Anya Covalenco (Ukrainian: Аня Коваленко), is a Ukrainian illegal immigrant, a pole dancer who abandons her month-old baby, Tomas, in a church in Kent for vicar Mary Lavender to look after. Dot Branning later finds the baby, and knowing Reverend Lavender is on holiday, takes Tomas back to Walford, leaving a note in the church with her address on it.
Dot's husband Jim goes to a pole dancing club, finding a flyer for it with Tomas, to track Anya down, but is told she no longer works there by a hostess he speaks to. As Jim travels back to Walford, Anya arrives at Dot and Jim's house. After shouting at Dot for interfering, Dot offers her a place to stay, and she accepts. Jim, however, does not agree with this, and reports Anya to the immigration authorities.
Immigration officers arrive and Jim tells Dot what he has done. Dot takes Anya and Tomas out of the house and hides them in the back of her car. Dot returns to the house and tells immigration that there is nobody there and it must have been a hoax. Dot and Jim then take Anya and Tomas to a church, believing it to be a sanctuary where they will be safe. The immigration officers follow them to the church, where Dot says Anya and Tomas will be safe in a room at the back of the church and could live there. Dot confronts the officers, Paul Jenkins and Warren Rice telling them it is a sanctuary and they cannot go through. Rice tells Dot she is wrong about this. Anya eventually decides to give herself up, but tells Jim to take care of Tomas as she now trusts them.
She later writes to Dot in June 2007, telling her to care for her son - not knowing that Tomas is now up for adoption, when Dot realises that she cannot bring up baby Tomas.