A Zimbabwean man who has been living in Scotland for 10 years has been ordered to leave the country with his family and return to Zimbabwe.
Then man, who could not be named, is a 40-year-old former activist with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and has a four-month-old daughter with his wife who has been in the country for 17 years.
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The couple’s child was born prematurely in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Speaking to a Scotland publication, the National, the Zimbabwean national said:
At first, I sought asylum here and they refused me several times because they said I didn’t have enough evidence. I gave as much evidence as I could.
I got married here last year and we had a child and I did an application on human rights grounds and they refused it again saying I should return home with my three-month-old child – but my wife has the right to remain in this country.
There’s only my elderly father there. The rest of my family’s in South Africa. They left because of the situation in Zimbabwe, where there’s a lot of turmoil.
For the Home Office to say I should return to Zimbabwe with a four-month-old baby is crazy. When I left I lost everything there so I’ve nothing to go back to.
Our child was born prematurely – my wife’s pregnancy was quite difficult. She’s on maternity leave for a year and she gets maternity pay so she’s having to work in other jobs to keep us going.
Martyn Day, SNP MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, has taken up the family’s case and has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel, urging a rethink under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. He wrote:
He was previously involved with African Colours and has an active involvement with the MDC … He does not feel it would be safe for him to return because of his political involvement with the opposition party and the fear of repercussions.
He has also made Scotland his home now and he has a wife and family in West Lothian.
Despite [their daughter] having Scotland as her land of birth she is also being asked to leave by the Home Office, which is quite frankly inhumane, and totally wrong to deny her the right to stay within Scotland with both her parents.
Day told the National that the UK’s ruling party, the Conservatives’ attitude towards immigration is shameful. He said:
The Tories’ one-size-fits-all attitude to immigration is simply unworkable and inhumane; we need a flexible, common system approach.
This is a devoted family, who have made their home in the UK yet the Home Office want father and daughter to return to Zimbabwe … despite the fact that the UK is the land of her birth, the only home she has ever known and would result in a loving family being torn apart.
Meanwhile, a Home Office (Ministry of Home Affairs) spokesperson said:
All claims are considered on their individual merits taking into account the available evidence and country information.