In a collaborative effort with Project Gambia: People Feeding People and members of NHS North Lanarkshire, Latta & Co Solicitors have managed to secure a rare medical visitor visa for 13-year old Muhammed this week.

Muhammed was sadly born without external ears and suffers from a severe hearing impediment which has left him almost fully deaf. Although Muhammed has managed to learn sign language and flourish at school, he has been unable to enjoy and share many of the experiences which his classmates and family have. Owing to his lack of external ear cartilage (meaning that traditional hearing aids were not suitable) and a lack of local treatment available, Muhammed was unable to receive the help he needed until now.

After identifying Muhammed through their work with his school in Gambia, local Scottish charity, Project Gambia: People Feeding People, vowed to help in any way they could. After contacting various doctors here in the UK and arranging for the life changing treatment to be completed free of charge, Project Gambia set to work making arrangements for Muhammed’s travel to the UK. However, like many unsuspecting individuals who have attempted to apply for what should presumably have been a straight forward visa, Project Gambia and Muhammed were shocked and disheartened to discover that their application had been refused.

Those members of the public who have been fortunate enough to avoid dealings with the Home Office’s Visas and Immigration department, would be forgiven for thinking that applying for a visitor visa would be a simple and undemanding process. However, for those who have such poor luck, it is apparent that the application process can be fraught with overly restrictive evidential requirements, incoherent rules and arbitrary refusal decisions.

Following the removal of the right to appeal against visitor visa decisions in 2013, refusal rates and the quality of decision making has markedly worsened. In keeping with the UK Government’s hostile attitude towards migrants in recent years, many applicants have been left bemused and disheartened, as family events go unattended, grandchildren are left unvisited and plans go unfulfilled. 

It was after a disappointment of this kind, that Project Gambia approached Latta & Co for assistance. As part of our comprehensive service, we were able to advise Project Gambia as to the relevant required documents, the correct format and substance of supporting evidence, and to draft detailed legal representations to accompany Muhammed’s application. The end result being a granted application.

Muhammed is now due to enter the UK in the following weeks to undergo the proposed minor surgery which will allow him to enjoy improved quality of life. We hope you will join us in wishing Muhammed the best of luck with his procedure!

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