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Paralympian’s nephew denied visa

03 August 2012

Disappointed: Daniel Munro (front) with his mother, Anne. A UKBA decision means that he will not be able to see his uncle, John Munro (right), compete in the Paralympic Games

Disappointed: Daniel Munro (front) with his mother, Anne. A UKBA decision means that he will not be able to see his uncle, John Munro (right), compe...

BORDER officials are refusing to allow a nine-year-old schoolboy into the country to see his uncle compete for Britain in the Paralympic Games.

Daniel Munro was hoping to visit the UK from his home in Vietnam with his mother, Anne, to watch her brother, John Munro, in the UK's sitting volleyball team.

His mother had paid £1800 for two return airfares, his uncle had provided tickets for the contest at the ExCel centre in east London, and Daniel and his mother had planned to stay for a month with Mr Munro in London, and with friends, including the Revd John Taylor, a retired priest, in Wiltshire.

But, with only weeks to go, Daniel, who was born in Vietnam, and whom Ms Munro adopted in 2008, was told that he would not be granted a visa because officials believed that he could not support himself financially and would need state help. His mother, who holds an Australian passport, was allowed entry into the UK.

They also said that they were "not satisfied" that Daniel and his mother would "be maintained and accommodated adequately by relatives or friends, or that you can meet the cost of the return journey".

Ms Munro, a committed Christian, who teaches English and works with a French adoption agency in Vietnam, lodged an appeal in June. Last month, however, she received a reply telling her that it would be 1 October before she even heard how the appeal was to proceed.

"It's a total nonsense," Mr Taylor said, who met Ms Munro in 1999 while working with orphans in Zambia. "I don't know what these officials are thinking. She is quite annoyed about it, because it doesn't make any sense, and it is costing her a lot of money.

"They refused on the grounds that Daniel could be dependent on the benefits system, despite John sending all his bank statements and letters from me to prove that we would support him.

"She appealed and received a letter saying the appeal would take between six and 12 months - she's supposed to be coming on 12 August. She can't phone them to explain; they won't take calls.

"It is stupid, she's been here before - and gone home afterwards. Daniel was allowed in to Australia last year with no problems and they have quite stringent immigration policies."

The Taylors had planned a surprise for Ms Munro - a re- union with the former Archdeacon of Lusaka, the Ven. Jones Mutemwakwenda. She lived with his family in Zambia, and their youngest child was christened Annie after her.

Ms Munro, 42, and her brother John, 40, are the children of an Australian serviceman and a Vietnamese, who worked in the Australian Embassy in the South Vietnamese capital, Saigon - now renamed Ho Chi Minh City. When South Vietnam fell in 1975, they were put on the last Australian plane out of the city, but their mother was left behind. They were adopted by their father and brought up in Australia. John Munro later moved to London and recently became a British citizen. He lost a leg in a motoring accident in 1999.

Ms Munro made the visa applications through the British Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, which forwarded them to the regional hub of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in Bangkok, in neighbouring Thailand. She said that she was assured by the Consulate that she had produced sufficient evidence.

"I am not angry about the refusal of the visa for my son - if extra evidence is required," she said. "However, I am angry with the system. Visa applications should not be processed until all the documents have been checked and the applicant should be told of all necessary requirements.

"Daniel speaks to John on the phone regularly and saw him in Vietnam in August 2008, and in November 2010 when he stayed with us. My brother and I are very close, and I would be very disappointed if my son and I were not present to see him play in the Paralympics."

In a break from training for his first match on 30 August, Mr Munro said: "I just don't know what to do. I want them to come over. Obviously they will be going back. I am very disappointed that they have been stopped for some very bureaucratic reason."

A UKBA spokesperson said: "This visa was refused because insufficient evidence was provided to support the application. The individual's family not only has the right to appeal, but can also submit a fresh application, which we will aim to consider within three weeks."


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