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Palestinian Refugee Challenges UK Visa Denial Amid Gaza Crisis

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Palestinian Refugee Challenges UK Visa Denial Amid Gaza Crisis

(CTN News) – A Palestinian refugee is considering legal action against the Home Office for what he claims is a failure to give visas to his family in Gaza.

The Home Office denied the man’s plea to allow his wife and four young children to apply for visas without providing fingerprints.

Two of his children contracted hepatitis A, which the World Health Organisation said is spreading in Gaza.

The Home Office informed BBC News that it did not comment on particular instances.

“All applications are carefully considered on their individual merits and must meet the requirements of the immigration rules and published guidance,” a spokesman said.

A judicial secrecy order ensures that the man and his family remain anonymous for their own safety.

However, in a witness statement to the court, he stated that he “wanted to die” after hearing of the Home Office’s decision.

“I am so afraid that my family will be killed, they will be killed while I am away from them, and I will blame myself for not being able to bring them here,” the man went on to say.

People with refugee status can apply for family reunion visas, allowing their family members to join them in the UK without having to go through the asylum system.

Asylum Aid solicitor Anastasia Solopova, who is representing the family, told BBC News that they applied for these in December.

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For security concerns, most long-term British visa applicants outside of the UK must provide biometrics – fingerprints and a photograph – at a visa-application facility (VAC).

However, because there are no working VACs in Gaza, the family asked to be excluded from having to provide their fingerprints or to be allowed to go to Egypt to do so at a facility there.

In a denial letter obtained by BBC News, the Home Office informed the man that the government was “not able to assist with exit/entry requirements for a third country, where a person needs to travel to that country to… submit biometrics”.

The guidance, it says, “makes it clear that people must only apply for entry clearance if they can travel to the UK” .

Ms Solopova explained that the family could no longer submit their biometrics.

They had also filed a judicial review, requesting that a court evaluate the Home Office’s decision.

“We are challenging the decision in court – but the truth is that with every day of delay, our client’s family’s lives are put more in danger,” she said.

“The Home Office should never have made this unlawful decision, which could mean that our client’s wife and children could possibly die in Gaza without ever seeing our client again.”

Even before the present conflict, Palestinians struggled to leave Gaza via the Rafah crossing into Egypt.

They were required to register with the local Palestinian administration two to four weeks in advance and may have been rejected by either the Palestinian or Egyptian officials with little warning or reason.

And, since the current conflict began, Egypt has expressed reluctance to accept an influx of Gaza refugees.

In November, the Home Office collaborated with the Foreign Office to facilitate the evacuation of British and non-British families from Gaza across the crossing.

At the time, a team of Home Office employees was assisting visa applicants in Egypt.

People who are allowed to leave Gaza via the crossing can now obtain medical, consular, and administrative assistance from British Embassy workers in Cairo.

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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