Published on 31st July 2020 at 17:05.
At We Stand With Goodluck, we are truly encouraged by the support and mobilisation around Anugwom Izuchukwu Goodluck’s story.
After learning of Goodluck’s plight, Sussex University Students' Union officers, students, friends of Goodluck, members of Sussex UCU, and Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) came together in an effort to coordinate and unify attempts to support Goodluck and to discuss and plan further actions. Through the diligent casework experience of URBC, we came to better understand Goodluck’s immigration problems.
Goodluck came to the UK on a Tier 4 Student Visa in September 2018, as a taught Postgraduate student at the University of Sussex, studying International Relations. Goodluck’s student visa was set to expire in January 2020. Instructed by a solicitor, Goodluck put in an application for leave to remain (LTR) under human rights grounds. Goodluck’s mother, older sister, and older brother are British citizens and live in London and are his only immediate family. Goodluck did not want to be separated from his family again. This, and his previous solicitor’s advice, is why Goodluck put in an application for LTR.
Unfortunately, the Home Office rejected Goodluck’s application for LTR. Because of the current draconian immigration regime, they have also denied him the right to appeal this decision.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Goodluck applied for a visa extension that was granted in May 2020. Under the stipulations of this visa extension, he would have to leave the UK before 31 July 2020.
Nigeria, like so many other countries, is still in lockdown. Nigerian airspace is not open to international flights at the present time. We think it is cruel and dangerous for Goodluck to be forced to leave his mother, sister, brother, and friends that he has made in the UK for a very precarious and difficult situation in Nigeria, especially during the global pandemic. However, we also want to reiterate that Goodluck is not being deported by the Home Office.
Unfortunately, we may have hastily come to this incorrect conclusion before speaking and learning more about Goodluck’s immigration situation. For a deportation to occur, Goodluck would have to be detained by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI), placed in a detention centre, and given clear notice that he is going to be deported back to Nigeria. At this very moment, this is not the situation that Goodluck is in.
The issue is that Goodluck’s extension visa is about to expire and he is required to voluntarily leave the UK before 31 July 2020. The Home Office may issue another visa extension to those who are unable to return home because of flight restrictions as a result of Covid-19.
As we have stated earlier, currently there are no direct flights from the UK to Nigeria. Direct flights between the UK and Nigeria resume on the 8 August 2020. We want to ask the Home Office, if Goodluck is to leave the UK, that he is able to do so with every guarantee to his safety during this global pandemic.
As with immigration matters, we recognise that Goodluck’s situation may change. For this reason, we have decided to pause our current campaigning activities to rethink how to support Goodluck as his situation evolves.
Currently, he is receiving advice from an immigration solicitor that URBC has put him in touch with, to identify what options he has. In the meantime, we will keep people posted as to what they can do to support Goodluck.
We are committed to ensuring that we frame our campaign in the most helpful and supportive way possible and that any attempt to support Goodluck does not compromise his case.
We Stand With Goodluck
University of Sussex Students’ Union Officer team
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