Father relieved after winning six-year residency battle to care for British-born son

A Pakistani national has said he is “relieved that at last justice has prevailed” after the Supreme Court ruled he should be entitled to reside in the UK because he is the main carer for his young son.

Adil Shah, 33, has been embroiled in a six-year legal battle with the Home Office after his application for the right to reside in the UK because his son, now six, is a British citizen was refused.

He said that, as he looks after his son while his wife – who is also a British citizen – is in full-time work, his son would also be forced to leave the UK if he was deported.

In December 2017, the Court of Appeal found that Mr Shah’s wife, Sanya Ahmed, would have been able to look after their son, who would therefore not have been compelled to leave the UK.

But, in a unanimous ruling delivered on Monday, the Supreme Court (pictured) upheld Mr Shah’s appeal, finding that his son “would be compelled to leave with his father” if he was deported.

In a statement after the ruling, Mr Shah said he was “happy and relieved” at the decision, having “gone through so many stressful and hard times” over the last six years.

He said he had missed the funerals of both his mother and his father, which were held in Pakistan in 2017, adding: “It is very stressful to live in uncertainty.”

Mr Shah’s solicitor, Mohammad Islam Khan, of Lincolns Solicitors, said: “Today’s ruling is a welcome precedent for similar cases in the future, and paves the way for a very humane, fair approach in decision-making where British children are involved.”

Civil rights group Liberty, which intervened in the case, welcomed the ruling as “a victory for children’s rights to stay with their parents”.

Lara ten Caten, a lawyer with the group, said: “The Home Office’s attempt to deport a father and primary carer was not only cruel, it was counter-productive.

“The Supreme Court decision hopefully means the Home Office will not try to separate families in this way ever again.”

However, Ms ten Caten added that it was “devastating” that a similar appeal heard by the Supreme Court at the same time had been dismissed.

Nilay Patel, a 33-year-old Indian national, applied for the right of residence in the UK as the primary carer for his ill parents, both of whom are British citizens.

He argued that his training in administering the dialysis treatment his father required for end-stage kidney disease meant that his father would be compelled to move to India with him if he was deported.

But Mr Patel, who lost at every step of his legal battle, had his appeal dismissed by the Supreme Court on Monday.

In her ruling, Lady Arden said “it will only be in exceptional circumstances” that a national of a country outside the European Economic Area would have a right of residence through a “relationship of dependency” with an adult citizen.

Ms ten Caten said: “It’s devastating that in the same hearing a son lost his appeal and will be torn from his disabled parents who depend on his care.

“This was not just about the rights of carers who have built a life here, but the rights of the people who need them to live their lives in the UK with dignity and stability.

“These cases are stark examples of the human cost of the Government’s cruel hostile environment.

“We need an immigration system that treats everyone with humanity and dignity, and protects the rights of children and disabled people, as well as their carers.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Fiona Hansen / PA Wire.