South West Wales

Swansea family's 'delight' that they can stay in Wales

A family has won a seven-year fight to stay in Wales after fleeing Pakistan.

George William, 61, said he, his wife and daughter could "sleep peacefully" at night now they have been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Friends and neighbours in Swansea campaigned on their behalf after they were twice within hours of being deported.

The family fled, claiming harassment due to their Christian beliefs.

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency confirmed they had been granted indefinite leave to stay.

Mr William, a volunteer with Oxfam, said: "We are delighted and very thankful to everyone who supported us."

The charity has said he and his family fled from Pakistan due to harassment and persecution because of their Christian beliefs.

In 2004 they settled in the Penlan area of Swansea as asylum seekers but were twice sent to a detention centre for deportation before supporters helped secure their release.

Mr William, his wife Veronica and daughter Cynthia, 21, have been told they can stay.

Mr William also has two sons, who are living in Pakistan.

In 2007 pupils at Bishop Vaughan School, where Cynthia was a pupil, staged a protest to highlight her case.

'Special day'

"When we were in the detention centre it was a very worrying time," said Mr William.

"Now we can sleep peacefully. We are very pleased."

"We have always been [made to feel] welcome in Swansea.

"We are very grateful to everyone who supported us and to the Home Office for granting us indefinite stay."

Mr William, who volunteers part-time at the Oxfam store in Swansea, said he now planned to apply for full British citizenship.

"We can now plan for the future. I will be proud of being a citizen of Great Britain.

"That will be a special day for me and my family."

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