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Home Office U-turn lets woman stay in UK with husband and son

May 11, Colombo (LNW): A woman threatened with deportation and separation from her husband and 10-year-old son is celebrating after a Home Office U-turn allowing them to stay together.

The Home Office previously told Malwattege Peiris to leave the UK despite a court ruling that the family have the right to live together in the UK.

“We are so happy to have received this letter from the Home Office today changing their minds and saying that our family can stay together,” Peiris said. “Our son will be 11 in a few days and we will be having a double celebration.”

Peiris’s husband, Sumith Kodagoda Ranasinghage, an Italian citizen, was granted pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme (EUSS) in 2020. Peiris, who had Italian residency, and the couple’s son, Kevin, an Italian citizen, applied to join him under the EUSS family permit scheme.

The application was delayed by the pandemic and the Home Office refused it in April 2022, highlighting a lack of supporting evidence of the family relationship.

The family appealed to the immigration court, the first tier of the immigration tribunal, and a judge ruled in July 2022 that the family was genuine and had the right to live in the UK together. He said in his judgment: “This is a simple case whereby inadequate documentary evidence was provided at the time of the applications. Having heard a full explanation and having considered the original documents today, I find the appellants are close family members.”

The Home Office granted mother and son the right to enter the UK in December 2022 and confirmed the grant of the EUSS family permit in an email sent in May 2023. The following month Kevin received a further confirmatory letter from the Home Office and officials informed him he had the right to work, although he was only 10, and to access benefits including his pension.

In November last year Peiris received a further letter from the Home Office saying her case remained “under consideration”, despite the court having already granted her permission to live in the UK. In a further Home Office letter dated 7 February 2024 she was told she did not meet the requirements of the EUSS.

But after a legal challenge from the family’s solicitor, Naga Kandiah, of MTC Solicitors, against the Home Office’s failure to implement the tribunal’s decision, the Home Office granted Peirus pre-settled status in a letter dated to Friday.

Kandiah welcomed the move and condemned the previous failure to grant Peiris permission to stay. “This is a classic example of the Home Office misapplying the law and failing to implement tribunal decisions. This failure has had a disastrous impact on the family,” he said.

A Home Office spokesperson said officials did not routinely comment on individual cases.

THE GUARDIAN

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