Family facing deportation amass petition with 100,000 signatures

Claire, Peter, Marie, Chantal and Rene Dipnarine could be separated if their visa fees aren't waived. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Claire, Peter, Marie, Chantal and Rene Dipnarine could be separated if their visa fees aren't waived. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A desperate family has been left “overwhelmed” by support after their petition amassed 100,000 signatures with renewed hope that they avoid being deported.

Peter Dipnarine has lived in the Capital for 14 years with his wife and three children who all face deportation after their visas expired in November 2016. An inability to secure fixed-term employment as a result has meant the struggling family cannot afford the hefty £7,000 fee needed to secure their future in the city.

The close-knit family faces being ripped apart if they are ordered to leave the country with Peter, wife Claire, both 58, and son Rene, 28, of Trinidad and Tobago citizenship while daughters Chantal, 22, and Marie, 16, citizens of the United States.

Rene set up an online petition on Change.org in the hope of gathering support which would allow them to remain together as a family.

The Home Office has recently accepted the application for Rene to remain in the UK due to the family paying the required fees. However, the rest of the family continue to live a life of uncertainty, eagerly awaiting a decision on the family’s sixth application to waive the charges.

He told the Evening News: “I am overwhelmed with the level of support my family and I have had since starting this petition. If I could send them all a thank you card I would.

“We have all been through so much and it has been incredibly depressing not being able to live a normal life.

“My children should be able to focus on their studies and we should be able to work and have a good social life. Instead we’re scraping by each month because employers won’t take the risk because we may be forced to leave the country at any stage. It is no way to live. This must be happening to others in the UK and that’s why the government needs to act.

“If the level of support can help change government policies and reduce the cost of visa fees then that would be fantastic.”

Peter and Claire have both resorted to carrying out odd jobs in order for the family to get by, despite the pair having administration skills they believe are going to waste.

After gathering more than 100,000 signatures the family was hoping Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine could take the matter to be discussed in parliament.

But the UK government has said that because the petition was not started on the joint UK government and parliament petitions site the matter will not be considered for a debate in Westminster.

Peter added: “We should not be treated like this, especially when children are involved.

“Edinburgh is our home and we don’t want to go because we love it here.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “There are exceptions to application fees to protect the most vulnerable, such as for young people in the care of a local authority. Application fees are also waived where evidence provided shows that a person may be destitute, or where there are exceptional financial circumstances, and requiring a payment would result in a breach of rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.”