Durham academics secure indefinite leave to remain in the UK

23 Mar 2018 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The Home Office has confirmed that Dr Schwartz-Marin and Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago have been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK following a review of their applications.

The couple were threatened with deportation after spending 270 days outside the country while completing humanitarian work in Mexico, which was confirmed by the Home Office to be a breach in their UK tier 2 work permit rules.

More than 70,000 people signed an online petition to reverse the decision, which would have resulted in the couple and their 11-year-old daughter being asked to leave the UK and their jobs.

Alongside a petition, Jolyon Maugham QC launched a legal challenge against the decision and a crowdfunding campaign raised more than £22,500 to cover their legal costs.

The couple’s humanitarian work, which caused the conflict in their UK tier 2 work permit, saw them build a DNA database to help located missing victims of violence in the region. However, this work meant Dr Schwartz-Marin alone was absent for more than 180 days in the past five years.

“Their case is very distressing on a personal level, but it also sets a dangerous precedent for other non-UK academics working in universities and doing humanitarian fieldwork abroad,” the petition read.


Commenting on the decision to reverse the decision, a Home Office spokesman said: “Following a review of the initial decision, Mr Schwartz-Marin has been informed that the applications of him and his wife for indefinite leave to remain have been approved.”