Bristol family reunited after Home Office delays made them feel like 'second class citizens'

  • Watch Caron Bell's report

A Bristol mother who was made to feel like a "second class citizen" after she was left stranded in Serbia for more than two months has finally been allowed to return home.

Aleksandra Mitrovic flew to the eastern European country with her husband and two young children in January after the sudden death of her father to coronavirus.

Before returning home the key worker realised she did not have her UK residency card and was told she was not allowed to leave, despite showing documentation that proved her right to live in the country.

Now Aleksandra's husband, Georgios Manolas, has shared a photo of the heartfelt moment she saw her two children again for the first time.

It shows Danillo, six, and Kallista, two, in a tight embrace with their mum after not seeing her in person since February.

The family has lived in Bristol for more than five years, and they all have settled status. Credit: Family picture

In March Aleksandra told ITV West Country: "At the time when I need my family most, when I need stability, I need my home, I'm being denied one - and being left homeless.

"My dad died and my mind was all over the place," she added.

"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."

When asked for a response in March, the Home Office 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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