A New Zealand man seeking to join his partner in the United Kingdom has never met their 5-month-old son following visa and passport issues.
Luke, 29, has been separated from his British partner Simone Brookes and their three children for nearly a year owing to a series of delays and alleged errors by UK immigration officials.
The British Home Office is now investigating the delay in the passport reaching him in New Zealand.
The couple had lived together in Paeroa for 10 years, where they had their two daughters Bella, 7, and Raia, 4.
They planned to move to Britain before their third child, Raiden, was born in May.
"It is incredibly frustrating, depressing," Luke told the Herald.
"We have just been waiting and waiting, I miss my girls, and I still haven't met my boy."
The couple came to the United Kingdom initially on December 17 last year, but Luke was deported nine days later on Boxing Day as his visa was not in place.
They filed the appropriate forms, while Brookes stayed in Britain with their children as she was pregnant at the time, and they thought it would only take a few months for the visa to be sorted.
Over the next few months they had a series of paperwork issues, and eventually applied for a holiday visa out of desperation for Luke to be at Raiden's birth, who had heart complications.
Brookes said this was denied as officials thought her partner would not return to New Zealand.
After consulting a lawyer, Luke applied again for a visa on April 20, paying more than $1000 to have it fast-tracked due to their son's heart condition.
The couple allege the Home Office then made a series of errors and delays including losing Luke's passport and even claiming to have never received the application.
Their immigration lawyer, Danielle Blake at Immigration Advice Service, told the Herald it was one of the worst cases she had worked on.
After the couple applied for the visa in April, the only communication they received about whether or not the visa had been approved was an email in June to say a decision to refuse the visa had been overturned.
"At that point we had no idea it had initially been refused, and then were left with no timeline, leaving us waiting in limbo."
It then took over two months for the Home Office to issue the visa on August 25, and another month before his passport with a UK entry stamp was sent to Luke on September 24.
But this meant when Luke received his passport several days later, the entry stamp - which is valid for a month - had expired.
"It's extremely frustrating," Blake said.
"Everything seems to have gone wrong for them that could have. They paid extra for the priority service but it took months, and I have come up against many difficulties in the application process.
"Every time I contact the office it is a new person and it takes a month to get a response. It goes round and round, waiting a month and then receiving the same response."
Blake said the nature of the case made it even worse.
"We had already outline the reasons it should be compassionate, the sponsor was heavily pregnant at the time of application, and they had lived together 10 years. This was the first time they were separated.
"There has been a real lack of compassion. The [Home Office] needs to change its approach to applications, as this is not the first time it has happened, and remember these are human beings they are dealing with."
Blake said the Home Office needed to "act quickly" and issue a new visa as soon as possible.
"Now we have gone public they are saying they will contact Luke directly to sort it out, but they could have done that from the start."
Brookes said the process had driven both she and Luke into states of depression.
"We've both faced depression as a result of it and just need our family back together.
"We miss him massively and our son still hasn't met his dad in real life.
"I have tried to be tough for the family but it has been the hardest thing I've ever done.
"My kids have been given so many broken promises thinking Luke is coming back, and have been let down so many times when he's still not here."
In a statement provided to the Herald a Home Office spokesman confirmed they received the visa application on April 20 and a visa was issued on August 25.
Officials were investigating the delay in the passport reaching the applicant and would contact him about the next steps.