Kent Law Clinic helps reunite Eritrean man with his mother for first time in five years

A young Eritrean man in Kent has been reunited with his mother for the first time in five years thanks to lengthy efforts by Kent Law Clinic to secure a visa that has enabled her to come to the UK.

The young man fled from indefinite national service in Eritrea at the age of 14, making a perilous journey to the UK via Libya and the Mediterranean Sea. He was placed in the care of Kent Social Services and was eventually granted refugee status in the UK.

Shortly after he fled, his mother was also forced to flee her home in Eritrea and ended up in a refugee camp in Sudan.

Now a young man of 18 with serious health problems, he approached Kent Law Clinic when he was 17 to seek help with making an application to bring his mother to the UK.

Clinic Immigration Caseworker Richard Warren said: ‘We first made application in early 2018 but although many EU countries have a rule which permits family reunion with parents for unaccompanied children, no such rule exists in the UK.  We applied outside the rules relying on Article 8 of the European Court of Human Rights – the right to family life.

‘The application was refused and we appealed. It took about a year to come to court. In the meantime, his mother had tried to leave Sudan but had ended up detained for a period of time in a prison camp on the Libyan border.’

The Law Clinic finally won their appeal at the beginning of 2019. The judge accepted the compelling facts of the case as presented by Clinic Immigration Solicitor Sheona York and agreed that a visa could be issued.

Although the Home Office did not seek to appeal, they took no action with respect to issuing the visa and failed to respond to emails from the Clinic team. After several months, the Clinic threatened further legal action by judicial review. The visa was finally issued and the client’s mother arrived in the UK last Saturday.