Maria's UK dream comes true
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A Filipino woman living in Dornoch can lay to rest fears over her future post Brexit after being granted UK citizenship.
Ma Corazon Sulit Macleod (58), known as Maria, was officially presented with her citizenship by Lord Lieutenant Joanie Whiteford at a ceremony in Dingwall registry office last week.
Mrs Macleod was accompanied by her husband, retired master mariner Kenneth Macleod (70). The couple live at Poles Road.
He said: “It was very emotional for Maria because it has been such a long haul with a few hiccups along the way. She is very grateful and appreciative that now it has come to a conclusion.
“At the back of everybody’s mind is what is going to happend at Brexit? Maria had indefinite leave to remain but Brexit has really sparked off a lot of indecision and unnecessary worry.”
The couple met in Manilla where Mr Macleod worked from 2003 to 2013 with American oil company OSG. It was a “long courtship” and they married in 2012, returning to the UK in 2013.
“When Maria arrived at Aberdeen airport in March, 2013, she asked me “What is that white stuff down there?” - she had never seen snow,” said Mr Macleod.
MP Jamie Stone helped Maria, who works in housekeeping at Skibo Castle, after her initial application for leave to remain was rejected. He contacted the Home Office on her behalf.
To be granted citizenship, she had to pass a gruelling English test and Life in the UK test.
“It was horrendous,” said her husband. “I couldn’t answer any of the questions - it was all about history and the constitution.”
Maria, is looking forward to the arrival in October of her daughter Charlotte Denise who is taking up a nurse’s post at Ipswich Trust Hospital. The couple visit the Phillipines every year - Maria is the eldest of seven and two of her siblings live in the USA..
“Maria has settled here well and made friends,” said Mr Macleod. “It hasn’t been easy and it was quite a triumph to get the letter stating ‘We are pleased to advise you that your are now a British citizen’.”