11th hour postponement for Australian pub landlord to be evicted

0

An Australian grandfather who saved a 200-year-old British pub from closing but subsequently had to be expelled from the UK due to pay cuts has been given one last lifeline to stay.

Russell Young, 62, and his wife Tracie, 56, bought the Sun Inn in Failsworth, Greater Manchester in 2018 for £250,000 with his savings and paid themselves a wage of just £100 a week to ensure the business survived.

Russell, who moved to the UK in 2016 and sold his Melbourne home to help fund the purchase, increased the pub’s turnover from £99,000 to £218,000 before lockdowns ravaged the hospitality industry.

But his future in the UK was called into question when the Home Office rejected his application for a five-year visa because he failed to meet the government’s financial criteria to earn £18,600 a year.

Today – on the deadline for his removal – a legal team worked with him, thanks to Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord, applied for a new spouse visa.

If approved, he could stay in Britain for two and a half years and can currently stay with his wife, Tracie, and family until the Home Office makes a decision.

Tracie told MailOnline: “The legal team said the best way was to submit a new application. So we had to retell our life story and resubmit what we submitted years ago.

“We have been advised to apply for a spouse visa rather than appeal, but there is only a 50/50 chance it will be successful. Russell can stay here until the decision.’

Russell Young, 62, and his wife Tracie, 56, bought the Sun Inn in Failsworth, Greater Manchester in 2018 for £250,000 and paid wages of just £100 a week to ensure the business survived.

But the Home Office has rejected the Australian grandfather's application for a five-year visa because he failed to meet the government's financial criteria to earn £18,600 a year to stay in the UK.

But the Home Office has rejected the Australian grandfather’s application for a five-year visa because he failed to meet the government’s financial criteria to earn £18,600 a year to stay in the UK.

Last month, the judges of the tribunal rejected the cafe owner’s appeal, leaving him with just 14 days to try to reverse the verdict or leave the country.

It meant that Russell had to leave Tracie and his family in the UK and become homeless in Australia.

After being flagged by MailOnline, 20,000 local residents and pub regulars signed an online petition calling on the government to understand the issue.

Russell moved to Manchester in March 2016 on a six-month visa after meeting Tracie online 12 years earlier.

They married in August 2016 and gave Russell a two-year stay, before deciding in June 2018 to buy the Sun Inn in Failsworth for £250,000.

Russell used money from the sale of his home in Melbourne, Australia, to fund the purchase, and the pair increased the pub’s turnover from £99,000 to £218,000 in their first year before Covid-19 ravaged the industry.

He then applied for a five-year visa application, but it was rejected because he did not meet the government’s financial criteria to earn £18,600 a year.

He appealed the decision, which was rejected last month, giving him just 14 days to try to reverse the decision or leave the UK.

Last month, the judges of the tribunal rejected the cafe owner's appeal, leaving him with just 14 days to try to reverse the verdict or leave the country.

Last month, the judges of the tribunal rejected the cafe owner’s appeal, leaving him with just 14 days to try to reverse the verdict or leave the country.

The move means Russell now faces the fact that he will have to leave Tracie and his family in the UK and become homeless in Australia

The move means Russell now faces the fact that he will have to leave Tracie and his family in the UK and become homeless in Australia

He moved to Manchester in March 2016 on a six-month visa before the couple married in August and was given a two-year stay.

He moved to Manchester in March 2016 on a six-month visa before the couple married in August and was given a two-year stay.

UK Rules for Applying for, Renewing or Changing Family Visas

Foreigners applying for or renewing a family visa must prove that they and their partner have a joint income of at least £18,600 per year.

The government’s website on the rules states that “income” classes are like:

  • Income from employment before taxes and national insurance contributions;
  • Income earned as a self-employed person or as a director of a limited company in the UK;
  • Cash savings above £16,000′
  • Money from a pension;
  • Non-work income, for example from real estate rental or dividends.

Those who use income from self-employment or employment must demonstrate that they or their partner have received that income for six months or longer.

Foreigners must: show that they and their partner meet the minimum income requirement if they want to establish themselves as partners in five years’ time.

The partner must also be British or Irish, have settled in the UK, be from the EU and have settled beforehand, or have refugee status in the UK.

Foreign nationals must also prove that they have a registered partnership or marriage that is recognized in the UK and have been living together for at least two years at the time of application.

Russell has been offered a job at a property maintenance company – earning £19,000 a year – if his new visa application is accepted.

Tracie, who first worked as a barmaid in the pub in 1986, said: ‘It’s really frustrating and all of this has a huge impact on our mental health. I’m ready to crack.

‘You get a little hope and within an hour it’s broken and you’re at a low point again.

‘We had three options; reapply, appeal the original decision, or Russell will go back to Australia and reapply there, which we can’t do because I can’t go with him.”

She added: “I’m definitely stuck because I have my mom to take care of and run the business that Russell put all his money into. I can’t just close the door and walk away.

“I can’t get my mom out of the pub because she’s sick, let alone on the plane.

“He could be back in Australia for 12 months and I need him here.

“I need help to run the business and also take care of my mother.

“We just want to be able to plan and get on with our lives together.”

The couple paid around £7,000 to expedite the application.

Tracie said, “All we can do now is wait.

If we pass, we can make sure we meet all the criteria for the five-year-old.”

An online petition to keep Russell in the country now has more than 19,000 signatures.

MP Angela Rayner supports the couple.

She told the Oldham Times“Russell is understandably very concerned about what the future holds for him.

Russell and his wife Tracie bought the Sun Inn pub before lockdown restrictions were imposed and were hit hard by the pandemic, as were many others in the hospitality industry.

Public regulars have now set up a petition and a GoFundMe page to help with legal costs

Public regulars have now set up a petition and a GoFundMe page to help with legal costs

“Despite the many difficulties of running a pub during the pandemic, Russell and Tracie invested their own money in refurbishing the pub during their forced closure.

“They should be commended for their dedication to running a successful local business, but instead they are faced with the forced breakup of their families.

“Had it not been for Covid and not having had to close the pub, Russell would probably have met the income requirements to remain in the UK. To assess his application based on his finances in 2020 is totally inappropriate and unfair.

“The Home Office should show some flexibility and take into account all that Russell has given to this country by running a successful business and investing so much of its own time and money in it.

‘The Sun Inn is a popular local pub and Russell has become an important member of the Failsworth community since moving to the UK in 2016.

“He is taking care of his elderly mother-in-law.

His own mother died earlier this year, but he did not return to Australia as it would have affected his visa requirements.

“He is deeply committed to cultivating a successful life for himself and his family in the UK.”

A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry told MailOnline: “All applications will be carefully assessed at that time on their individual merits, based on the evidence provided and in accordance with immigration rules.

‘It is up to applicants to demonstrate that they meet the requirements of the track for which they are applying.

“While we have taken a compassionate and pragmatic approach during the pandemic, it is right that there are minimum income thresholds for family migration to avoid taxing the taxpayer.”

.