The family of a pensioner who is facing deportation to her native South Africa has handed in a petition to 10 Downing Street, appealing for her to be give leave to remain in the UK.
Irene Nel, 73, has been told by the Home Office she must return to South Africa and an independent tribunal has since upheld that ruling. However, Mrs Nel’s family in the UK say she will die if she is deported because she has a kidney condition that requires dialysis – something that the South African welfare system does not offer to the over-60s.
Mrs Nel developed the condition a fortnight after arriving in the UK on a tourist visa in 2012 to stay with her daughter Desree Taylor in Bristol. Mrs Taylor has herself lived and worked in the UK for almost 20 years.
Mrs Nel’s medical insurance initially paid for her treatment, but since it ran out, she has been receiving her three times a week dialysis on the NHS.
She told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that she had arrived for her visit four years ago with a return ticket to South Africa and she had no intention of remaining in the UK. However, if she now returns, she will be on her own in the country with no one to care for her and no way of obtaining the lifesaving treatment she needs.
Daughter, Mrs Taylor, said: "I classify myself as British, we're taxpayers, we've paid into the Government and it's our responsibility to look after our parents.
"You're also facing the humane thing of sending her back. Imagine anyone putting their mum on a plane and saying 'bye bye' and two weeks away she passes away - because that's exactly what will happen."