Eraivan, a Sri Lankan Tamil, had fled his home after becoming at risk from the authorities and being imprisoned and tortured. His case came to us though a charity helping him with his rehabilitation. As he sought asylum here his wife and young son and daughter were becoming increasingly at risk from the authorities. When he was granted refugee status he immediately applied for visas for his young family to join him.
Administrative errors, bad luck and other issues meant it took 18 months for him to secure the visas. The family spent all they had travelling to and from Columbo to make appointments at the visa office.
There was no way Eraivan would have been able to find money for the flights. Although he’d been able to work in the UK for 18 months he was still very much suffering the after effects of his treatment in Sri Lanka and was physically unable to work.
We took the case and arranged for the family to fly to the UK. Eraivan was very anxious about his wife travelling alone, on an airline where no one could speak Tamil and having to transit in Dubai. We drew up a prompt sheet with pictures for her and questions written in English such as ‘Can I have a glass of water’. We went through the trip in great detail with him so he could explain to his wife what to do.
He had a lot of practical arrangements to deal with so the charity supporting him arranged for him to have a hot meal in the house for their arrival and we collected some warm clothes for his family and toys for the children.
The flight got in to London and Eraivan lived in the North of England. We arranged a taxi for her from the airport and sought out a company that had a Tamil speaking taxi driver so she’d be able to communicate with the person meeting her at the airport. They were quickly back with him and reunited at their new home.