United Kingdom

Australian man who saved Manchester pub allowed to stay in UK months after facing deportation

A landlord who ploughed his life savings into a community pub to keep the doors open has been told he can stay in the UK just months after facing deportation because he did not make enough money to be given  visa.

Russ Young, 62, moved from Australia to Failsworth in 2016 to be with his 56-year-old partner Tracie.

The couple married a few months later and Russ had recently applied for a five-year visa after his two-year marriage visa expired in 2019.

But instead of continuing to enjoy married life, Russ and Tracie's future together was thrown into doubt when the application was denied.

The authorities said Russ did not make more than £18,600 in a direct salary - largely because he had invested much of the profits back into the pub whilst business grew.

He was given two weeks to leave the country after an appeal against the decision to send him back to Australia was refused at the end of May. 

The couple feared their lives would be torn apart, putting the The Sun Inn in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, at risk of closure.

Regulars were left outraged by the news - with one even vowing to go with Russ if he was made to leave.

But after entering a new application, Russ has been given a five-year visa to remain in the UK.

Landlord Russ Young, 62, (pictured) moved from Australia to Failsworth in 2016 to be with his 56-year-old partner Tracie

Tracie said: 'I never want to go through anything like these last few months ever again.

'It's been the worst time ever, the pressure has been unbelievable. I can't tell you what a relief it is to hear that news.

'My phone's not stopped, it's been going mental. Everybody's posting things on Facebook, all the customers have been ringing asking if it's true, I can't even put into words how much it means.

'The community have been amazing, even people we don't know that have been in similar situations have been in touch - I don't know them from Adam but everybody sort of really jumped behind it, it's been really overwhelming.

'Honestly it's been incredible, it's been an emotional journey. We didn't realise how loved we were.' 

The authorities said Russ did not make more than £18,600 in a direct salary - largely because he had invested much of the profits back into the pub whilst business grew.

The uncertainty turned to heartbreak in May this year, when an appeal against this refusal was also rejected, giving Russ just 14 days to leave the country - and his adoring wife - behind.

The pair feared their hard work saving the pub from closure in 2018 - when they scrimped and saved to afford the £250,000 purchase price to stop it being turned into flats - would be undone.

The couple feared their lives would be torn apart, putting the The Sun Inn (pictured) in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, at risk of closure

Alongside running the pub, they have also been caring for Tracie's 81-year-old bed-bound mother during the pandemic, meaning it would have been impossible for Tracie to run the pub without Russ. 

The pair were waiting in line at the local post office when Tracie received a call from Sacha Lord, the Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, to tell Russ's new visa had been approved.

Tracie said: 'We were in the queue at the post office waiting for change for the pub and my phone went off and it was Sacha.

'He started congratulating us and when I asked what he meant he said the application had been approved and read the email out.

'Sacha's been so good, he's been in constant contact with us at least once a week.

'If it wasn't for him we would have never gotten in with the legal team at JMW. Words can't express how thankful I am to him.

'Angela Rayner [Labour MP for for Ashton-under-Lyne] and Mark and Kath [Wilkinson] from Failsworth Independent Party have been amazing and so helpful too.'

The pair are hoping to host a celebration of Russ's new visa at the pub for their regulars and those who helped them with their fight, but have not yet made any arrangements. 

Mr Lord has been backing the pair's fight, recruiting a legal team to help the couple secure Russ's future. 

Tweeting about the victory, Mr Lord said: 'Great ending to the week. 

'I've just taken a call from the lawyers. We've saved Russell from being deported, and rightly so!

'Massive congrats to Russell, Tracie and everyone at The Sun Inn.'

Mr Lord declined to comment on the matter any further.

More than 20,000 people signed the couple's petition urging the Home Office urgently reconsiders the decision to remove Russell from the UK. 

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: 'All applications are carefully considered at the time on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence provided and in accordance with the immigration rules. 

'It is up to applicants to demonstrate they meet the requirements of the route they apply under.

'While we have taken a compassionate and pragmatic approach to cases during the pandemic, it is right that there are minimum income thresholds for family migration to prevent burdens being placed on the taxpayer.

'Mr Young's current application has now been granted.'

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