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Help from high places

By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Help from high places

FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has thrown her support behind a Dumfries family fighting for their right to stay in Scotland - as they face an appeal today (Fri).

Chef Muhammad Saleem moved to Lockerbie from Pakistan in 2005, with his wife, Razia, and daughters Fatima and Saira joining him a year later.

But a decade later the life they had built for themselves started to slip away after their former solicitor applied late for their visas – unbeknown to the family.

And in the years that ensued the family have been embroiled in a bitter immigration row as they fight to be granted Leave to Remain in the UK.

In June, Saira, 25, was over the moon to find out her four-year-long quest to be granted a Leave to Remain visa had been granted . . . until she realised her parents and sister had lost their plea to stay.

She described the outcome as ‘crushingly disappointing’ and ‘confusing’ and says she feels her family is being ripped apart.

Following the decision their solicitor Usman Aslam vowed to keep fighting for the family.

Tomorrow the trio of Saleems will find out their fate at an appeal held at Glasgow High Court.

And they have huge support.

First Saira’s school friend, and our chief reporter, Amanda Kennedy started a petition for the family, gaining nearly 150,000 signatures and this week Scotland’s First Minister pledged to support the family’s plight to stay.

They met her on Monday during her Dumfries visit.

Meanwhile, MSP Emma Harper has been aiding the family and tomorrow the politician’s head of office, Scott McElvanney, will attend the Saleem family’s appeal.



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