Deported South African woman forced to leave 'much loved home' on Arran vows to return

John and Lizanne Malpas, who wed in 2006, have run the popular Sandwich Station at Lochranza on the Isle of Arran since 2017.Picture: SWNS
John and Lizanne Malpas, who wed in 2006, have run the popular Sandwich Station at Lochranza on the Isle of Arran since 2017.Picture: SWNS
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A South African woman forced to leave her "much loved home" in Scotland has vowed to return so she can be reunited with her husband.

Businesswoman Lizanne Zietsman, 37, has arrived back in South Africa after the Home Office ordered her to leave Britain.

Lizanne has lived on the Isle of Arran since April 2015, running a sandwich shop with her husband John Malpas, 38.

Despite backing from the community and a petition signed by more than 17,000, people the Home Office did not back down on its decision to refuse her leave to remain.

The couple, who wed in 2006 and had planned their future at home in Arran, now begin an indefinite separation - the first time they have been apart in 13 years.

Lizanne 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.

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"The journey to the airport itself was a bit of a tough one - I felt sick to my stomach.

"It was that feeling of emptiness and the reality I think finally kicked in, as everything else had been keeping us so busy.

"My friends grabbed hold of a nice big Scottish flag for me, and draped me it, which was quite something.

"I marched through the departure lounge with my Scottish flag on.

"But there were a lot of tears and it was really hard saying goodbye to John.

"Since we met almost 13 years ago we have lived and worked together.

"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."

The couple has run the Sandwich Station in Lochranza since 2017.

But on June 19, they received a letter from the Home Office stating that Lizanne's visa renewal had been refused.

One of the reasons the Home Office had declined the businesswoman's visa request was because they needed to prove sufficient earnings to support them both.

Lizanne was told to cease working immediately or else the couple's business would be fined £20,000.

She said: "I am now staying in Polokwane with my mum, which is around four 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.

"As strange as it may sound, you have a constant longing for being back in the midge-infested west coast of Scotland on a nice sunny day.

"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.

"I talk about when I will return to Scotland, as I shudder to think of anything else "When I do get back, I am going to drape that flag around my shoulders again and jump for joy. There is going to be a huge celebration.

"I have travelled for most of my life and Scotland is the only place I ever found I can call home.

"It is not an easy thing to find - when you do you don't want to let it go."

In a heartbreaking letter written for her supporters, Lizanne said: "It is not only with a heavy heart but a mind full of thoughts and overwhelming emotion that I write this letter.

"I leave behind my husband, soulmate, life partner, friends, loving community and business to submit a new out of country spouse visa application in the hopes to regain my immigration status and return as soon as possible."

The Home Office said all applications "are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence provided and in accordance with immigration rules".