applicants to follow the correct process.
“It is incumbent on all visa applicants to ensure they lodge any visa application correctly and with sufficient time for their visa to be received and processed before any previous visa expires.”
Jujhar Singh Bajwa, a Melbourne-based migration agent says a failure to follow the correct directions to submit applications can cause visa complications.
“In such cases where applications aren’t submitted as directed, they are declined and then the only recourse left with the affected applicant is to approach the Federal Court,” Mr Bajwa said.