An oil worker whose family was torn apart by red tape will get to celebrate Christmas with his wife and children after campaigning a year to bring them home from Brazil.
An incorrectly dated payslip and a disputed language qualification were all it took to leave Alex Chatwin’s partner and daughters stranded on the other side of the world.
But last night, after his £15,000 battle with bureaucracy and getting his family home, the 41-year-old chemical engineer said: “It’s so good to have them back.”
Mr Chatwin married Eliene Sady Barbosa at Aberdeen Registry Office in 2008.
The couple’s first child, Jasmin, was born in the city’s maternity hospital the following year, before they moved to South America.
Their second daughter, Isis, was born in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
But both Jasmin and Isis hold British passports – and Eliene speaks fluent English.
When the family returned to the north-east from Brazil last year, the Home Office rejected 40-year-old Eliene’s visa application.
She did what Mr Chatwin described as “the honourable thing” and returned to her homeland with the children to reapply for entry to the UK.
But the Home Office blocked the new application.
That led to Mr Chatwin waging a year-long fight with officials which cost him thousands of pounds.
And at one point, he feared he would have to abandon his efforts to bring his family home to Scotland and move to Brazil.
The visa problem centred on an incorrectly-dated payslip submitted by Teekay Petrojarl employee Mr Chatwin in the application and the type of language qualification held by wife.
With their cause all but lost, Mr Chatwin turned to Sir Robert Smith for help and the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP urged the Home Office to reconsider the case.
Mr Chatwin, of Westhill, said: “I spoke to Sir Robert’s office about the issue and it go resolved in a matter of days.
“It’s been a lot of effort, but it’s only because of his involvement were reunited.
“I still don’t understand the issue with immigration – if you read the news there are other cases like ours.
“We’re not out of the woods altogether, but in five years she’ll be a British citizen.
“I’m really happy with the result.
“I was worried we might end up apart at Christmas.”
Mr Chatwin added: “My daughters are struggling with the cold weather, especially at Christmas, but we’re together and it’s all good.”
Sir Robert said: “The Home Office needs to understand the global nature of the oil and gas industry here in the north-east.
“I’m pleased that in this case there has been a positive outcome.”
Speaking from Brazil earlier this year, Eliene told the Press and Journal her eldest daughter “cries most nights because she misses her dad and her life at home” and that she was desperate to put on her school uniform.