Woman who faced deportation wins fight to stay in Scotland

Charity volunteer Chennan Fei came to the country legally and has lived in the UK for 16 years.

Battle: Martin Docherty-Hughes MP supported Chennan Fei in her fight to stay in Scotland.
Battle: Martin Docherty-Hughes MP supported Chennan Fei in her fight to stay in Scotland.

A Chinese woman who faced deportation from Scotland has won her fight to stay after a lengthy battle.

Charity volunteer Chennan Fei has lived in the UK for 16 years, but for the last five has been fighting Home Office attempts to send her to China.

The 30-year-old was due to face an immigration hearing in Glasgow on Thursday, however the ministerial department now intends to drop the case.

Usman Aslan, Ms Fei’s lawyer from Glasgow-based McGlashan MacKay Solicitors, said: “The Home Office have looked at the evidence and our representations submitted for Thursday’s big hearing and have withdrawn with a view to not only reconsidering their position but recommending a form of status for Chennan.

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“McGlashan MacKay Solicitors are delighted with this result as we have worked extremely hard to fight such an injustice. I’m glad that common sense has prevailed in the end.

“The support Chennan has had from the public, from SNP councillor Annette Christie and her MP has been phenomenal. We will never give up on our client’s cases.”

Living in Renton, West Dunbartonshire, Ms Fei came to Scotland at the age of 13 with her parents who were studying at Glasgow University.

Despite building her life in the UK, getting a degree at Edinburgh University and becoming engaged to a Scotsman, she faced deportation because her now-estranged parents did not renew their status with the Government.

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Last year a judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that officials attempting to send Ms Fei to China had not acted in accordance with the law.

More than 139,000 people have also signed a petition urging the home secretary to intervene to allow Ms Fei to remain in Scotland.

SNP councillor Annette Christie, who started the petition and received cross-party support following an immigration debate at a full Glasgow City Council meeting, is delighted with the U-turn.

She said: “I am overjoyed for Chennan and her fiance Duncan, it really is a Christmas miracle.

“For me this was always a clear cut case of injustice as a result of cruel inhuman immigration policies.

“That’s why I chose to start the petition for this young woman I am now privileged to call my friend.

“There is now almost 140,000 signatures on the petition calling for the Home Office to reconsider Chennan’s case and without this support I doubt that there would have been this dramatic about-turn.

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“The people’s voices have been heard and the message is clear – not only does Chennan belong in Scotland but it’s evident that public petitions really do work.

“Petitions can bring about change and influence government decisions.

“To all those who signed the petition I say thank you, you have shown what community empowerment really is. All power to the people!”

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP, who had condemned the Home Office’s “appalling treatment” of Ms Fei, was also happy with the development.

He told STV News: “This appears to be a very welcome U-turn by the UK Government, and I’m delighted that my constituent Chennan can now look forward to Christmas without the threat of deportation hanging over her.

“However, it’s a disgrace that it’s taken so long for the Home Office to come to its senses in this case.

“Chennan has lived in Scotland for more than half her life. She’s clearly a bright and talented young woman who has a lot to offer, yet my constituent has faced a long and difficult battle to remain in her home due to the hostile actions of the UK Government.

“The injustice of Chennan’s case has been demonstrated by the tens of thousands of people in Scotland and across the UK who have supported the campaign.

“I would urge the Home Secretary to act quickly. It’s vital that Chennan is given the certainty she needs so that my constituent can finally get on with building her life here in Scotland.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Legal proceedings are ongoing and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment.”


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