Immigration directors Tamana Aziz and Zofia Duszynska were interviewed as part of the Law in Action series for BBC Radio 4 discussing the key issues that are faced by their clients when challenging decisions made by the Home Office.
Zofia’s client, Jermaine* is currently in the process of challenging a notice of deportation which was served on him by the Home Office shortly before he was released from prison. Jermaine was still a teenager when he was convicted. To be deported would be disproportionate in Jermaine’s case since he came to the UK from Zimbabwe at the age of 5 and has no known family there. The reason his family first applied for asylum in the UK is because they were exposed to persecution in Zimbabwe and Jermaine fears he would be subject to the same treatment were he to be sent back.
Zofia praised the UK judiciary system, saying how it gives faith to appellants seeking to challenge decisions by the Home Office since the immigration judges are independently acting in order to redress the balance.
She states: “Every case has to be considered based on its facts, every case is individual. If the child has been here since the age of 5, they’ve grown up in our environment, they’ve grown up with all the influences that a London child would come across – our schooling, our influences – and I think that it’s quite difficult to say that this person does not belong in this country anymore when perhaps the reasons why the crime was committed are from the environment they were placed in.”
Jermaine is now awaiting his final hearing which has been scheduled to take place this year.
Another client of Duncan Lewis instructed Tamana to appeal the Home Office’s decision to dismiss his application to sponsor his two sisters which would allow them to join him in the UK. It was only recently that Abdul* discovered that his sisters were still alive in Afghanistan and since they have no family to care for them there Abdul sought to have them come to the UK as his dependants.
After the Home Office refused Abdul’s application, Tamana challenged the decision which was made based on a lack of evidence that they were siblings. Without documentation, she advised Abdul to obtain DNA evidence that would support his application. Whilst the evidence did clearly indicate this, even after it was served on the entry clearance officer the decision was not over-turned and Abdul’s case did end up having to appear in the First-tier Tribunal. However, ultimately his appeal was successful and his sisters have been able to come to the UK.
Tamana explains why, despite the delays, she has confidence in the system to identify when mistakes have been made and that the independence of the immigration tribunals gives her clients a chance to get their case heard.
Tamana goes onto explain, “For my clients, when I advise them on what’s going to happen at the tribunal the first thing I tell them is: ‘look, you are going to be heard by an independent immigration judge who will make his own decision based on the facts, based on law and based on what you produce and what you say, so don’t be afraid. You’ve got a chance now to prove yourself, that you are right.’”
To listen to the full interview, please click the link below.
*Their names have been changed to protect their identity.