U-turn after Russian teen denied visa for UK visit

29 Dec 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A Russian teenager from Chernobyl, who was at the centre of a UK visa row, has been granted permission to visit her Scottish ‘family’ after authorities finally approved her application.

Orphaned Yaroslava Naida, who lives with the grandmother in the city made famous by a nuclear reactor explosion in 1986, has been visiting the Beattie family in Cupar, Fife, over the last eight years.

The 14-year-old had been due to fly out again to Scotland but just days before she was set to leave, she was told her visa application had been rejected due to insufficient information. North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins contacted the Home Office on the Beatties’ behalf.

He told Fife Today: “The Home Office told my office on two occasions that her application had been denied and there was no way to appeal. Suddenly, after a media enquiry Yaroslava’s grandmother received a call to say a visa would be processed. We have two families here who are now left very upset and confused, all because officials have obviously made a huge mistake.

“I have already written to Theresa May MP and expect her response. I will also be raising this in Parliament once we reconvene, this cannot be allowed to happen to another child.”

Yaroslava’s initial flight had to be cancelled and it looked like she would miss the trip to Scotland, even after the immigration authorities backtracked and agreed to issue her visa.

But Scottish newspaper The Courier stepped in and contacted airline KLM, which has agreed to issue a voucher to cover the original non-refundable flights.

Yaroslava originally came to Scotland when she was six following the deaths of both her parents and had therapy with charity worker Anna Beattie.

Anna, who has three children of her own, told The Courier that although Yaroslava was not there for Christmas, the family would celebrate again when she arrived.