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4000 more names needed to help family

Section:  Annan and Eskdale, Dumfries and West, Lockerbie and Lochmaben  | Tags:

A PETITION to help save a family from being re- moved from the UK is just 4000 signatures away from a potential break-through.

Muhammad, Razia, Fatima and Saira Saleem are continu- ing to appeal to their friends and neighbours to help ght for their right to stay in the UK and their home of Dumfries and Galloway, where they have lived for 13 years.

Dad Muhammad rst moved to Great Britain in 2005 on a work permit, with his family joining him a year later.

They initially lived in Lockerbie, where daughters Fatima and Saira attended Lockerbie Academy, before moving to Dumfries.

But the family’s life was put on hold in 2015 following a late visa application.

Muhammad said: “Due to reasons out of our control, the Home Of ce wants to send us back to Pakistan despite hav- ing lived here all these years only because we applied for one of our visas late, which was not our fault.”

Now the family are unable to hold down jobs or claim bene- ts and Saira’s studies to be- come a doctor have been put on hold, making their lives an uphill battle and making them feel permanently at risk of losing their home, which family and friends help to pay rent for.

Muhammad added: “We’ve now been in Dumfries and Galloway for over 13 years and consider this to be our home.

“We want our neighbours’ support in any way they can to show that we have truly integrated in Dumfries and Galloway.”

In September an online petition, through change.org, was started by local journalist Amanda Kennedy, who went to school with Saira.

Amanda said: “Saira and her sister Fatima were both extremely kind, thoughtful and hard working members of the Lockerbie Academy community.

“It’s horrible to hear how much uncertainty their family are facing and have been enduring for the past three years.”

She added: “The petition was quickly signed by thousands of people but in recent months signatures have stalled at just over 96,000.”

So far various applications to remain have been turned down, but the family is cur- rently working with Glasgow based solicitor Usman Aslam, who is appealing to the Home Office.

Mr Aslam, of McGlashan MacKay Solicitors, special- ises in helping families facing removals, reuniting those who have been torn apart by war and assisting people who want to settle in the UK with family or to study.

He took on the Saleem case in 2016 and said: “The Home Office have accepted the Fee Waiver Application and we now awaiting a final decision.

“However if we get over 100,000 signatures it can be raised in parliament through their local MP and I am very keen for this to happen.”

He added: “Here is a family that would have had Indefinate Leave to Remain, now known as Settlement in the UK, but for a simple mistake by a previous representative.

“Therefore they were on course to be here, so it is disproportionate to just treat them as if they haven’t been here for long. Dumfries and Galloway is their home.

“We have to imagine what it would be like to live somewhere for 13 years, make it your home then be told you have to leave. That’s why we fight for such people.”

You can sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/help-keep-the-saleem-family-in-britain-where-they-belong?recruiter=72991845&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=undefined&utm_term=Search%3ESAP%3EUK%3ENonBrand-Tier%201%3ECreation%3EExact

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