South Scotland MSP Emma Harper, who has been heavily involved in lobbying the UK Government to allow the Sbita family – Mr Lassaad and Mrs Hela Sbita, as well as their 4 children – to remain in the UK, is relieved that after years of battling with the UK Government, the family have now finally been granted leave to remain in Scotland by the Home Office.
The Sbita family, who have resided in Dumfries & Galloway for several years, were repeatedly refused their Right to Remain in the UK simply because they were unable to afford the fees required by the Home Office to process their application.
After lobbying the UK Government and raising the issue with Scotland’s First Minister, and with support from the Scottish Government’s Minister for Migration – Ben MacPherson MSP, the South Scotland MSP persuaded the UK Government to overturn the decision to deport the family and to waive the deplorable fees of almost £8,000, and allow the Sbita’s to remain in Dumfries – which is where they call home.
Commenting, Ms Harper said:
“I am extremely pleased to hear today that the Sbita Family will be allowed to continue to live, and indeed now work and study in Scotland, which is where they call home.
“The family, who have become integrated members of their community in Dumfries and whose children attend school here, have just been the latest victims of the hostile environment in the UK Home Office, a hostile environment which must end sooner than later.
“I would like to put my thanks on record to the family who have shown enormous strength and determination for a number of years to fight for their right to live, work and study in Scotland. I also thank the First Base Agency and charity MOOL in Dumfries for helping the family financially and with essentials such as food and clothing during the time in which they were unable to earn money for themselves due to the restrictions placed on them by the UK Government.
“I wish the Sbita family every success for the future and am pleased that they are now able to get on with their lives here in Dumfries & Galloway.
“I would encourage any constituent who may be looking for any advice and support, or who would like an update on my work as your elected representative, to contact me at any time.”