Prejudice in Zimbabwe against a disabled applicant and our success story

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
18 May 2021

We have assisted a Zimbabwean national to enter the UK under Article 8 on the basis of his private and family life.  This applicant made an application to join his mother who was relocating to the UK under the ancestry route, and despite the fact that he was an adult, as a result of mental illness, he was not able to give us instructions or to have conduct of his immigration affairs.  We have argued that if he was to remain in Zimbabwe alone he would be at grave risk due to his medical condition, as a member of a white minority and unable to access appropriate care without social and family support.  We have provided medical evidence that following the applicant’s father’s death both himself and his mother were unable to stay in Zimbabwe alone due to the increasingly insecure and destabilised country conditions.   We have highlighted the concerns that in light of Covid there would be no one who would be able to look after him in Zimbabwe if the mother was to relocate to the United Kingdom as she had a right to do so. We provided evidence that those with disabilities are not socially accepted in Zimbabwe and there is a lot of stigma surrounding mental health as it is thought of as witchcraft.  We argued that both the mother and the son wished to relocate to the UK as they were unable to remain safely in Zimbabwe without immediate family to support them and there are no suitable facilities to look after the applicant in Zimbabwe. 

We argued the case outside the Rules, but also under the Adult Dependent Relative route.  The application was successful and the applicant was granted leave for five years, in line with his mother’s permission to enter the UK under the ancestry route.  The reason that this case, and its victory, was so important is because we managed to show a disproportionate interference with the applicant and his mother’s Article 8 rights in these particular circumstances.  There were no particular provisions for him to enter the UK as none of the people he was dependent on had settled status in the UK. However, we managed to persuade the entry clearance officer that the relevant country conditions and their prevailing traditions in Zimbabwe amounted to exceptional circumstances in this case.   We are satisfied that we have served him well, given his increasing vulnerability and his disability, and the fact that he was unable to care for himself in conditions of isolation and in the unstable country he found himself in.