An Australian woman facing deportation after seven years in Edinburgh is trying to fundraise £6,000 to avoid being kicked out of the UK on Tuesday.
Christina Finn has been married to her Scottish husband Chris for well over five years and applied for a permanent residency visa five months ago.
But she was left “heartbroken” after receiving a letter of refusal earlier this week, telling her that she has until Tuesday to leave the country.
The 31-year-old, who has just started a new job at Edinburgh Food Studio in Dalkeith Road, said: “I was bawling my eyes out, especially when there was eight pages of legal speak to get through - I just felt really overwhelmed.
“I called my family and we were all just really confused because it seemed like it would be a given, having dealt with two visa applications before.”
The Home Office decision means she will not be able to attend her brother’s wedding in Australia in November, as they must keep hold of her passport while she re-applies - and it would also be difficult getting back into the UK given her current circumstances.
Christina, known to family and friends as Tina, says the letter stated the reason for refusal was that her application did not meet the financial requirements to obtain an ‘indefinite leave to remain’ visa.
An immigration lawyer from McGill & Co has since studied the documents and believes they probably refused it because Christina’s bank statements weren’t stamped on every page.
Christina says she was assured by the bank this was not needed, and that they would talk to the Home Office if there were any issues with financial proof.
“The whole situation is just horrible, and it’s so hard for people to understand because they think, ‘you’re married to a British person and have lived here for seven years,’ but it’s actually quite ruthless,” she added.
Despite the bad news, Christina says “all is not lost,” although a fresh application must be sent off by Tuesday.
Each permanent visa application costs £3,000, and she will require further legal guidance to ensure there are no problems with the documents this time round, costing her another £3,000.
The couple, who have just renovated their home in Trinity Crescent, have paid about £10,000 in visa applications down the years, meaning they are strapped for cash.
She has been advised against appealing the decision because the process can take up to two years - and because there is a good chance they will lose.
As of 6pm on Thursday, they had raised £2,745 to cover the costs.
Christina, who has worked in the hospitality industry since coming to Edinburgh, added: “We need £6,000 to do this and if we can get that, our lawyer is confident we can get the visa this time.”
She met her musician husband Chris, 32, while working in a Royal Mile pub as he played there regularly in a band.
They married in February 2013 and she was granted a spouse visa, which was successfully renewed three years ago
The Home Office was contacted for comment saying: “All visa applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules.”
Anyone who wants to donate to Christina’s cause should visit https://www.gofundme.com/crexit