'Exceptional' student faces deportation three months before graduation

A Sri Lankan student at Wales' Bangor University has avoided being deported by United Kingdom immigration services following a nationwide campaign against the ruling supported by her local member of parliament.

They were told their asylum application had been denied and they would be removed from the country. She was initially allowed to stay on her father's student visa, and was then allowed to complete her secondary school education in the United Kingdom after he died in 2011. "What we have to do now is send a pre-action protocol letter to the Home Secretary and give her 14 days to reply and consider the decision".

Her plight prompted a massive outpouring of support from politicians, leading clergy, top academics and the public - a petition organised by MP Amber Rudd raised more than 100,000 names in less than 24 hours.

Ms Satkunarajah has lived in the United Kingdom since she was 12 years old, when her parents fled the Sri Lankan Civil War.

"Since the campaign was launched on Friday I've received messages of support for Shiromini from across the country and I'm glad that Bangor University will now be able to welcome one of their best students back". However, unfortunately she was dragged from the university and taken to Yarl's Wood Detention Centre, along with her mother after being arrested by the Home Office.

She told the Guardian: "I feel great".

The question lies as to why this is happening all of a sudden after being living in the United Kingdom since she was 12 years, especially when she has only three months left for her degree. The petition had gathered 16,000 signatures.

A petition is now circulating online to help Shiromini and her mother. "At least let her finish that".

"If allowed to graduate she would be sure to be a valuable member of the workforce in what is a world-wide shortage subject". Her relative explained, "Our family is devastated.I don't want her dreams to be ruined".

Many parties have come out in support of Shiromini and against the Home Office's decision, including student groups and parliamentarians.

The Home Office told BBC that it does not routinely comment on individual cases, but added: "The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who genuinely need it and every case is carefully considered on its individual merits". Wales is her home.

Satkunajarah is on course to graduate with a first-class degree in three months. "It's a brutal thing to do at such a time in her educational experience", Smith said.

In the House of Commons on Tuesday, Mr Williams accused the Home Office of "dithering", criticising it for failing to give the case timely consideration.

But now, Shiromini has been granted a reprieve and will be able to stay int he country.

  • Leroy Wright