A woman from Ukraine has finally been able to visit her family here in the UK after a nine-year battle over immigration laws.
Retired police officer Gary Peet of Westland Close, Lubenham, has been fighting for nine years to bring his step-daughter Nataliya to visit him and his wife Lyubov in the UK.
She arrived three weeks ago and Mr Peet said that she has been enjoying Harborough tremendously, going shopping with her mum Lyubov and visiting sites in the area. Mr Peet said that she particularly loves villages and gardens and said that Harborough is very much what she imagined England would be like.
The Home Office had refused to grant Nataliya entry to the country as it said the 28-year-old law graduate would not return to the Ukraine at the end of her stay.
But now, after numerous applications and appeals, Nataliya has been able to visit the UK and will remain here until Christmas this year.
Mr Peet took the Home Office to an immigration tribunal back in January and won.
He said: “It has been worth the fight but I am so sorry for other people because the haw has now changed and you are not allowed to appeal.”
The family first began their quest to bring Nataliya to the UK about nine years ago but their initial application for a permanent settlement visa was turned down.
They appealed the decision in court and won, but the Home Office raised a point of law and the application was once again turned down.
The family’s story appeared in the Mail in 2006 when an application for a six-month visit was again refused.
Mr Peet put a banner outside his home in July last year to protest against the immigration rulings.
Mr Peet and his wife went over to the Ukraine to visit her two years ago.
While she is here they will visit destinations all over the country and will also be going to Portugal in August where Mr Peet met Nataliya’s mum, who he married in 2003.
He said: “My wife is so ecstatic. She is really enjoying time with her daughter. I’ve just picked them up from Harborough where they have been going around the shops.
“She loves the Old Grammar School, the villages and the gardens and the flowers.
“It is really interesting seeing things through her eyes.
“It makes you appreciate what you’ve got.”