Pontyclun family’s desperate plea to Home Office

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

– Local People

by Tim ChapmanGEM Reporter

A bereaved woman who lives in Pontyclun was enduring a desperate wait this week for the Home Office to allow her to attend her mother’s funeral in Uzbekistan and then return to Wales.

On Monday, in the House of Commons, the Home Secretary promised to take a closer look at the case.

Mariya Kingston (45) received the devastating news last week that her mother Nadejda had died after a battle with cancer and the funeral takes place this Saturday, December 8.

Mariya married Richard Kingston (56), a British citizen in Dubai 10 years ago and the couple have a nine-year-old daughter Anna.

The family is worried that if Mariya attends the funeral without official permission to return she could be refused entry back into the UK.

She urgently needs the Home Office to allow ‘leave to remain’ paperwork in her passport so she can catch a flight to Uzbekistan on Friday safe in the knowledge that she can come back to Wales after it.

Even prior to Nadejda’s death the couple had sought permanent UK residency for Mariya.

Richard said: “Mariya and Anna arrived in the UK on August 19, 2016. Both myself and my daughter are British citizens and my wife has Russian nationality and Uzbekistan citizenship.

“On February 10, 2017 we applied for ‘further leave to remain’, nothing was heard from the Home Office until we sought the help of our local MP, Owen Smith in January 2018.”

The Home Office denied the application on the grounds that Mr Kingston could care for Anna and that Mariya could leave the UK and apply for entry clearance in her home country.

It would have meant splitting up the family. Richard would have had to give up his job so he could look after Anna and then the income section of the residency application would have failed.

Richard said: “It cannot be right that a mother should be separated from her nine-year- old daughter for that long. They don’t seem to care about the humanity involved. To the Home Office you are just a number. What about keeping families together?”

He said the family appealed the Home Office decision and in October their solicitor was contacted by the Home Office to say it did not think it would win the appeal.

Mariya is now safe to stay in the UK – but following her mother’s death she is now desperate for the Home Office to grant her the ‘leave to remain’ paperwork to ensure she can return home after the funeral.

Richard said local MP Owen Smith had been a “fantastic support” to the family.

Mr Smith told The GEM the Home Office had dragged its feet on the case since February 2017, and on Monday in the House of Commons he issued the following plea to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid: “Would the Home Secretary personally intervene in the case of my constituent Mariya Kingston who has been in dispute with the Home Office for two years and whose mother died on Friday and would like to attend the funeral in Uzbekistan? Can he please facilitate it?”

The Home Secretary said he was sorry to hear about the bereavement, and added: “I will take a closer look at that case.”

The Kingston family hope the matter is resolved quickly because time is running out.

Richard put a petition up on Change.org entitled ‘URGENT! Home Office: Don’t force my wife to miss her mother’s funeral!’ (https://www.change.org/p/urgent-home-office-don-t-force-my-wife-to-miss-her-mother-s-funeral). By this Wednesday morning more than 70,000 people had signed it.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We endeavour to process all applications as quickly as we are able. In some cases, complex circumstances can lead to unavoidable delays.”

The spokesman added that the Home Office does not routinely comment on individual cases.

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