Ukrainian graduate wins her battle to stay in Britain

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The Independent Online

An Oxford graduate who was threatened with deportation has won her fight to stay in Britain.

When Eleonora Suhoviy arrived in Lincolnshire from Ukraine in 1994 at the age of 13, she was unable to speak a word of English. But she went on to become a talented scholar, concert pianist and dancer and worked for the NHS after graduating from Oxford University.

Ms Suhoviy was in line for deportation from Britain until successfully arguing five months ago at an asylum and immigration appeal tribunal appeal panel that she should be allowed to stay.

The broadcaster Jeremy Paxman, the former Conservative leader Michael Howard and the former Tory foreign secretary Lord Carrington are among those who have backed her campaign to remain in the UK.

The Home Office's Immigration and Nationality Directorate was forced to reconsider the case and has now granted the 25-year-old three years' leave to remain in the UK.

"I'm extremely happy, very elated," Ms Suhoviy said yesterday. "It gives me the freedom to pursue what I want to do." If her leave to remain is renewed for a subsequent period, Ms Suhoviy may be eligible for British citizenship five years from now, when she could apply to join the Navy. It is her ambition to serve as an intelligence officer.

Ms Suhoviy was brought to England by her mother, Svetlana, after her parents' divorce. She and her mother only had temporary leave to remain in the UK and the Home Office decided in 1999 to remove them both. Her mother appealed, but her remarriage was ruled to be one of convenience and so the decision was upheld. Ms Suhoviy continued working although she was not officially entitled to do so.

She taught herself English by reading Sherlock Holmes novels, which she already knew by heart in Russian translation.

Her modern languages degree at Exeter College, Oxford, was funded by an anonymous benefactor and an annual £3,500 grant from Lincoln Ca-thedral. She became a leading light of the Conservative Association at Oxford and graduated with a 2:1.

Ms Suhoviy now runs the administration office at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Her barrister, Jonathon Goldberg QC said yesterday: "This is magnificent news. I am delighted the Home Office have seen the light and recognised Eleonora's special qualities."