THE US-born Gaelic singer turned down for a “talent” visa has been given fresh hopes thanks to a u-turn on her application – after the Sunday National highlighted her case.

Writer and performer Maya Evan Matyas – who also uses the pen name M Evan MacGriogair – was part of the Alba choir which represented Scotland at the Eurovision Choir contest in August.

The 34-year-old was a prize winner at Mod Ghlaschu, at which she performed with her choir on a bill also including trad act Manran.

READ MORE: Gaelic speaking artists’ visa bids decided by Arts Council England

But on the opening weekend of that Gaelic culture festival, the Sunday National revealed how her “exceptional promise” visa – designed for “highly skilled” individuals who can “enrich the UK’s knowledge economy and society” – was rejected by Arts Council England, which judges culture bids for the Home Office.

The case drew criticism from the Scottish Government and Gaelic bodies, who voiced concerns over the lack of input from Creative Scotland, Bord na Gaidhlig, or any other organisation with expertise on Gaelic language and culture.

Not a single Scottish agency has been given Designated Competent Body status by the Home Office.

Matyas, who immersed herself in Gaelic after first visiting Scotland in 2004, requested a review of the decision.

Now an official letter confirms Arts Council England has changed its view. It states: “The Home Office forwarded your request to Arts Council England and they have reconsidered your application. They have advised that you meet their criteria for Exceptional Promise.”

The move allows Matyas to move to the second of the two-stage application process, and she is now preparing to leave Glasgow for the US, where she will take the next necessary steps. She told The National: “I have to leave the country to make the application. I’m going to go to New York to do it and will apply immediately.

“I’m really hopeful that I’ll be able to get an answer quickly so I can come home very soon. This process has been so harrowing that all I really want is to just have it all passed.”

If successful, Matyas will put the finishing touches to a large tattoo of a tree on her back. While its branches are intact it has no roots, something she aims to have added when her immigration status is determined.

On the impact of the Sunday National story, she said: “I saw people I know on Facebook sharing it and saying ‘I read this and didn’t realise I knew the person involved’, and I got a lot of really nice comments and messages from people.

“I saw a lot of support and the people at the Mod were really supportive, as were both my choirs, who have been stalwart allies.”

The Sunday National asked the Home Office for comment about the case and the issues raised, but no response was received.

However, the Scottish Government said: “This is an example of the real and damaging impact the UK Government’s hostile immigration policies are having on people’s lives. It demonstrates once again how a one-size-fits-all UK immigration system doesn’t take into account Scotland’s circumstances, values or interests. It is time for Scotland to have the powers to deliver tailored immigration solutions that meet our distinct needs and aspirations.”