Ukrainian woman who graduated from Oxford wins right to stay in UK

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The Independent Online

A woman who graduated from Oxford and then worked for the NHS - having arrived in Britain without a word of English 11 years ago - has won her battle against the Home Office's decision to deport her.

Eleonora Suhoviy, 24, who taught herself English by reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels, began her English education at a comprehensive school in Lincoln, went on to read modern languages at Oxford and now works at a leading NHS cancer clinic.

At an immigration tribunal yesterday, Ms Suhoviy fought for her right to stay and, in her words, "protect the British way of life" after the Home Office decided four months ago that she must be deported to her native Ukraine. After hearing how she was a "true British patriot" who had contributed to society, the tribunal ruled she should stay.

Ms Suhoviy now hopes to apply for British citizenship. "I am very relieved [and] also very grateful for all the support from everyone," she said after the verdict.

Ms Suhoviy and her mother, Svetlana, had only 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 had been working despite not being officially entitled to do so.

Ms Suhoviy's barrister, Jonathon Goldberg QC - who listed the former Tory foreign secretary Lord Carrington, the former Tory leader Michael Howard and the broadcaster Jeremy Paxman among her supporters - said she had "shown herself a committed Anglophile [and] thinks of herself entirely as an English woman. She speaks perfect English with the slightest of accents." He pointed out that a judge in a previous hearing described her as "a great asset to this country".

The Asylum and Immigration Appeals Tribunal in London heard that Ms Suhoviy first came to the country in 1994 after her parents' divorce and, with the exception of 10 months from 1995 to 1996, had remained ever since.

She had taught herself English "in record time", Mr Goldberg said, and had attended Yarborough Comprehensive, "a very down-at-heel school in an inner-city area of Lincoln that had never sent a pupil to Oxford". An accomplished concert pianist and dancer, she was awarded a scholarship by Lincoln Cathedral to study at Oxford.

She now runs the administration office at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital specialising in liver cancer, and wants to embark on postgraduate studies.