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Dead man threatened with deportation

David Bulmer-Rizzi in Sydney prior to his death just weeks later.

A BRITISH man has been sent a letter by the Immigration department telling him he’s overstayed his Australian visa, despite the fact he died months ago.

The letter even suggested he could be deported.

However, far from being in Australia illegally, the man’s ashes are now in an urn in northern England.

Speaking to news.com.au, the man’s partner said the letter had been a body blow.

“It’s plunged me right back to the day he died.”

On Wednesday, a letter was sent to the email inbox of UK citizen David Bulmer-Rizzi informing him that his tourist visa had expired on the March 28 and he had to urgently attend a Department of Immigration and Border Protection [DIBP] office.

“The sooner you approach DIBP, the more options may be available to you,” the letter read.

“Staff will provide clear and personally relevant information about your visa or departure options, so you can make informed decisions sooner.”

David, from Sunderland in England’s northeast, died in January while on his honeymoon in Australia.

The couple began their Australian adventure in late December with Facebook posts detailing their travels around the country. But tragedy struck when David fell down the stairs in an Adelaide house they were staying in. He was put into an induced coma but died days later.

David (left) and Marco Bulmer-Rizzi on their Australia honeymoon in December 2015.

David (left) and Marco Bulmer-Rizzi on their Australia honeymoon in December 2015.Source:Supplied

ONGOING ERRORS

The letter is the latest in a series of bureaucratic bungles that have plagued his husband, Marco Bulmer-Rizzi, since David’s untimely death just months after they tied the knot in London.

In most other states the couple’s same-sex marriage, which is legal under UK law, would have been recognised. But this was not the case in South Australia with Mr Bulmer-Rizzi prevented from making key decisions around his spouse’s death and David’s death certificate issued saying “never married”.

Instead, the authorities consulted other family members thousands of kilometres away, a situation Mr Bulmer-Rizzi described at the time as “horrific” and humiliating.

“Literally within an hour [of David’s death], I had no choice but to deny that we ever married,” he told news.com.au.

Mr Bulmer-Rizzi was treated so shoddily, South Australia Premier Jay Wetherill apologised personally to the mourning husband and said the incident was an “example of how senseless discrimination of sexual orientation can cause pain and hurt.”

But the pain wasn’t over. When Mr Bulmer-Rizzi transited through Hong Kong with David’s ashes, airport staff told him he was unable to take them to Britain because, you guessed it, he wasn’t the next of kin.

Staff eventually backed down when he escalated the matter to management.

The couple on the Greek island of Santorini after they wed in the UK.

The couple on the Greek island of Santorini after they wed in the UK.Source:Supplied

RELENTLESS
Mr Bulmer-Rizzi told news.com.au the ongoing diplomatic dramas, including Immigration’s email, was tearing him apart.

“Every time something like this comes up, my ability to just focus and celebrate David and our relationship is taken away.

“It’s just constant and relentless. I can’t seem to be able to just be left alone and try to process this and try to hang on to the happy times and memories I have,” he said.

Mr Bulmer-Rizzi said he was astounded by the email because he had been at pains to show immigration officials David’s passport and explain the situation before he left Australia.

“I really could have not done (things) any different,” he said. “I can’t believe that policy would require letters like this going out even if people are deceased.”

The widower said his late husband “loved Aussies” and had donated his organs when he died.

“From mine and David’s side, there has only been goodness towards Australia. I would love for David to be cherished for the love he gave us and the fun he brought into his life as well as the gift of life he made to three average Australians,” he said

“And I would like whomever is in charge of Immigration — is this the appropriate treatment for the person that donated his organs to Australian citizens?”

News.com.au has contacted the DIBP for comment.

benedict.brook@news.com.au

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