Bristol mum stranded in Serbia feels like UK Home Office is treating her like a 'second class citizen'

  • Watch Lucy McDaid's report.

A mother from Bristol is stranded in Serbia more than 1,000 miles from home and says she feels like a "second class citizen" because of a mistake with her immigration paperwork. Aleksandra Mitrovic flew to the eastern European country with her husband and two young children in January, following the sudden death of her father after he contracted coronavirus.

Before returning home the key worker realised she did not have her UK residency card and was told she was not allowed to board the plane.

Despite showing other forms of documentation which proved her right to return to the UK, Aleksandra remains stuck in Serbia and does not know when she will be able to get back.

"My dad died and my mind was all over the place," Aleksandra told ITV News West Country.

"I misplaced my residency card. So I went to the airport, had all of my documents, I had a copy of my old residency card, all of the documents that prove I can live in the UK."

Both Aleksandra and her husband Georgios have settled status in the UK.

They have lived in Westbury-on-Trym with their two young children, Danillo, six, and Kallista, two, for more than five years.

She has now submitted an application for a family permit, which would allow her to enter the country on a temporary basis.

The Home Office website states all applications should be processed in three weeks, but Aleksandra is still waiting for a response one month on.

Left to right: Danillo (6), Kallista (2) and Georgios. Credit: Family picture

"We feel like we're being treated as second class citizens," said Aleksandra's husband, Georgios.

"Why are we not entitled to a temporary, emergency travel document? We want her back. We want her to be back home. I mean this is where she belongs and we believe we have earned that right."

In a statement, a Home Office spokesperson said: "It is right that we perform all necessary checks on applications – each case is considered on an individual basis and some of those checks will take longer than others.

“We aim to complete all cases as soon as possible and have taken action to get through the backlog of cases that built as a result of the pandemic, such as deploying additional staff, and applications now being submitted are being dealt with within service standards.”

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