Newlyweds fighting for British visa


A property investor has temporarily moved to live in Ukraine as he fights for his new wife to be allowed into Britain.

Michael Buskin and Olga Bukhman were married in the eastern European country last week, after meeting on Jewish dating app JCrush.

When Mr Buskin, 35, first connected with the 27-year-old university lecturer there was instant chemistry - but strict immigration controls made it impossible for her to even obtain a holiday visa.

The couple maintained their romance by phone and Skype and Mr Buskin made frequent visits to his new wife's home town, Kharkiv.

Mr Buskin's family and friends only met the bride when they flew out for the wedding. The "amazing" simcha took place over two days, with the religious ceremony held in the local Chabad synagogue.

Although they are keen to embark on married life in the UK, Home Office guidelines mean Mrs Buskin cannot even apply for a spousal visa until early next year.

Mr Buskin said: "Unfortunately she can't come to England because her holiday visa was refused. Unless she could show that she had quite a bit of money they wouldn't allow her to come in."

The couple are applying for a permanent visa for Mrs Buskin, but said the process was long and complicated.

They said the Home Office demands they present extensive documentation and photographic evidence of their relationship, while Mr Buskin has been told to maintain a bank balance of at least £62,500 for a minimum of six months.

Mr Buskin has sold one of the properties in his portfolio in order to raise funds. In addition, Mrs Buskin must undergo a medical examination and English test in Ukraine.

In the meantime, Mr Buskin has moved into his wife's family home - which his new mother-in-law has vacated to give them privacy.

The nature of Mr Buskin's business enables him to live abroad, however his own Ukrainian visa expires in November, at which point he will return to his home near Basildon, Essex.

Mrs Buskin is continuing to work on her PhD. She said the wedding was attended by 50 friends and relatives.

"I will never forget it for the rest of my life. Last year I never thought that I would would be married by now. It's all a little bit surreal," she said.

"We applied before for a tourist visa and when we were refused it was very upsetting. I hope now that everything will be okay.

"We've already started our new life together. I don't mind if we live in Ukraine, Britain or even Israel, but for Michael it's more comfortable to be in England."

Mr Buskin said: "We were apart for three months before we got married which was very difficult."

"But we knew that there was a bigger picture and that's what kept us going."

Mr Buskin admitted that he could "live like a king" in the Ukraine, surrounded by a warm and welcoming Jewish community. Nevertheless, opportunities are far greater for them both in Britain.

"It's very frustrating," he said. "Ideally if we had the opportunity to come to England sooner we certainly would.

"It's now just a waiting game. Thankfully it's beautiful here in the summer time and Olga's family are so loving and close that they make me feel so welcome."

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