Glasgow orphan wins right to stay in Scotland after Home Office battle

A Glasgow orphan whose mother’s dying wish was that he “grew up a Scottish boy” has been told he can stay permanently in Scotland after a 10-year battle with the Home Office.

Giorgi Kakava, 13, with the memorial tree for his late mother, has been told he can remain in Scotland after a long battle with the Home Office. PIC: Church of Scotland.
Giorgi Kakava, 13, with the memorial tree for his late mother, has been told he can remain in Scotland after a long battle with the Home Office. PIC: Church of Scotland.

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Giorgi Kakava, 13, can continue to live in Glasgow as long as he wants after the Home Office finally granted him the right to remain indefinitely.

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His mum was awaiting the outcome of an asylum appeal when she passed away after a long illness in early 2018.

Giorgi with his Gran Ketino Baikhadze, who could still be forced to return to Georgia

It was her dying wish that her son remained in Glasgow and continued to grow up a “Scottish boy”.

Giorgi said a “big weight” had been lifted off his shoulders but he’s disappointed that his grandmother, Ketino Baikhadze, still faces an uncertain future.

She has only been given 30-months leave to remain and could still be forced to return to Georgia, a former Soviet republic.

Giorgi, who is in second year at Springburn Academy and arrived in the city when he was three, said:

Giorgi Kakava and his late mother, Sopio, who wanted him to grow up a "Scottish boy".

“It is good news because Glasgow is my home, I feel Scottish and If I got moved to Georgia it would be tough to cope without all my friends.

“But the decision is very unfair on my nan because we are very close and I do not know what I would do if she was sent away.”

Giorgi and his mother, Sopio Baikhadze, fled to Glasgow in 2011 because she feared that gangsters whom her late husband owed a debt to would either kill him or sell him to sex traffickers.

The 35-year-old worked as a freelance translator and spoke four languages.

The Home Office decision on Giorgi’s status comes after the Church of Scotland campaigned for nearly three-and-a-half years to ensure that he and his grandmother were not removed from their home against their will.

The case was championed by Rev Brian Casey, minister of Springburn Parish Church, who lobbied the UK and Scottish governments and launched an online petition which attracted 92,650 signatures.

Rev Casey arranged for a tree to be planted in the church garden in Sopio’s memory to give Giorgi somewhere to go to remember his mother after her body was repatriated to Georgia.

Asked how he has coped, Giorgi said: “I have felt stressed because it has always been in the back of my mind that something could go wrong and I might be sent away to a place I do not remember. But I was not scared because I have had people behind me.

“People in Springburn have been by my side helping throughout all of this, they are very kind and I will always be grateful.

“I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can move forward with my life.”

His Gran, Mrs Baikhadze, 61, said: “I live for Giorgi and as long as he is fine, I am fine as well.

“I would also like to thank everyone who has supported us.”

Bob Doris, MSP for Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn brought Giorgi’s plight to the attention of the Scottish Parliament and secured the support of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

He said: “Much heartache and worry could have been avoided some time ago had the Home Office simply moved quickly to provide certainty for Giorgi and his gran,” he added.

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