‘We’re overjoyed’: Family finally reunited in UK after fleeing Yemen | Immigration and Asylum | Daily News Byte


A refugee family have safely celebrated their first festive season together in two-and-a-half years after the Home Office dropped threats to deport three of them as they arrived in the UK on a small boat.

The Hareth family – mother, Ferdowz and father, Hussain, both 55, Hamzah, 27, Hassan, 25, Hazem, 24, and Azzam, 14, fled the war in Yemen, but had very different journeys and contrasting experiences to the UK. dealing with the home office even though their circumstances are similar.

All had fled the same war, initially living in a Gulf state after leaving Yemen and then fleeing the country after being threatened to return to Yemen.

Hussain obtained a visa to come to the UK, flew to Britain, claimed asylum and was granted refugee status. Ferdows and Azzam were later granted the right to join him in Manchester under refugee family reunification rules.

However, the three adult brothers, Hamzah, Hassan and Hazem, were unable to obtain visas to travel to the UK and therefore had no choice but to use smugglers, who charged them £3,000.

They were taken by smugglers on a complicated journey from Turkey to Ecuador and then on another flight from Ecuador to Spain. From there they went to Calais and on the third attempt crossed the Channel in a dinghy.

The Herath family reunited outside Manchester Airport for the first time in the UK
The Herath family reunited outside Manchester Airport for the first time in the UK. Photograph: Hareth family

At one point one of the three went overboard from the dinghy and was saved from drowning by his brothers. The journey for the three brothers took a year, while the journey for their parents and younger brother took hours. Hussain said he was overcome with guilt that his journey was so quick and easy while his sons’ journey was so long and dangerous.

A few weeks after the three brothers arrived in the UK in 2020, the Home Office arrested them, placed them in the Brook House immigration removal center near Gatwick and told them they would be forcibly removed to Spain – a safe country they had passed through. The UK way.

They got a last-minute reprieve and the Home Office agreed to reconsider their case in the UK rather than forcibly take them to Spain. Just before Christmas the brothers received news from the Home Office that the trio had been granted refugee status.

The family can celebrate the festive season together for the first time without fear of being forced apart.

“When the Home Office put us in a detention centre, we got a lot of support from charities and the British people. They really welcomed us. We are very happy now that we have received refugee status and our family can stay together,” Hassan said. “Our friends are urging us to throw a big celebration party and cook lots of meat and rice. We are now very proud to be part of the UK. We are planning a trip to London to see and meet Big Ben. We are very grateful to everyone who has helped us become human to human.”

Three brothers are now studying, two are volunteering with the charity FareShare and the third is volunteering as an Arabic interpreter with an advice charity.

The brothers’ lawyer, Hannah Baines of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, said: “I am delighted that, after two and a half years in the UK, Hamzah, Hassan and Hazem have been recognized as refugees by the Home Office. We are delighted that the whole family can now get on with their lives in the UK.”

The Home Office said: “We do not routinely comment on individual cases.”


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