Today I realised that I have over 8,000 social media subscribers to my free UKVisaSuccess.com educational channel. I am immensely grateful to you all for being so supportive of the work I do and for all your positive feedback, which I keep receiving from you on a daily basis. You are very important to me, I like you and truly care about you all. Thank you!
Where It All Started
My journey in UK immigration law started back in 2003 when I was still a law student. My Mum’s student’s visa got refused. She sent the documents to me and asked if I could help. I looked at the papers and was outraged by, what I thought, was such an unfair decision!
I approached my immigration law teacher and asked if he could do something about it. He said: ‘No, I can’t! But YOU can!’. I was truly surprised. After all, what could I, the law student do about this refusal? He said: ‘Go and represent her at the Tribunal. I’ll help you’. And I did.
True to his word, my university teacher did help and support me not only when preparing that case for the Immigration Tribunal but throughout all my professional career. Since then he became a judge, an Assessor, my mentor and my dearest friend. With his wise guidance, help and support I had the courage and determination to win an insane number of really tough cases. Those were the cases where everyone gave up trying, the ‘no-chance-forget-it’ cases. Those were the cases where I cried when receiving a positive decision. They meant a lot to me. My teacher kept telling me year after year: ‘Svitlana, never take ‘NO’ for an answer’. And I never did. He also did say that I needed to ‘toughen up’ and to stop crying about my clients’ cases even if those were the tears of joy.
Back to 2003, I remember standing at the Immigration Tribunal, in front of the late Sir Henry Hodge, the then Chief Immigration Adjudicator. My palms were sweating, my legs were shaking, I lost my voice. My Mum was there to support me and I was so grateful that she was the only one to see me at such a state! I remember thinking to myself: ‘What am I even doing here????!!!!! I do not even know the girl I am representing….’ I wasn’t there for material reasons either. I refused to take any money for representing her. The thing is – I truly care about justice in the society, unfair decisions send me into the fearless warrior mode, they send me into burning desire to put things right.
Several weeks later, I open the envelope….. I read the Tribunal’s decision. To my amazement, Sir Hendry Hodge agreed with me and said that the decision was indeed unfair. He allowed the appeal and the girl’s life was impacted in a truly amazing way as a result of this decision. So was mine…
16 years later, I am still the same. Truly care about people, about decisions being right and fair.
However, after all these years of working in the UK immigration field, I realised that 80% if not more (!) of the negative decisions could have been prevented. How? By understanding the nature of the application, by understanding the requirements, understanding the procedure and preparing a really strong application, which would be really hard to refuse. This is how the idea of UKVisaSuccess.com was born.
I came from generations of University teachers, teaching is in my blood and I LOVE TEACHING. I teach at two universities and will continue teaching in various forms for as long as I live.
After I shared my idea of helping people online with the dearest friend of mine, whose opinion I tremendously value, he said: ‘Well, it seems to me that teaching people UK immigration law online is like teaching people online how to how to tile a bathroom floor or teaching them how to drive – it will not work’.
Well, it is only lucky I disagreed. It does seem to work. My work does seem to make a positive difference in your visa’s decisions.
I am glad and proud as we are doing it together! Nothing would be possible without your desire to find out how to make things work. For that, I appreciate and like you all a lot!