THE UK Government has issued a formal apology after it sent a New Scot to Ukraine to apply for a visa despite knowing of the looming Russian invasion.

Natalya Fisher, who lives in Boddam in Aberdeenshire with her husband Peter, was told by the Home Office that she would have to go to Ukraine to apply for a spousal visa if she wanted to stay in Scotland.

Listening to the UK Government's advice, she went. Two days later, on February 24, 2022, Russia invaded.

READ MORE: David Pratt: The perils of Russia's changing war in Ukraine

The US had previously warned that Vladimir Putin had ordered a full-scale invasion of the nation, and on February 11 the UK had told British nationals to flee the country.

However, Fisher was still told she would have to go there to get a visa. She was caught in the invasion and had to flee, finally meeting her husband in Budapest, Hungary, two weeks after she had first landed.

Peter’s presence helped the couple cut through the red tape of the UK Government’s disastrous Ukraine refugee scheme and return to Scotland.

The National: Priti Patel's Home Office told Natalya Fisher to go to Ukraine is she wanted a spousal visaPriti Patel's Home Office told Natalya Fisher to go to Ukraine is she wanted a spousal visa

Karen Adam, the SNP MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast who assisted the Fishers, wrote a scathing letter on March 2 to Home Secretary Priti Patel expressing “deep concern over the news that the UK Government’s Home Office instructed my constituent to travel to Ukraine in order to apply for a visa just days before the Russian invasion of the country”.

Adam continued on in the letter to say that the UK’s immigration policy was “unfit for purpose” and “endangered lives.”

Seven weeks after Adam had contacted the Home Office, the UK’s Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, Kevin Foster, responded.

He wrote: “I note Ms Fisher was advised she must return to Ukraine to submit an application. I am sorry officials advised her of this, taking into consideration the events which were unfolding at the time, this should not have been done as there was no need for her to do so.”

Adam said: “The most important thing is that both Natalya and Peter are back at home safely in Boddam.

“Natalya should never have been made to go back to Ukraine, particularly when the UK Government knew of the pending Russian invasion with the build-up of Russian troops on the border.

“This ordeal has highlighted just how far removed Conservative politicians are from our values in Scotland. We are a welcoming country but we have an immigration policy that has been imposed on us from a UK Government that does not match the character of our nation.”