"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Monday, 30 September 2013


“I am my mother’s only child, my children her only grandkids. Yet a government official tells us she cannot even come for a visit.”

Oksana is a British citizen who moved to the UK 13 years ago, after meeting her husband, with whom she now has two kids. She lives near Edinburgh, in Scotland.

Her mum is 64 years old, and living alone in Russia. Her only child is Oksana. Her only grandchildren are Oksana’s two children. This is a family very attached to each other. Oksana’s mum has visited the UK in the past, allowing for the much valued bonding between grandparent and grandkids. However, it’s been over six years since she was last here, as the travelling and visa process have become too difficult.

Oksana is a full-time mum. She doesn’t work – her husband works full time, earning enough to maintain the family and ensure they have no need to claim any benefits.

It involves a nine hour flight to Moscow, for the visa application. There is no British visa centre in Oksana’s mum’s home city and the application must be made in person, not by post. She would then need to remain in Moscow for however long it takes for the visa to be issued.

In 2013 Oksana’s mum applied for a family visit visa. However the visa was refused on the grounds of insufficient documentation of their financial situation.

The family is bemused and dismayed. A simple family visit visa has been refused after an onerous process, yet six years ago it was issued in one day. It’s heart wrenching when a government official is able to tell you that your close relatives are not even allowed to visit you.

The family has decided they would now prefer to apply for a settlement visa to avoid any future visa hassles. This also alleviates issues likely to arise in the future given Oksana will need to be there to look after her mum on a daily basis, and travelling becomes more difficult with the process of ageing.

Oksana lives in a large home where her mum would have her own bedroom. Her mum’s pension from Russia could be transferred to the UK. The family is happy to purchase private health insurance and also sign a guarantee that there will not be any need to access benefits. Her mum speaks decent English and has made lots of friends on her earlier visits, so integration is not a problem either.

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