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Family’s fight to stay in the UK

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Family's fight to stay in the UK

A DUMFRIES family are fighting to stay in Dumfries and Galloway, as they face removal from the country.

Muhammad, Razia, Fatima and Saira Saleem, originally from Pakistan, are appealing to their friends and neighbours to help fight for their right to stay in the UK.

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

They 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 Office wants to send us back to Pakistan despite having lived here all these years, only because we applied for one of our visas late.”

Now the family are unable to hold down jobs or claim bene ts, making their lives an uphill battle.

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.”

Muhammad explained that so far various applications to remain have been turned down but the family is currently working with Glasgow based solicitor Usman Aslam, who is appealing to the Home Office.

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

Mr Aslam said: “We took the case on in 2016, when the family approached us.

“They were very distraught by the prospects of being sent to Pakistan. We sympathise with these kind of cases.”

Explaining their case, he said: “In simplest terms, they face removal as they have been denied a visa to remain in the UK.

“The father was in the UK under the old Work Permit Visas, and his family were dependents on his visa.

“For reasons unknown, a previous representative, according to the Saleem family, didn’t submit their application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in time, therefore they were regarded since then as overstayers – they have been trying to rectify that since then.”

The solicitor is encouraging the Saleem’s friends and neighbours to back their bid to stay in Dumfries and Galloway by starting a petition and writing letters of support to local politicians and Mr Aslam and his legal team.

He said: “There comes a point where the Home Of ce should exercise discretion more carefully.

“Here is a family that would have had Indefinite 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 ght for such people.”

 

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