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The Argus wins campaign to stop dad being deported
A loving father will no longer be torn apart from his family, thanks to a campaign by The Argus.
Immigration bosses have announced a U-turn on the decision to deport father-of-three Phil Sommerville back to Australia.
After enduring nine months of “hell”, Mr Sommerville, who lives with his British wife Isabel and their three children in Bolnore Village near Haywards Heath, has finally had his application for a visa approved.
The message from the Home Office said: “I have reviewed all the information that you sent to my colleague, Mr Ian Jarvis and have now reconsidered your application against the criteria set out in Paragraph 284 of the Immigration Rules (Part 8).
“As a result of this I am now satisfied that you meet the requirements of Paragraph 284 and will therefore be recommending that leave is granted for a period of 2 years.”
An appeal by the family against the Home Office’s original ruling not to grant Phil’s visa and demand he returned to Australia was due to be heard today. The letter granting Phil’s visa arrived at the end of last week.
The Argus began its Don’t Deport Daddy campaign in July, backing the calls of Phil’s three children, Cooper, 12, Jasmin, eight, and Charlee, six, who were begging the Home Office not to deport their daddy.
The saga originally stemmed from a letter the Home Office claimed it sent in March requesting more information for Phil’s visa application, which the family say they never received.
The first the family knew was when the 46-year-old was threatened with deportation in April.
Phil said: “It’s a slightly bittersweet moment because we might have to go through the same thing again in two years.
“We have lost nearly a year of our lives because of this and it’s cost us a fortune because I haven’t been able to work.
“But for now it’s just a huge relief and the kids are overjoyed.
“I’d just like to thank The Argus on behalf of me, my kids and my wife for all the help you’ve given us.
“The awareness you have given us has been just incredible.”
Isabel added: “We have waited nine months and they have made so many mistakes.
“It should never have got to this – they have put my family through hell.”
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