South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has taken the case of the Sbita family – Lassaad and Hela, as well as their four children – to the UK Home Secretary and to the Scottish Government’s Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development, to ask them to urgently intervene to prevent the family’s imminent deportation.
The Sbitas, who have lived in the region for several years, have been refused their right to remain in the UK simply because they are unable to afford the £6000 fee required by the Home Office to process their application. Ms Harper has slammed this decision, citing the hostile environment within the UK Government’s Home Office, as well as the department’s incompetence and lack of humanity in dealing with sensitive immigration cases. She said: “I have raised the Sbita family case with the First Minister, in addition to previously writing to the Home Office and Scottish Government, to seek urgent intervention to prevent their imminent deportation from Dumfries to Tunisia. “I visited the family on Friday and heard directly from Hela and Lassad, as well as their children, about how anxious they are about their future. Their friends are here, their family are here – and they should absolutely have the right to stay and build their lives here in Scotland – as they choose to do so.” She added: “The family, who have become integrated members of their community in Dumfries and whose children attend school here, have been told that their application for Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom has been denied simply because they cannot afford to pay the astronomical £6198 fee required by the UK Home Office to process their application. This decision by the UK Government is despicable and highlights the lack of humanity and culture of hostility within the Home Office. The decision to prevent my constituents from living here in Scotland was sanctioned by the Home Secretary, and he must now do right by them and overturn this decision, which was taken simply on the basis that the family cannot afford the application fees.”
- The family with the MSP, pictured above