A couple have managed to negotiate their way around UK visa access and are finally celebrating being together in Britain after a five-year battle.
Pat Barker, a retired racehorse trainer from Hunter, met her Brazilian born partner, Giovani dos Santos, at the Dubai Racing Carnival in 2006. The pair saw past the 30-year age difference and a relationship grew between them that culminated in Mr dos Santos deciding to move to North Yorkshire from where he was working in Ireland.
A Brazilian national, Mr dos Santos applied for a UK work permit in 2007 citing his skilled work as a racehorse rider. However, the British authorities rejected his application.
It was eventually uncovered that the rejection was due to a misunderstanding regarding when he had originally travelled to Ireland. But not until the pair had spent around £10,000 challenging the rejection.
Reports from the Northern Echo revealed that the UK work permit application was only accepted after they couple complained to the home secretary through their MP, William Hague. The complaint finally allowed Mr dos Santos to re-enter the country.
But more bad news came last December when the renewed application for leave to remain in the UK as an unmarried partner was refused and Mr dos Santos told to leave the country immediately.
The pair finally secure the UK visa after Mr dos Santos retook an English exam and the couple gathered extra outside support and exposure to their case. The visa allows Mr dos Santos to remain in the country for another two and a half years.
Mrs Barker told the paper about the ordeal: “We both cried, it felt like we had been living in a pressure cooker and it was now off. Although they are always changing the rules and we are still worried that we have not heard the last of it all.”