Aysha has a history of physical abuse and forced prostitution back in her country which lasted for about 5 years. She was referred to the Women’s Project by Refugee Council in November 2015, following the identification of ongoing support needs around difficulties in dealing with her trauma symptoms and the pressure that her insecure immigration status was having on herself.
Aysha presented as a very distressed individual. Whilst she outwardly appeared resilient, she was experiencing significant depression and high levels of anxiety. She did not sleep well and suffered from intense headaches as well as pains in her body. She was often very upset and found it hard to manage the stress she was experiencing. This was due to her unsecured immigration status and as a result, lack of stability with regards to her housing and financial situation. Aysha also had no family in this country and despite having some friends, remained someone who benefited from very limited emotional support in her day to day life.
Aysha has been receiving 1-1 counselling with our counsellor since November 2015. During therapy it became apparent that she was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, severe depression and anxiety.
Aysha’s asylum claim was refused in March 2016. In our opinion her lawyer did not represent her appropriately; therefore, in collaboration with another organisation that was supporting her in South London, we found a legal-aid lawyer who submitted a fresh claim for her. Our involvement in her case was substantial. Her counsellor was asked to write in-depth reports about her mental and emotional state and her lawyer decided it was important that her counsellor give her specialist opinion to the judge at the trial. We made sure that the whole process was safe for both the client and the counsellor.
We are glad to report that Aysha was given two-year leave to remain. Her lawyer is confident that her leave to remain will be renewed and she will be allowed to stay in the UK indefinitely. The judge saw her case as trafficking (internal) and stated that her going back to her country was at risk of being trafficked again. Our client took some time to realise that her ordeal was over and, once she got the official written decision from the judge, she organised a big party to celebrate the good news with all the people that supported her.
We assisted a refugee from Iran whose original Asylum & Humanitarian Protection claim based on his Bahai faith was refused in April 2007, but allowed at appeal on both bases in August 2007. Unfortunately due to his serious mental health problems he failed to subsequently apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain on completion of 5 years as a Refugee and was therefore a person unlawfully present in the UK and unable to access benefits or work. Mizra's mental health was continuing to suffer as result of the uncertainties in his life. We assisted him to make an out of time application for Indefinite Leave to Remain which relied in large part on an expert report from the doctor treating his mental health conditions which were diagnosed as delusional disorder. He had been admitted to a mental health unit previously with psychotic symptoms.
The doctor gave details of his medical history, the treatment being given to him, effect on his mental health if his application were to be refused and future prognosis if treatment were to be stopped or appropriate treatment not given if he were to be returned to Iran.
This evidence was important both in making the case to the Home Office that Indefinite Leave to Remain should be granted and why it was not applied for earlier. The application was successful after a significant delay. We ourselves have seen his improved mental health and his improved well-being. We have also helped him to apply for a travel document to allow him to visit his daughter who is currently residing in Europe. He was granted this just recently and is very grateful for the help and support he received from LRMN.
LRMN was approached by Just for Kids Law to assist Botwe* to make an application as a young person aged between 18 and 25 years on the basis of his Private Life as he had spent over half his life in the UK. NA came to the UK in October 2006 and despite his family trying to regularise their status for over 11 years had been unable to do so. He had completed his primary and secondary schooling and could not continue to University due to his lack of status.
His entire future was on hold. LRMN made detailed representations on his behalf in September 2017 including an explanation of why his date of birth varied between his birth certificate and 1 of his passports. After submitting evidence in support of this and an 11 month wait, NA was finally granted leave. He was very pleased and proudly attended our offices to collect all of his documents with his father (who has himself been a victim of bad quality immigration advice) and a large cake!
Sofiya is Lithuanian. She has learning difficulties. She was trafficked to the UK in or about 2003 to work as a prostitute. She managed to escape. Over the years she has formed several relationships and had 2 children. Unfortunately, the relationships with the fathers of the children did not work out. Because of her learning difficulties, Sofiya could not look after the 2 children. One was looked after by the parents of the father and the other is in the care of the local authority.
Because of her vulnerability, PR lives in social housing. She was getting Employment Support Allowance (ESA) but that was stopped because, as an EU national, she did not have a permanent right to reside. Sofiya did not want to go back to Lithuania because she wanted to maintain contact with her children, who are still very young. As she had no money and so her rent was not being paid, the landlord started possession proceedings.
To support her, we referred her to our Training and Employment programme to help her find employment. This was a struggle because of her learning difficulties, but she now has a job giving out free newspapers at stations.
*All of the names in these case studies have been changed to protect our clients' identity