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Visa U-turn reunites girl with parents

A Chinese girl has received an early birthday present after learning she can be reunited with her parents in Ireland.

The Government has reversed a decision to deny a visa to Jiayi Shao, who turns four next week.

It's the news parents Meijiano Yu and Xiao Shao, who live in Clondalkin, Dublin, were desperately waiting for.

They said the family had been torn apart as a result of an earlier decision to refuse her permission to re-enter the country after going to stay temporarily with her grandparents.

Jiayi Shao (3) was born in Ireland, but her parents took her to China to stay with her grandparents while they were studying and working here.


Her parents applied for a visa for her to re-enter Ireland last November, after they had both secured full-time employment, but were refused.

However, it emerged yesterday that the visa is to be granted after all.

The family had recently been granted permission by the High Court to challenge the refusal to allow their daughter to return here. They were supported by the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI).

Hilda Becker, senior solicitor with the ICI, said: "We are delighted with the decision to issue a visa and that this family will now be reunited.

"We have been providing support and legal advice to Meijiano Yo and her husband.


"That support will continue in order that the visa is issued in a timely manner through the Irish embassy in Beijing, and that Jiayi Shao can return home to her parents in Ireland as soon as possible," she said.

Meanwhile, Denise Charlton, the ICI's chief executive, said: "This is a family that was devastated by a visa refusal which they feared would keep them apart for an infinite period.

"We welcome the fact that common sense has prevailed and that this young family is to be reunited.

"The fact that the visa is to be granted as Jiayi is about to celebrate her fourth birthday will ensure that this will be a birthday celebration like no other.

"Of course, the fact that the family ... has been put through such an ordeal and had to resort to the High Court raises issues that must be addressed, including the establishment of an independent appeals mechanism," she added.