Wigan man's heartache at visa restrictions
A Wigan man has voiced his heartache for long-distance couple after he paid thousands of pounds to be reunited with his Filipino husband.
Ryan Gore, 24, met husband Jan Castillo, 25, in 2016 during a holiday to Thailand and the Philippines.
The pair were introduced by mutual friends and experienced an instant “connection”, which soon developed into a serious relationship.
But despite the romance quickly blossoming, Ryan and Jan were unable to stay together due to the visa restrictions between the two countries - which left Ryan back in Wigan working six days a week to try and save the money to see his partner.
Over the past two years, Ryan has spent thousands of pounds flying to and from the Philippines to see Jan - who he finally married in an intimate service in August this year surrounded by Jan’s family.
After an agonising wait and spending more than Â£2,900 on a settlement visa alone, the couple was reunited at Manchester Airport this weekend.
“It’s been a very long and hard journey,” said Ryan. “He can only stay for two and a half years.
“ I have absolutely no social life and have lost a lot of friends because I can’t see anyone anymore.
“I can’t explain how hard it has been just to be with him and I know a lot of other people are in the same situation as me.
"On special occasions like birthdays and valentines we have had to have had to celebrate on FaceTime and open a bottle of wine and watch a movie at the same time.
"Then there is staying in touch beyond the point of exhaustion because of the eight-hour time difference.
" I am very grateful towards the Home Office as there are families who are still waiting to be here who can’t.
“Families are split up because they can’t afford the fees and they have to live on opposite sides of the world. Kids are growing up without one of their parents.
“The process is just so overwhelming and the only support there seems to be is online communities who support each other.”
Ryan and Jan were wed at the British embassy as the country, like many in Southeast Asia, has not legalised gay marriage.