AN accountant with 140,000 supporters is celebrating “the best Christmas ever” after the Home Office dropped its immigration challenge.

Chennan Fei, 30, came to Scotland from China as a 13-year-old to join her parents.

But when they let the family’s immigration status lapse, she found herself in a battle to remain in the country she calls home.

Last year the Edinburgh University graduate won a judicial review, when a judge ordered the Home Office – which wanted to deport her – to reconsider.

But one year later, she faced yet another battle after officials reissued the refusal.

Fei, from Renton in West Dunbartonshire, was supposed to face a UK Government representative at an immigration tribunal in Glasgow on Thursday.

However, she is now planning “the best Christmas ever” at the Lockerbie home of fiance Duncan Harkness’ parents after officials dropped their challenge.

It is understood that a form of legal status will be awarded in due course.

Fei was volunteering for the Scottish Refugee Council when the news came in on Tuesday.

She spoke to The National, which first brought her case to country-wide attention. “This is the best present I could ever have," she said.

“We didn’t expect this at all. We are really, really happy.

“Last Christmas we were happy, but this year we can really relax, and I can start planning my wedding.

“I can learn to drive, and I can even think about planning a holiday – just ordinary things that everyone does.”

A petition in support of Fei had reached 140,000 signatures on Wednesday.

Glasgow councillor Annette Christie, who started the petition, said: “I am overjoyed for Chennan and Duncan, it really is a Christmas miracle.

“For me, this was always a clear cut case of injustice as result of cruel inhuman immigration policies.

“There are now almost 140,000 signatures on the petition calling for the Home Office to reconsider Chennan’s case and without this support I doubt that there would have been this dramatic about-turn.

“The people’s voices have been heard and the message is clear – not only does Chennan belong in Scotland, but it’s evident that public petitions really do work.”

Usman Aslam, Fei’s solicitor at Glasgow legal firm McGlashan MacKay commented: “The Home Office have looked at the evidence and our representations submitted for Thursday’s big hearing and have withdrawn with a view to not only reconsidering their position, but recommending a form of status for Chennan.

“McGlashan MacKay Solicitors are delighted with this result as we have worked extremely hard. I’m glad that common sense has prevailed. The support Chennan has had from the public, from councillor Annette Christie and her MP has been phenomenal.”

Fei’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said: “This appears to be a very welcome U-turn by the UK government, and I’m delighted that my constituent Chennan can now look forward to Christmas without the threat of deportation hanging over her. However, it’s a disgrace that it’s taken so long for the Home Office to come to its senses in this case.

“Chennan has lived in Scotland for more than half her life. She’s clearly a bright and talented young woman who has a lot to offer, yet my constituent has faced a long and difficult battle to remain in her home due to the hostile actions of the UK Government.

“I would urge the Home Secretary to act quickly. It’s vital that Chennan is given the certainty she needs so that my constituent can finally get on with building her life in Scotland.”

The Home Office said it would be “inappropriate” to comment.