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Last Updated: Friday, 10 December, 2004, 14:19 GMT
Auction for visa row Patagonian
Heddus Gwynedd and Luis Austin
Luis Austin was visiting girlfriend Heddus Gwynedd in Wales
An auction and concert are being held to raise money for an appeal to bring a Patagonian man back to the UK.

Welsh-speaking Luis Austin returned to Argentina last month following a dispute over his visa with the Immigration Service.

Mr Austin was told to leave the UK for failing to say he was staying with his girlfriend in Waunfawr, Gwynedd.

At the last minute, Mr Austin was told he could remain for a further week, but he had already decided to leave.

Rugby memorabilia and other items are being auctioned on Friday in Waunfawr, before a fund-raining concert is held in Caernarfon later this month.

Mr Austin, who speaks only Welsh and Spanish, arrived in Gatwick airport on 19 October, planning to stay in Wales until December.

We have been surprised by the amount of support we have received
Heddus Gwynedd

He was detained and questioned by the Immigration Service, before being allowed to continue his journey to north Wales, to stay with his girlfriend, Heddus Gwynedd.

According to Ms Gwynedd, the problems arose because Mr Austin told officials that he was simply staying at her parents' house and had not told officials of the extent of their relationship.

Mr Austin then received a letter telling him he had to leave the UK immediately.

His case was taken up by Caernarfon MP Hywel Williams who said it was an "unacceptable way to treat a visitor" with strong connections to Wales.

Fund-raising events

Although the authorities said shortly before Mr Austin was due to leave that he could stay for a further week, he had already decided to return to Argentina.

The fund-raising events are now being held in an effort to fund a return trip to Wales for Mr Austin.

An auction is being held on Friday at the Snowdonia Park Hotel, in Waunfawr.

Llanelli Scarlets have donated a signed rugby ball and shirt and items from actor Rhys Ifans and the cast of TV soap Pobol Y Cwm are also among the lots.

A fund-raining concert is being held at Caernarfon FC on 29 December.

Ms Gwynedd, who hopes Mr Austin can return to the UK in February, said: "People have contributed very generously to the auction.

"We have been surprised by the amount of support we have received.

"They are very sympathetic about what happened to Luis and they want to help."

The Home Office has said that the Immigration Service could not comment on individual cases for reasons of confidentiality.

But they added that previous visa problems would not necessarily prejudice a new visa application.

Along with hundreds of other people in the Patagonia region of southern Argentina, Mr Austin is descended from Welsh-speakers who emigrated to south America in the 19th century.




SEE ALSO:
Patagonian in visa row leaves
09 Nov 04 |  Wales
Patagonia search for Welsh waiter
25 Aug 04 |  South West Wales
Patagonia, land of song
26 Oct 01 |  Wales


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