UK

Canadian domestic abuse victim Sandra Sidey can stay in UK

Domestic abuse victim Canadian Sandra Sidey Image copyright Sandra Sidey
Image caption Sandra Sidey moved to the UK in 2007 with her German partner and began to study a law degree

A Canadian woman who was told she could not stay in Britain after ending her relationship with a violent partner has won indefinite leave to remain.

Sandra Sidey, 33, was in the UK on an EU resident's card - as the partner of an EU citizen - but she lost the right to stay when they split up.

Ms Sidey's German ex-partner, who attacked her in 2010, was convicted and has now left the country.

The Home Office said applications were considered on their individual merits.

Ms Sidey's relationship with the German man started in 2005 and they moved to the UK in 2007.

They broke up after the December 2010 attack, during which he kicked her and hit her in the face. He was later convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

'Building a life'

Ms Sidey was part-way through a law degree at the time and did not expect to be told to leave Britain.

She told the BBC's World At One that, when her situation first arose, she "just couldn't believe how unfair the law seemed on it".

She added: "I just felt I shouldn't be in a position where I'm forced to leave the country I've been building a life in and forced to drop out of my university degree simply because I've been a victim of violence."

She chose to challenge the decision.

In 2012 an immigration judge ruled in her favour but the Home Office continued to contest the case until in December last year, when the Upper Immigration Tribunal said there was no basis not to grant Ms Sidey UK residency.

She has now received confirmation of her indefinite leave to remain.

Ms Sidey said: "The current legislation leaves the unmarried partners of EU nationals who are victims of domestic violence in a particularly undesirable position.

"They either feel trapped in an abusive relationship or they feel punished for leaving. Although the Home Office is seemingly taking steps to protect and assist victims of domestic violence, this is one area where they are failing."

The Home Office said the facts of individual cases, including compassionate circumstances, were considered in line with the immigration rules.

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