Edinburgh Rugby star Damien Hoyland’s Iranian grandparents granted leave to remain in the UK

Edinburgh's Damien Hoyland. Picture: SNS Group/SRU Bruce White
Edinburgh's Damien Hoyland. Picture: SNS Group/SRU Bruce White
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THE Iranian grandparents of Scottish rugby star Damien Hoyland have won their battle against deportation.

Mozaffar Saberi, 83, and Rezvan Habibimarand, 73, have been granted leave to remain in the UK by the Home Office.

Rezvan Habibimarand and Mozaffar Saber have won their battle against deportation. Picture: PA

Rezvan Habibimarand and Mozaffar Saber have won their battle against deportation. Picture: PA

Their case was previously raised in the House of Commons and more than 127,000 people had signed an online petition calling for the couple to be allowed to stay in the UK.

Mr Saberi and Mrs Habibimarand bought a flat in Edinburgh in the late 1970s and have four children, 11 grandchildren - including Edinburgh Rugby star Damien Hoyland - and a great-grandchild who are all British citizens.

READ MORE: Iranian couple living in Edinburgh threatened with removal from UK

The couple spent time in the UK on visitor visas over the years but after visiting in November 2012 they made an application to remain on human rights grounds which was refused by the Home Office.

A second application was also refused and they had been appealing against the decision, with the case due to be heard later this month.

The couple’s family and legal team previously spoke of the pair’s distress at the prospect of being separated from their family who all live in Edinburgh.

The couple also look after their severely autistic grandson who is non-verbal in order to help their daughter, an NHS nurse who is a single mother.

More than 127,800 people had signed a petition on change.org calling on the Home Office to allow the couple to stay in the UK and they have now been given leave to remain.

Last month, rugby player Hoyland issued an emotional plea for his grandparents’ case to remain in Edinburgh.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t tear my family apart’: Edinburgh Rugby star in plea to stop deportation of grandparents

He said: “It’s only really hit home today the idea that I might not be able to see them ever again. They’ve been a massive, massive influence, they’ve been there since I was very young.

“Ever since I can remember they’ve been around. I know they’ve been back and forth from Iran since I’ve been a young age, but it feels like they’ve always been here, always present.

“The thought of not having them around anymore is really horrible.”

A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed: “Following a review of the case, during which supplementary evidence was provided and considered, Mr Saberi and Mrs Habibimarand have been granted 30 months’ leave to remain.”

Writing on Facebook, their son Navid Saberi said: “You did it folks, you did it, thank you does not sound/feel enough but thank you. My parents will not be deported, just received the confirmation.

“Thank you for all your efforts, likes, shares and signatures.”

He continued: “I should thank John Vassiliou, our solicitor, and his team who stuck with us in the last six years and never gave up hope and kept us motivated.

“In addition, I would like to thank our MP Ian Murray who worked incredibly hard, raising the issue in the House of Commons and in the Council of Europe. He has been amazing.

“Many thanks also go to the Scottish Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development Ben Macpherson MSP and regional MSPs Alison Johnstone and Andy Wightman who all wrote letters on our behalf, and also to David Lammy MP and Diane Abbott MP for helping to raise the case’s profile on social media.”

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