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By Hugh Boag
Arran businesswoman is Lizanne Zietsman is back in South Africa after the Home Office ordered her to leave Britain after they would not renew her current visa.
She flew out from Glasgow Airport on Friday, the last day she could leave without facing deportation, but this week she told the Banner. ‘I will do my utmost to ensure I can return to my home Arran as soon as possible and very much look forward to the day when I disembark the ferry.’
As previously reported by the Banner the 37-year-old had lived on Arran since April 2016, running The Sandwich Station with her husband John Malpas in Lochranza.
Despite backing from the community and a petition signed by nearly 18,000 people, the Home Office did not back down on its decision to refuse her leave to remain.
Back in South Africa she said: ‘I left the island with quite a lot of people at a send-off on Thursday night, so that was really nice of everyone to have got together for that. There was a fair amount of tears.
‘At the airport I proudly draped the Scottish flag over my shoulders after a tearful farewell to John and friends and walked through departure lounge with head held high. I would like to thank the Arran Banner for your support and sincerely appreciate you taking the time to publish mine and John’s story and hope that this has and will continue shining a light on the current immigration regulations and ideally help others in similar circumstances.’
‘This is going to be the longest time of separation. When you have all that time together and suddenly have none of it, it does feel like you have a lost a part of you and you do feel empty,’ she said.
Lizanne is now staying with her mum in Louis Trichardt which is a town in northern South Africa around five hours’ drive from Johannesburg.
‘Obviously it’s nice to be able to spend quality time with the family, but it does feel quite odd when you know this is not your home,’ she said
Lizanne is now in the process of making a new ‘out of country’ visa application which, if it can be fast-tracked, could see her back in two or three months, but that costs more money.
She added: ‘The best route for me now is to be able to tick the financial requirement box and then re-enter again on a spousal visa.
‘So it will be a completely new application. Once the next financial accounts are ready for the business, I can prove I have the necessary income – which is the only box I couldn’t tick in my initial application.’
North Ayrshire and Arran MP Patricia Gibson, who has been fighting the decision said:
‘As well as being deeply disappointed that Lizanne has been forced to leave her home, I am angry and ashamed that such a highly esteemed member of the Arran community, who has chosen to make her life in my constituency, in my country, has been treated in this way.
‘I will continue to work with Lizanne and her husband to ensure that she can return to her Arran home as soon as this can possibly be arranged.’
* See letters page 8
Lizanne draped in a Scottish flag says goodbye to husband John at the airport surrounded by supporters. NO_B29lizanne01