Why is my Belarussian girlfriend not allowed into the UK to see me?

By ciara hill

A 35-YEAR-OLD Belarussian who met her Stoke-on-Trent boyfriend over the internet is being denied a holiday visa to come to England.

Andrew Brammer, pictured, from Penkhull, met Olga Kokhanovskaya in an online chatroom 18 months ago.

Andrew has been to Belarus to visit her twice, but Olga has twice been turned down for a vacation visa because she is not working and has no means to support herself.

She has now lodged an appeal with the UK Border Agency as she is so desperate to see her 47-year-old partner.

Andrew, who works as support staff at a private hospital, said: "It was a chance meeting on the internet and it just went from there.

"I know there are some dodgy people on the internet but there is nothing untoward about Olga. I've known her for 18 months and she's never once asked me for a penny.

"What's doubly annoying for me is the amount of people who manage to come to this country illegally to live and she can't even get a visa to visit."

Mr Brammer first visited Belarus in June and again in October.

He said: "Meeting her for the first time was one of the most terrifying things I have done.

"Arriving in a country where you don't speak any of the language and you're meeting someone new is nervewracking, but I never had any second thoughts about it. We hit it off straight away."

Olga had been planning to come to England for Christmas and New Year and Andrew had taken time off work to spend with her, but the visa application was refused, leaving them both devastated.

Every time Olga applies for a visa she has to pay ?80 to the British embassy and make an eight-hour round bus trip from her hometown Grodno to the capital Minsk to deliver the documentation.

Andrew has sent letters formally inviting her to visit him and in the latest attempt vowed to be her financial sponsor during her stay, but the visa was still refused.

Andrew said: "I've met someone who I could have a future with, but it's difficult to see where we can go from here when she can't even visit me.

"She has travelled to Germany and the Czech Republic before with no problems and the Belarussian Embassy in England are so helpful when I get my visas to visit her, but their British counterparts are a nightmare."

Olga said: "I applied for a UK holiday visa a year ago. The reason of refusal was that I was unemployed.

"This year I've been refused a visa because I am unemployed.

"They are afraid I won't leave the UK at the end of my visit. I love Andrew and want a happy future for both of us.

"I am optimistic and will never give up. I'm still hoping that I'll be able to visit him."

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "Each application to enter the UK is considered on its merits and in accordance with the immigration rules.

"If a person is unable to satisfy the entry clearance officer they qualify for the entry clearance category they have applied under they may be refused.

"The system is firm and fair, and it applies to everyone."


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