Orphaned schoolboy should be granted full citizenship, says MSP
19 July 2018, 06:42 | Updated: 19 July 2018, 06:47
An MSP has called for a 10-year-old schoolboy whose mother died while applying for asylum to be granted full citizenship.
The SNP's Bob Doris has written to Home Secretary Sajid Javid urging the Home Office to take further action over the case of Giorgi Kakava.
He and his mother Sopio Baikhadze fled Georgia for Scotland seven years ago and were awaiting the outcome of an appeal for asylum in the UK when she died in February after a long illness.
The 10-year-old faced deportation but was granted leave to remain in Glasgow for the next two-and-a-half years with his grandmother Ketino Baikhadze while they submit a fresh application for asylum.
The family's case has been championed by Mr Doris, alongside the Church of Scotland and Springburn Parish Church Minister Brian Casey.
Mr Doris, who represents Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, said: "Stories like Giorgi's are unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg under this Tory Government, whose default position is to threaten deportation until bad press coverage forces them to think again.
"While the temporary reprieve is welcome news, potential deportation threats - especially at such a young age and at such a crucial stage in his education - should not hang over Giorgi and his grandmother.
"The Home Office must urgently grant them both full citizenship in the only country Giorgi has ever known as home.
"It's simply not good enough for a government to care so little about people's lives. We need the full devolution of immigration to Scotland. We cannot continue standing by while the UK Government shows such a lack of compassion and common sense on immigration."
Rev Casey said he hoped the temporary reprieve was not "a cynical attempt to kick the ball down the park".
He said: "I agree wholeheartedly with Bob Doris and urge Home Secretary Sajid Javid to grant them both a permanent right to remain in the UK.
"Giorgi is a settled member of our community and is happy and comfortable studying at his school and being involved in a number of after-school activities.
"To move him would simply be barbaric."
More than 70,000 people signed an online petition calling for the Home Office to allow the family to stay in Glasgow and the schoolboy's case was raised in the House of Commons and at Holyrood.
The Home Office said all UK citizenship applications will be considered on their individual merits.
A spokeswoman said: "The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection.
"Ms Baikhadze and her grandson Giorgi have been granted discretionary leave to remain in the United Kingdom."