Family's joy as visa granted
A retired police officer is celebrating winning an eight-year battle to bring his step daughter from Ukraine to meet her new family.
Gary Peet has convinced an immigration tribunal to allow 27-year-old Nataliya Zhukovska to visit.
Mr Peet, 60, of Lubenham, near Market Harborough, said: "My wife, Lyubov, and I am over the moon and so is the rest of the family.
"We got the letter from the tribunal on Friday and have been smiling ever since.
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"At last, we have been believed. Nataliya is so excited and we want to thank everyone who helped her cause."
Mr Peet married Miss Zhukovska's mother in November, 2003.
The couple met in Portugal, where he was living as a recently-widowed expat and she was working to support her two daughters, who were both in Ukraine.
After moving to Lubenham, Mr Peet had wanted to introduce Miss Zhukovska to his relatives.
Eight years ago, an attempt to secure a resident's visa in Britain for Nataliya failed.
Four years ago, Nataliya applied for a visitor's visa, only for it to be turned down.
Last summer, the British visa office in the Ukrainian capital Kiev again turned her down for a visitor's visa.
They believed Nataliya would not return to her own country if she was allowed into Britain.
Mr Peet submitted evidence to the Home Office stating that Nataliya was in a stable relationship and had an offer of work.
To publicise the campaign, he covered the front of his home with a protest banner.
As her sponsor, Mr Peet, a former intelligence officer with Leicestershire Police, attended the appeal hearing in Nottingham on January 17, which was a success.
Lyubov said: "I am so pleased, I cannot believe it. I cannot wait to take Nataliya to see the sights in London and take her shopping."
Mr Peet's mum, 85-year-old Betty Peet, is looking forward to meeting Nataliya.
Allowing the appeal, Immigration Judge Madhu Gurung-Thapa said: "I have no reason to doubt the sponsor's evidence. I am satisfied the appellant does have incentives to return to Ukraine on account of her family and social and economic ties.
"I am satisfied the appellant was genuinely seeking a visa as a visitor for the stated period and that she has the intention to leave the UK when the visa expires."
She also awarded the £140 appeal fee, to be paid by the Home Office.
She said: "I have decided to make a whole fee award of £140 because the respondent's decision was not in accordance with the law."
Mr Peet said: "The Home Office has five days to lodge an appeal. I don't think it will after the ruling.
"The family and friends just can't wait to meet Nataliya for the first time. I want to show her the Leicestershire countryside and other sites in Britain during her stay, which will last a few months."
A UK Border Agency spokesperson said: "All visa applications are considered in line with immigration rules and based on the evidence available at the time a decision is made.
"Further evidence was supplied by Ms Zhukovksa's sponsor at the appeal hearing which was accepted by the immigration judge."