A dementia sufferer who was ordered to leave Australia after a visa mix-up arrived back in the UK last night.
Frail Christina Grant, 96, moved to New South Wales to stay with family after the death of her son and carer Robert, who looked after her in Scotland, two years ago.
The pensioner, originally from Dulnain Bridge, south-east of Inverness, is described as ‘nearly blind’ and having ‘mild dementia’ which means she cannot live alone.
As part of her visa Mrs Grant had to leave Australia once a year.
Concerned that she was not fit enough to fly out of the country to meet this requirement, her family booked her on a cruise to Vanuatu, a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean.
Accompanied by son Allan and daughter-in-law Diane, 67, Mrs Grant, known as Chrissie, arrived at Glasgow Airport yesterday after a delayed 10,000-mile journey via Dubai
Speaking from the arrivals area Diane Grant, who was pushing Mrs Grant in a wheelchair, said: ‘The flight was a bit rough, as you can imagine’
But Mrs Grant was then told the trip did not qualify, and that her visa had expired. She was then given an ultimatum to leave the country by July 26.
Accompanied by son Allan and daughter-in-law Diane, 67, Mrs Grant, known as Chrissie, arrived at Glasgow Airport yesterday after a delayed 10,000-mile journey via Dubai.
A video, taken by her daughter-in-law at the airport, shows Christina clearly very confused about what is happening to her.
When her son asks about the flight she says ‘I don’t think we’ve been travelling very far’ – even though they have already travelled 7500 miles from Australia and are only halfway through their trip.
She also seems confused when her son asks where they are going, as she replies: ‘We’re heading to Scotland, I think.’
The pensioner nods when asked if she will be happy to return to Scotland, but admits that she will miss Australia.
Christina is pictured resting at Dubai airport during the 10,000 mile journey from Australia to Glasgow
Her son Allan consoles her by saying that they will be staying with her for a while, to which she retorts – ‘Oh you are? Have you been invited?’
Speaking from the arrivals area Diane Grant, who was pushing Mrs Grant in a wheelchair, said: ‘The flight was a bit rough, as you can imagine.
‘Christina was violently ill the day before we were due to leave and then she came good. I don’t think she knows what is happening, though.
‘Allan has some extended cousins in Scotland we will try to see while we are over there. But they have families of their own so we don’t want to intrude.’
Diane Grant added: ‘Christina was violently ill the day before we were due to leave and then she came good. I don’t think she knows what is happening, though’
She added: ‘Taking care of a vulnerable pensioner on such a long flight has not been easy for the family.
‘Chrissie has handled it OK but it would be easier to have a two-year-old.
She just doesn’t understand it all and is confused
‘This has been very hard on Chrissie And brings us to tears at times – she has deteriorated immensely in the last six weeks.’
Mrs Grant is pictured in Dubai airport using a walking stick after she was forced to leave Australia
She added: ‘We should have applied for a visa while we are home but they told us it would take 30 years. Now if Allan and I pass away she’ll be left in limbo.’
The family first revealed their plight with a heartbreaking picture of Mrs Grant, who uses a walking stick, holding a packed suitcase in a picture posted online earlier this month.
In the Facebook message, Diane Grant blamed Australian bureaucracy for ‘unreasonably’ ruling the visa had expired, which she claims was done as a result of her mother-in-law’s ‘age/health’.
The couple even paid $250 (£150) to speak to an immigration specialist, but to no avail.
Diane Grant wrote: ‘If it had instead been cancelled we could have gone to the administration appeals tribunal who, I believe, would have overturned this decision.
Devastated relatives claimed Christina Grant, 96, pictured, was told to leave Australia after making a ‘common mistake’ with her visa
Ms Grant holidayed in Vanuatu with son Allan, right, and daughter-in-law Diane, pictured here
‘The immigration department has kept themselves and us very busy, filling in endless forms over the last few months, and offer no help or advice.
‘We paid $250 for less than half an hour with an immigration specialist who did clarify a couple of things for us but was useless in the end – not her fault as there was nothing she could do for us.’
She ended the post by writing: ‘Only hope we can get mum into a home to be cared for by someone in Scotland, as she has mild dementia and nearly blind and is not happy about leaving the home her son has provided for her here.
‘Everyone is very upset about this and it breaks my heart.’
The couple, from Sydney, now plan to find a care home for Mrs Grant. They have also referred the case to the ministerial resolutions service in the hope of pushing through another visa.
Pictured: Ms Grant enjoys a day out after moving from Scotland to her new home in Australia
Pictured: Ms Grant enjoys a pamper session at a beauty salon in New South Wales
Diane Grant added: ‘Australian immigration said they’d refer our case to the ministerial resolutions service, but I can’t see that helping in any way.’
She told the Scottish Sun: ‘This has been very hard on Chrissie she has deteriorated immensely in the last six weeks.’
Mrs Grant’s husband Martin died some years ago. She has nieces and nephews living in Scotland, some in the Highlands.
It was reported earlier this month that immigration officials said they were been working with the family and made no arrangements to remove Mrs Grant.
But Mrs Grant’s family said they have not heard from immigration officials, adding: ‘We have no idea of who they have been working with to resolve this issue as we have not heard from them since they gave us the ultimatum.’
The Australian High Commission in London was unavailable for comment last night.