Thousands of Scots have signed a petition backing a young Russian jeweller in her battle again deportation.
23-year-old Evgeniia Balashova is currently at risk of being deported after being declined a visa extension because of problems registering her address with officials.
Balashova moved to the UK from Murmansk at the age of 17 and spent four years in Glasgow as a student, graduating from Glasgow School of Art in 2016. She then spent another year as a graduate entrepreneur before launching her own successful jewellery business.
The young jewellery designer applied to extend her visa for another year, but her application was refused by the Home Office on the grounds of not having registered her current residential address on her Police Registration Certificate, despite numerous attempts to do so.
Balashova says her application met all the major requirements outlined by the Home Office apart from the absence of an official lease to prove her address, but this was missing because there was not enough time left on her visa to obtain a tenancy contract.
In a bid to stay in the country she now calls home, the jeweller has launched an online petition, which, according to local newspaper the Daily Record, secured the backing of more than 2,000 supporters within two days.
Balashova says on her website: “Being able to stay in the UK would mean an absolute world to me and my future. Because of the nature of my jewellery and the unique technology it uses, it relies on the resources available here in the UK, the ones that are not even readily available in Russia.
“Going back to Russia would mean erasing the last five years of work and development and starting everything from scratch. It will mean that everything I built will have to be destroyed due to a fault of a technical mistake. My lovely workshop space is here, the incredible support of the makers community is here, my friends that have become family are here. I made a commitment to this country when I first moved here and it would be incredibly distressing not to be able to continue my life the way I know it.”
The administrative review will take 28 days, and if it results in a refusal, Balashova will have to immediately cease trading, stop working and return to Russia.