An Australian family – which runs a Warwick business – face being kicked out of the country before Christmas because they missed the deadline to extend their visas after the father had an accident.
Andrew Puchy, his wife Audra, and their 12-year-old son William, are pleading with the Government to change its decision and launched a public campaign in their battle to stay in the country and keep their Warwick business open.
Mr Puchy, whose Gallows Hill-based business Pro-Dec sells plastic mouldings, flew to Australia last year for a short business trip.
While there, the 55-year-old slipped on the pavement and shattered his knee cap, leaving him needing extensive surgery and unable to fly.
“I knew I needed to get back to the UK to sort out the paperwork for our application,” Andrew said.
“We’ve lived here since 2008 and we decided to apply for permanent residency, but my doctor told me I could die if I flew all the way back and it wasn’t worth risking my life,” he said.
The Home Office rejected the Puchy family’s application because it was late.
They appealed, citing exceptional circumstances, but were rejected again. Mr Puchy’s legal team has lodged an appeal with the High Court which he hopes will allow them to stay in the country for the immediate future until the matter is resolved.
His company employs several people and at the moment it imports stock from Australia but Mr Puchy was hoping to start manufacturing in the UK and to use this country as a base to expand into the European market.
He said: “Hopefully, we can inject life into some local businesses that might need it and create a few jobs. We have the potential to build a good business in the UK to manufacture goods and this was always our intention from day one when we came to England.”
However, Mr Puchy said it was highly likely his UK operation would have to close if he was forced to leave the country.
He said: “If we have to leave we will lose all the time and money we have invested in our business here, and our employees would lose their jobs too,” Andrew said.
“My son has a music scholarship and he is doing very well at school. He’s a talented young man and the school is really bringing the best out in him.
“We would hate to uproot him and disrupt his education, and it’s very unlikely that he could apply for a scholarship for an Australian school in time,” he added.
A petition has been launched to keep the family in the country and they hope to get the backing of politicians to lobby the Home Office on their behalf.
“It’s amazing that we’re being supported by people we have never met,” Mr Puchy said.
“It’s fantastic that this many people feel we have a good case to stay here.”
His local MP Mark Pawsey has written to the Home Office, asking officials to look into the family’s case again and he has the support of his local county councillor Phillip Morris-Jones, as well as many others in the community.
Hundreds of people have signed the petition supporting the Harborough Magna family, which can be found on the family’s website, puchypetition.campbellmarsh.co.uk.