Brit stuck in Poland feels ‘shafted’ after spending £30,000 trying to get family to UK

Spencer Howell, his wife Yauheniya and their two children are unable to return home to Lincolnshire as applications keep getting rejected – he says the UK’s immigration system has left him ‘devastated’

Spencer wants to bring his family home
Spencer wants to bring his family home

A British man stuck in Poland with his family has branded the UK’s immigration system an “utter disgrace” as they are unable to return home.

Spencer Howell first met his wife Yauheniya in Belarus in 2015.

Yauheniya, who is a qualified engineer, and here nine-year-old daughter, Darya, from a previous relationship, both travelled to the UK to live with Spencer for six months.

When Yauheniya’s visa came to an end, she went back to her native Belarus with her daughter to apply for a new one, but it was rejected.

Spencer, 40, had travelled back and forth between the UK and Belarus, and a second visa application for both Yauheniya and Darya was also refused.

In March 2017, the couple got married in Belarus, and began applying for a spousal visa, reports Grimsby Live.

But despite 36-year-old Yauheniya passing both of the English tests required alongside the application, this visa was also rejected.

Eventually, Spencer relocated to Belarus to be with his family and they welcomed their son, David, in September 2018.

Spencer and his wife


Spencer Howell)

Their son has never been to the UK


Spencer Howell)

Amid the violence and protests in Belarus the family of four decided to relocate to Poland, where they are currently living but desperately want to return to Lincolnshire to be with Spencer’s family.

They have since applied twice for two family permits for Yauheniya and Darya which would allow them to relocate to the UK – but both applications were rejected both times by the Home Office.

Spencer has said the situation has taken a toll on his mental health, as he cannot bring his family home to see his father, who has prostate cancer.

He said: “We’ve been together a long time, we’re married and have two children. What’s the problem? I shouldn’t have to go through all this hell.

“I must have spent around £30,000 just through legal fees and getting documents translated through this entire process. I just want this miserable and painful experience to come to an end.

The couple were married in Belarus


Spencer Howell)

“I just feel like I’ve been uprooted from my friends, my family and my background, and I just want to be at home with my family. I pay my taxes on time and I owe nothing to the government.

“They should have shown us a duty of care instead of leaving us to die in Belarus.

“I feel devastated, upset, and that my daughter has missed out on so much. She’s not been able to go back to England for five years, my son’s never been to England.

“We’ve paid so much money in solicitors’ fees, Home Office fees, and we’ve just been absolutely shafted.

“It’s messed with my daughter’s mental health and wellbeing too.

“She’s asking lots of questions and obviously I just feel totally betrayed. I’m just really, really upset about it.”

Spencer said he is having to run his Louth-based property lettings business from thousands of miles away in Warsaw, Poland.

“I can’t take my children and my wife home and have a normal family life.

“I’m here in a country where it’s not my native tongue. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful to the Polish government and the Polish people for their kindness and help, they’ve been very hospitable – but it’s the total opposite to what the British government have been like,” he said.

A Home Office spokeswoman saif: “The EU Settlement Scheme has been an overwhelming success, with almost 6.3 million applications received and more than 5.5 million grants of status made by 30 November this year.

“If an individual’s application is refused under the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, they can make another application free of charge and they can also appeal up to 28 days from the date they received the decision, from inside or outside the UK.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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