Ailing 92 year old Facing Forced Removal From UK
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Myrtle Cothill is a frail 92-year-old South African lady. She is at risk of being removed by the Home Office to a country where she has nobody to look after her and nowhere to stay. Myrtle has been living with Mary Wills, her British 66-year-old daughter who is also a qualified carer, since her arrival in the UK in February 2014. I am Myrtle's barrister and I have launched this petition on behalf of her to call on the Home Office to grant Mrytle leave to remain in the UK.
Suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and macular degeneration causing sight loss, Myrtle cannot walk unaided, has a chronic cough, poor vision, is hard of hearing and is experiencing increasing confusion. She is unable to care or cook for herself and relies on her daughter Mary for emotional and physical support: Mary helps her mother with her personal care, housework, cooking and shopping.
Mary and her 61year old British husband David, cannot move to South Africa to look after her mother there as they have no right to live in South Africa. David is also ill and unable to travel, suffering from Parkinson’s disease and COPD which severely affects his mobility and breathing. Both David’s and Myrtle’s medical conditions are degenerative and likely to deteriorate further in the future.
Like any good daughter and wife, Mary deeply loves her husband and her mother and just wants to take care of them. However, the Home Office has refused Myrtle leave to remain in the UK and is expecting the 92-year-old to return to South Africa on her own. This would rip the family apart and leave them broken-hearted. The Courts have felt unable to overturn the Home Office decision, relying the stringent nature of the current Immigration Rules on adult dependent relatives (see below for detail).
“My mother just cannot live on her own,” says Mary, “and emotionally, to her as well as for myself, it would really tear strips out of our heart and probably would kill my mother (and maybe myself as well).”
The present immigration rule on adult dependant relatives introduced in 2012 makes it almost impossible for British citizens to bring their elderly parents to live with them in the UK in their declining years.
Those like Mary who want to help and do the right thing have to deal with the wedge this immigration rule drives between them. It breaks up families like Myrtle’s, Mary’s and David’s, leads to unspeakable heartache and undermines the very essence of family values.
We call on the Home Office and the Government to:
1) Grant Myrtle Cothill leave to remain in the UK to live out what days she has left under the care of her daughter;
2) Reverse the amendment of the immigration rule on adult dependant relatives which came into force in July 2012 radically changing the previous rule (which was in place for over 40yrs) which allowed British nationals and other settled persons (i.e. persons with indefinite leave to remain) to be joined by their parents/grandparents aged over 65yrs if they could be accommodated and financially supported by their children/grandchildren without reliance on the public purse.
3) Reinstate the previous immigration rule on family reunion to enable others like Myrtle to be granted leave to remain in the UK.
Footnote  The new immigration rule only allows British citizens, and other (non-EU) settled persons, to be joined by relatives where the long-term care they require is either not available or not affordable in their country of residence, but privately payable by them in the UK – this means that the only family members who will be allowed to join their families in the UK will be those who live in countries where medical care is more expensive than in the UK or entirely non-existent.
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