UK Home Office mounts ‘urgent review’ of New Plymouth woman’s visa application

Andy Jackson/Fairfax NZ

Abbey Looker with father, Grant Looker

The plight of a New Plymouth woman denied entry into the United Kingdom has taken a small step forward.

Abbey Looker, 29, was stopped by immigration at Gatwick Airport and deported last month when she tried to re-enter the UK after a short two day holiday in Spain.  

She is currently in Berlin awaiting a change in her status so she can re-enter the UK. 

A Home Office spokesperson said on Monday the department was aware of Looker’s deportation.

“We are urgently reviewing this case and will be contacting Ms Looker in due course,” the spokesman said.

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A week before she was deported Looker had entered the UK on a six month holiday visa.

She had initially planned to enter on a two year work visa but claimed she opted for the tourist visa after the work one  did not arrive before she left New Zealand.

After just a few days in the UK she left for a weekend in Spain and upon return immigration officers at Gatwick airport alleged she intended to overstay her holiday visa.

Looker was detained at Gatwick and sent back to Spain from where she flew to Berlin to stay with friends.

She had since been informed her work visa application had been denied because she had not disclosed she was detained at Gatwick.

She now faces a 10 year ban from entering the UK.

Looker has employed an immigration lawyer to find a solution to the administrative error and allow her to enter the UK legally. She estimates the mix-up has already cost her $10,000.

Many travellers to UK have had their plans disrupted due to processing delays at the UK Visa and Immigration office.

Processing visa applications to enter the UK had recently been shifted from Manila to Sheffield resulting in delays in having applications completed on time.

The Home Office said Looker’s case was unconnected to the changes in the model for processing settlement, work and study visa applications made in New Zealand.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Monday, during a visit to Kaikoura, that he supported further opportunities for travellers to visit the UK.

“There are lots of young New Zealanders who want to come to the UK for their OE and that’s a great thing – we’re trying to make sure that happens as smoothly as possible,” he said.


 – Stuff

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