Having won a reprieve from the Home Office asylum seekers from Yemen can remain together in Britain.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, under new post-Brexit plans following the UK’s departure from the EU, had announced that anyone arriving in Britain seeking asylum should be returned to the first safe country they entered from.
A Yemen father arrived by a flight from a Gulf state, after he obtained a visitor visa, and claimed asylum. His three sons, Hamzeh 26, Hassan 24, and Hazem 22 made an overland journey that took them almost a year which culminated in them taking a dangerous boat trip across the English Channel using people smugglers.
The father Hussein admitted he felt very concerned about their survival and felt guilty that his journey was so much easier. The four were finally reunited and housed together in Manchester by the Home Office. The family proceeded to learn English through a scheme set up by the Prince’s Trust charity for young people, and were volunteering for Fair Share, a charity giving food to the poor.
Shortly afterwards however, the three sons were detained by the Home Office and told they would be taken to Spain, a country deemed safe, that they had travelled through on their route to Britain.
In the past week, however, the Home Office changed its decision, determining that the family’s case will be heard together. The outcome of the case is expected in the coming months but lawyers have been warned that if the application fails then the family will be returned to Yemen.
Their solicitor, Hannah Baynes said: “My clients are Yemini nationals and so the Home Office will consider their asylum claims based on their risk on return to Yemen. I am pleased that there will now be progress in our clients’ asylum claims, which had previously been put on hold while the Home Office sought to return our clients to Spain”.
The Home Office told her firm, Duncan Lewis Solicitors, that the decision had been made “due to their individual circumstances”.
Ms Baynes welcomed the decision not to break up the family. “This is absolutely right because it keeps families together who’ve been through difficult circumstances. We very much welcome the fact that their asylum cases are now going on in the same country as their father”.
There is a suggestion that the Home Office did not extradite the sons due to Coronavirus travel restrictions before the end of the Brexit transition period in January.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “It is an established principle that those in need of protections should seek asylum in the first safe country that they enter and not put their lives at risk by making unnecessary and dangerous onward journeys to the UK. Our new plan for immigration will overhaul our asylum system and make such claims inadmissible”.