All shook up over visa legal battle
MARK Goddard may have to wait until the new year to be re-united with his wife. Speaking on his return to Royston this week, 41-year-old Mark said: All we want is to be together, but this whole matter seems to be going on for ever. Mark and his bride of
MARK Goddard may have to wait until the new year to be re-united with his wife.
Speaking on his return to Royston this week, 41-year-old Mark said: "All we want is to be together, but this whole matter seems to be going on for ever."
Mark and his bride of eight months were married in Jamaica - but the authorities there will not renew her visa to return to the United Kingdom.
Her original application was rejected by the British High Commissioner and now Mark has been told that the issue will not be re-considered until November 21.
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And even then that will be the deadline to arrange an appeal hearing, which could take at least a further two months to set up.
Mark said the whole situation had become "absolutely ridiculous".
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His mother Barbara, of Leete Place, Royston, has organised a petition in the hope of raising awareness of the case - and Mark, himself, says he plans to take his protest to No 10 Downing Street.
Mark, who went to Roysia School and The Meridian School, was voted Great Britain's Best Elvis in a national competition and now works as an Elvis Presley tribute act.
He is, too, as a warm-up man on the Trisha Show and acts as a tour guide for Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge.
"If it means walking down Downing Street in my Presley stage jump-suit, then I'll do it.
"At least it will make people more aware of our plight," he said.
His wife, Stephanie, has been a student in the United Kingdom and was working here when they returned to Jamaica to be married.
The red tape battle has seen Mark have to prove that he is earning a living and that he owns property in this country to show he can support his wife.
His mother, Barbara, said: "The whole situation is absolutely ridiculous, but there is no-one who seems able to help.
"She's been here five years and is even on the electoral role, but we can't get anyone to shift," she said.
Barbara added: "All we want is for her to come home."
In an interview Stephanie gave to the The Gleaner newspaper in Jamaica, she said: "It's devastating. The fact there is no-one to speak to just makes it worse than you can imagine."
The British High Commissioner Jeremy Cresswell said he had sympathy with the visa application, but he could not break with policy.
He said, too, that he could not discuss individual cases.
But he added that the application would be looked at fairly on its merit.
"It's really infuriating," said Mark.
"Everything is in place and we've done everything from our side."
He said one reason for the delay and the length of the case is due to the bureaucracy.
"All the paperwork has to be done by what is said to be Diplomatic Bag.
"That just seems to take for ever."
Originally he thought the granting of a visa may take "a couple of weeks".
"When we get around to the appeal hearing it might be a year since we were married and we haven't been together.
"It's our life and we want to have a married life," he said.
YOU CAN HELP
MARK Goddard has set up a website to raise awareness of the issue and to get support in his campaign.
The website will be online tomorrow (Friday) at www.Iwantmywifeback.co.uk