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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

Media pressure saved my clients from removal – but now come the crippling fees

28 February 2019 John Vassiliou Personal Immigration

In our most recent contribution to the Free Movement blog, John Vassiliou discusses why he took a client’s appeal to the media instead of the immigration tribunal for the first time in his career. 

Mozaffar Saberi and Rezvan Habibimarand are an elderly Iranian couple (83 and 73) living in Edinburgh with four adult British children, 11 British grandchildren and a British great-grandchild. 

The Home Office, naturally, wanted to send them back to Iran. Amelia Hill of the Guardian took on the story, running a piece on 18 January. The family’s plight went on to generate saturation media coverage, the support of various politicians and 128,000 signatures on a public petition. On 11 February the Home Office confirmed that it would be granting the couple leave to remain.

Sadly, not every family at the mercy of Home Office intransigence can count on Sky News coverage or questions raised in Parliament.

Nor is this quite the end of the road for Mr Saberi and Mrs Habibimarand.

For further details about how the case continued, the burden of Home Office visa fees, and the wider problem of how we treat adult family members of British citizens within our immigration system, you can read the recent post on the Free Movement blog.

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