Home Office backs down over threat to deport Coatbridge mother

A blunder in the Home Office led to a family living in Scotland being threatened with deportation by mistake.
olha Merry, known as Olya, applied for residency in the UK in 2015olha Merry, known as Olya, applied for residency in the UK in 2015
olha Merry, known as Olya, applied for residency in the UK in 2015

Volha Merry known as Olya, was told that she could be deported back to Belarus if she did not leave the UK in early April.

The case on the back of the Windrush scandal, which threatened to deport the children of Commonwealth immigrants, was paused and reviewed after local MP Hugh Gaffney intervened on behalf of the family who live in Coatbridge.

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Now the Home Office has admitted to Mr Gaffney the threat of deportation was made by mistake.

In a letter to the Labour MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, immigration minister Caroline Noakes writes:

“Mrs Merry applied for permission to appeal the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber on 10 January 2018 and

8 March 2018; both applications were refused. Following this refused application, Mrs Merry was served with an enforcement notice, advising her of the liability to removal from the UK on 4 April. The Home Office apologises for issuing this notice in error; it will now be withdrawn and the reporting conditions set upon Mrs Merry will be cancelled.”

The admission comes after weeks of chaos and controversy for the Home Office admid scandals over the Windrush generation and immigration targets, with former Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigning late on Sunday night.

Ms Rudd was replaced yesterday by Sajid Javid, the son of a Pakistani bus driver who came to the UK in the 1960s.

Mrs Merry applied for residency in the UK in 2015 but her request was rejected by the Home Office. The 28-year-old, who was born in Belarus, was told that she didn’t meet the relevant criteria. After an exhausting two years of appeals the mother to two-year-old Milana, was told she would have to leave her home. But hours before she was due to report to an immigration centre last month, Mrs Merry was granted a reprieve while her case was reviewed.

Labour MP Hugh Gaffney said: “The important thing is that this Coatbridge family will not be broken up, however this error suggests a horrifying level of either incompetence or indifference in the Home Office.

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“This family chose to make Coatbridge their home. While it is wonderful news that they will remain together, something is clearly rotten in the Home Office.

“I have tabled questions to the Immigration minister asking for a review to be conducted on how many of these bogus notices have been issued.

“Sajid Javid clearly has his work cut out changing the culture of the Home Office – a culture of fear and hostility created by the Prime Minister.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has called on Mr Javid to recognise the country’s “unique” migration needs.

In a letter to the new Home Secretary, external affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop wrote: “I note the commitment that you made yesterday to a fair and humane immigration policy that welcomes and celebrates people who are here legally, people who have come in the past or who are looking to come and who want to do the right thing and contribute to our country. As part of that, I look forward to an early meeting with you to discuss the opportunities and ways in which Scotland’s unique migration needs can be recognised.”