An Eritrean asylum seeker and a London-based migrant charity are still waiting for a visa and evacuation assistance a month after it was approved.
Ending a process that began in November 2021, an Eritrean man has successfully won an appeal against the Home Office’s decision to refuse his brother a visa but his caseworker says that more than a month after the judge sided with the charity, they are still waiting.
The appellant is currently hiding in the Sudanese capital Khartoum and has waited over a year for the Home Office to approve his application to come to the UK under the family reunion scheme.
Alice Giuliato a caseworker for the Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL) said both brothers fled Eritrea to avoid conscription into the army.
The unaccompanied minor needs evacuation but Khartoum is currently regarded as being ‘closed’ according to the British government.
Giuliato claimed the Home Office’s position when challenging the appellant’s visa application was partly based on one argument in particular.
Home Office lawyers suggested the appellant could return to Eritrea and had no reason to be in Sudan in the first place meaning there was not sufficient exceptional circumstances that meant he had to come to the UK, Giuliato said.
This shocked Giuliato since Human Rights Watch have designated the conscription system in Eritrea as “slavery-like” since 2019.
The judge’s decision was made on the spot and his written ruling was delivered the next day.
The process of evacuating the minor is fraught with difficulty such as going to the visa office in Khartoum to collect his documents, which is currently closed due to the conflict.
Giuliato said the appellant was not injured but was struggling to find food.
The appellant has occasional contact with his brother via his mobile phone from Khartoum.
The UK government has claimed it brought nearly 2,500 people to the UK from Sudan by the beginning of May.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “All visa applications are carefully considered on their individual merits and in line with the immigration rules.”
RAMFEL currently has nine other cases in Sudan, some at appeal, other at the visa stage and is preparing itself for the complexities of bringing the appellants to the UK.
Feature image credit: Julie Ricard