Golden wedding missed over Home Office lost passports

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Golden wedding missed over Home Office lost passports

Image caption Cathy Powell was told to leave the UK in September

A woman says she has missed her parents' golden wedding anniversary in Australia because the Home Office has lost her family's passports.

Australian citizen Cathy Powell lives in Seaford, East Sussex, with her husband and two children.

She sent off the family's documents when she applied for permanent residency as the wife of an EU citizen. They have been unable to travel since.

The Home Office said it was looking at her case "urgently".

Mrs Powell's husband Manuel Panzera has dual British and Italian citizenship.

The couple married in Newhaven in 1999, when Mrs Powell was in the UK on an ancestry permit.

After living in Australia and Italy the family settled in Seaford in 2012.

'Hostage to situation'

She told the BBC she applied for permanent residency at the beginning of the year.

"We looked into doing it via the British route or as the spouse as an EU citizen. I remember that the fee to go down the British route was around £1,000."

The Home Office refused her application saying her documentation was insufficient, and in September Mrs Powell was told to leave the country.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Manuel Panzera, Mrs Powell and their children settled Seaford in 2012

She resubmitted her application including her passport, together with those of her two children, aged 18 and 17, as well as their birth certificates, and her husband's Italian ID card.

She said: "I have heard nothing. It [my application] seems to have vanished without a trace.

"I missed out in October being there for my sister when she had her daughter [in Australia] and also my parents' 50th wedding anniversary."

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We are working urgently to locate the documents she submitted in May and will be further considering her application."

He apologised to Mrs Powell and said she would be allowed to remain in the country while her application was considered.

Mr Panzera said: "We're restricted in what we can do. You feel hostage to the situation."

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