A Zimbabwean mother has been denied a visa to attend her daughter's graduation in the UK.

But the decision was wrong and the Home Office overturned its decision only after being contacted by The Independent. But it was already too late.

Ropafadzo Makado, 42, said she was devastated after her mother, Joyce Makado, 63, who she has not seen in four years, was unable to see her graduate with a nursing degree because immigration officials said they did not believe she would leave the UK at the end of her visit.

In the original refusal letter to Ms Makado, a Home Office decision-maker said: “I am not satisfied that you are genuinely seeking entry as a visitor for a limited period not exceeding six months, that you intend to leave the UK at the end of the visit or that you will be maintained and accommodated in the UK without working or having recourse to public funds.”

Ms Makado, who has lived in the UK for 12 years – first working as a support worker for Brighton and Hove Council and then studying nursing at Brighton University – told The Independent: “I feel sad, angry, devastated about the visa refusal. My mum was devastated as well.

“I’m happy about my achievement but really sad that my favourite person in the whole world, my mum, could not be here to celebrate it with me. Words cannot fully express the pain in my heart. I don’t have any family here. Just me.”

The Zimbabwean national, who was married to a British man but is now divorced, added: “I didn’t think I was going to have any problems because I am working and I can afford to look after her. She was going to stay with me for six months and then go back home.

“I think they are just discriminating. I don’t know what other term to use. For me it’s like discrimination. Against people from my country, maybe, I don’t know.”