Mother 'relieved' as threatened deportation put on hold

A mother told she could be deported if she did not leave the UK this week has said she is "relieved" her case has been put on hold.

Volha Merry, known as Olya, is originally from Belarus but now lives in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, with her husband Derek and their two-year-old daughter.

The 28-year-old had received a Home Office letter saying she could be deported if she did not leave the UK this week.

Now, following political intervention, the family has been told a review of the case will be carried out - meaning a temporary stay on the deportation threat.

Mrs Merry said she was "delighted" at the development but also wants the case to be resolved so her family can stay together permanently.

She said: "I felt relieved [on hearing of the review], it was a delight for me, my husband and daughter.

"I felt relieved for the time being though because my problem still remains.

"It am grateful to all of those who got involved and who made it happen but at the same time I would like my resident's card."

Earlier she said she had struggled to get permission to stay in the UK since marrying Derek five years ago, and he said he was "terrified" of losing his family after receiving the Home Office letter.

External affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop and local politicians contacted the Home Office calling for a review of the case.

Ms Hyslop wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd asking for her to "look into the case as a matter of urgency".

Labour MP, Hugh Gaffney, and SNP MSP Fulton MacGregor, whose constituencies cover Coatbridge, also took up the case.

A spokesman for Mr Gaffney said: "After hearing from the family that there was a threat of deportation, I immediately contacted the Minister for Immigration's office to ask for a review of Olya's case.

"My staff and I have met with the family and discussed a variety of ways to keep Olya in the country, and the family together.

"I have since spoken with the Minister for Immigration's office and had confirmation that there will now be a review carried out on Olya's case. In the meantime no deportation can go ahead."

Mr MacGregor welcomed the news and called on the Home Office to end plans to split up the family.

He said: "I'm delighted that, following the intervention of the Scottish Government, the Merry family have been handed a lifeline.

"It's now time for the Home Office to end this ridiculous situation and stop trying to rip a young family apart. I will keep up the pressure on the UK government to do the right thing and to give Olya the right to stay.

"The heavy-handed approach by the UK government could see a young child, born in Scotland to a Scottish father, forced out of the country at the whims of immigration officials - that would be completely unacceptable."

The couple previously lived in Ireland for almost six months, with Mr Merry saying the Home Office had advised them to make use of European freedom of movement rules.

They later relocated to Scotland when his wife fell pregnant.

The Home Office said it does not routinely comment on individual cases.

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