A MOTHER who was blocked from returning home from Thailand is set for an emotional reunion with her family for Christmas after the A&T made a plea to the Home Office to reinvestigate the case.
As reported last week, heartbroken Patcharee Peacock – known as Pat – had been refused a spousal visa enabling her to return to the UK to be back with her husband James (35) and their three children, who live in Pennington.
The family faced the prospect of Christmas without her after the Home Office made a blunder by claiming the whole family had lived in Thailand for 11 years. Pat (35) had flown to Thailand to look after her sick father in January.
But this week, after the A&T highlighted the family’s plight and contacted the Home Office, officials made a U-turn and granted Pat a visa so she can now fly back. It is hoped she will arrive back in the UK on Sunday.
A relieved James, who runs a computer company, said: “We are so happy, we can’t believe it’s really happening. In fact, until Pat is on a plane – actually until she is back here at our home – I still won’t believe it.
“We are so thankful to the A&T; we have been battling for months to get Pat home and getting nowhere, then you step in and within days we are told she will be allowed to come home.
“The children are over the moon, they are so excited their mum will be here at Christmas. It’s the best present they could ever have.”
Pat had applied for a visa to return home in April but was refused, one of the reasons being that she, James and their three children had lived in Thailand for the last 11 years.
In fact, the couple had moved to the UK in 2008, and two of the children had never been out of England.
Evidence of the fact the children attended local schools and the family had lived in England for over 10 years had been sent with the visa application.
James had repeatedly tried to point out to the Home Office their mistake, but they refused to acknowledge it and instead told him the couple had to appeal the decision.
But just days after the A&T got involved, the Home Office phoned Pat, who had obtained a time limited European Family Permit after moving to the UK, to tell her that they had overturned their decision not to grant her a visa.
James said: “She’s just so happy. The Home Office didn’t admit they had made a mistake but they told her to take her passport to the embassy in Bangkok where she will have a visa issued.
“We are hoping she will get it in time to fly back to be with us for Christmas. She is happy about seeing the children again – they’ve missed her so much and she’s been heartbroken at not being with them.”
Pat and James met in Thailand in 2003 and married four years later. They had daughter Jeanna (11) the same year and then returned to the UK.
In England they went on to have sons seven-year-old Jensen and six-year old Junior. The children have written their mother letters telling her how much they are missing her since she has been gone.
James said: “Obviously I would have put a brave face on things over Christmas for them if Pat was still stuck in Thailand, but it wouldn’t have been the same.
“All they wanted was their mum back and now they’ve got it. If you hadn’t helped, us I don’t know what we would have done.
“Probably I would have appealed and faced another year of not having Pat here. It had just seemed like a never-ending nightmare.”
James’ mother, who initially contacted the A&T on his behalf, said: Thank you so much for your help – hopefully she will be back for Christmas now and if not, shortly after. It’s amazing news and the kids will be so pleased to see her. I can’t thank you enough!”
A spokesman for the Home Office said this week: “We have been in touch with Mrs Peacock and are progressing her visa application based on further evidence provided this week.”