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  1. ITV Report

Deportation risk for Dumfries family that can't afford Home Office application fee

Credit: Home Office

A Dumfries family is at risk of deportation because they can't afford the Home Office fee to process their application for remaining in the UK.

Their case was raised in the Scottish Parliament by South Scotland MSP Emma Harper at First Minister Question's yesterday.

The Sbita family, four of whom are under the age of 16, told Ms Harper they are having to report to police on a weekly basis and are unable to work, study or make money for themselves as they await deportation to Tunisia as a result of not being able to afford the £7,000 Home Office fee.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the case as "shocking and appalling."

She said: "I am hugely sympathetic to all those, and we're talking about many people here, who have real difficulties navigating the complex and the increasingly restrictive UK immigration rules.

"The Scottish Government welcomes, and we hugely value, people from all over the world who choose to build their lives here.

"Scotland is stronger because of our multiculturalism and non-UK citizens are an essential part, not just of our present, but also of our future."

Ms Harper said she had written to the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid, as well as Scotland's migration minister Ben Macpherson, in a bid to allow the family of six to remain in the country.

The fee to apply for leave to remain status is £1,033.

The First Minister added: "The UK Government's immigration system is not fit for purpose.

"We want to see a less restrictive, more humane system that meets our needs and also provides a welcoming environment for new Scots and their families.

"The migration minister will make representations to the Home Office and will respond to Ms Harper as soon as possible."