“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 about 15 years ago after meeting her husband. They now have two lovely kids. The family lives near Edinburgh where 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.
Oksana's mum, at 64 years old, lived alone in Russia. Oksana is the only child. This is a family very close 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 had been over six years since she was last here, as the travelling and visa process have become too difficult what with a nine hour flight to Moscow (Russia is huge!) for the visa application. This made the visit visa refusal the family had in 2013 particularly painful, on grounds of insufficient documentation on finances.
|Oksana, with her mum and kids on holiday in Turkey after her UK family visit visa was refused.|
The family was bemused and dismayed. A simple family visit visa was refused after an extremely onerous process, yet six years ago it was issued in one day! It’s heart wrenching when a government official has the power to decide that close family are not even allowed to visit you.
So the family decided they would prefer to apply for a settlement visa to avoid any future visa hassles, alleviating 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. Yet the settlement visa was also not suited given the incredibly restrictive immigration rules for adult dependant relatives.
Oksana could not abandon her mum - so her family relocated to Malta. They lived there, worked there, enjoyed being together without any interference from the Home Office. Several months down the line, circumstances changed but luckily the family were able to continue to use their free movement rights to move back to the UK, this time with Oksana's mum in tow. The family is extremely happy that despite Home Office attempts to break up the family, love prevailed.