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  • Paul Nettleship

A Familial Story

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

“Sounds great to me. We all can't appreciate you enough.”

Simple words, but they tell an all too familiar story of frustration, and anguish, before eventual relief.

A brother separated from his siblings after fleeing from the Taliban, desperately trying to reunite with his three siblings, who were left behind in Afghanistan, desperate for hope and a decision from the Home Office.

The children were terrified by the takeover of the Taliban and the sponsor, consumed with worry. With financial support from the sponsor, the boys have undergone a traumatic journey to get to Pakistan, including being lashed at the border by border control, in order to make the application to join the sponsor, their only surviving close family member.

The sponsor, our client, grew up in a rural remote village in Afghanistan. Throughout his asylum claim, he consistently described a happy home life and a strong family unit with his parents and brothers, prior to the arrival of the Taliban in his area and the circumstances that led him to flee. After getting Refugee status in 2019, the sponsor thought that his application for family reunion would be straightforward, especially when highlighting their terrible situation back home in an application aided by the British Red Cross.

The Home Office agreed to make an urgent decision. That was last November. After that, nothing. The separation and anxiety for his brothers consumed our client. Months passed and despite repeated emails from the Red Cross to the Home Office, pleading for a decision, bureaucratic inertia and silence continued.

We were approached by the British Red Cross to assist.

After the Home Office ignored threats of proceedings, we issued proceedings, and a decision was made (to grant the family reunion Visas) within 2 weeks. The sponsor’s three brothers arrived in the UK last week.

Paul Nettleship, partner in the firm, instructed David Jones of Garden Court Chambers in these proceedings.

This case was typical of half a dozen we have taken on from the Red Cross in the last 3 months alone, in which the families of refugees have applied to join them in the UK and have been left waiting without decisions for many months. So far visas have been issued in 4 of the cases.

‘Human beings are social animals. They depend on others. Their family, or extended family, is the group on which many people most heavily depend, socially, emotionally and often financially. There comes a point at which, for some, prolonged and unavoidable separation from this group seriously inhibits their ability to live full and fulfilling lives.’

These are the words of the Supreme Court more than 15 years ago. If only the Home

Office would heed them.

If you need help with this sort of case, do contact us using the referral form.

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