Elderly Syrian Refugee in Turkey

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.
9 March 2020

We acted on behalf of an elderly Syrian refugee who lives in Turkey and has temporary leave to remain.  We argued that her medical condition means that her health will continue to deteriorate and that she will require the support of her refugee family in the UK.  The Immigration status in Turkey meant that she was not permitted to access free medical treatment. Her application to join her family in the UK was refused on 9th October 2019 and her appeal was heard in February 2020.  

The appellant’s daughter, the sponsor, attended the hearing and two of her other daughters also attended.  We had provided witness statements which were taken into account when reaching the decision. We described the efforts that the sponsor has taken to find alternative care for her mother in Turkey and the level of care that she currently receives and her day to day needs.  We have clearly demonstrated the level of need which is not being met and we submitted that if it was decided that the appellant does not satisfy elderly dependent Rules, her circumstances are “compelling and compassionate” and she should nevertheless succeed. 

The Judge found that the sponsor was a credible witness and was consistent and supported by documentary evidence.  He found that the appellant requires, as a result of illness and disability, long term personal care to perform everyday tasks and accepted that she suffers from medical conditions as outlined in the medical evidence obtained.  He found that her long term needs are not being adequately met based on medical evidence we obtained for her poor diabetic control and her poor wound care. The Judge accepted the sponsor’s evidence that she had made every effort to find alternative care but was unable to do so and that was supported by a report from a local doctor. 

In respect of availability of health care for the elderly in Turkey, the evidence referred to showed that there was no long term care insurance systems and long term care infrastructure is extremely scarce and the majority of care is provided within the family. 

The expert, Dr Fatah, noted the change in policy in that the Turkish Government’s previous open door policy to refugees from Syria has changed to one where President Erdogan has stated that Turkey cannot be expected to hold Syrian refugees forever and that they should return to Syria.  Dr Fatah noted that the public perception of Syrian refugees in Turkey is that they are burden on the state, that they have caused a deterioration in public services, which have led to an increase in price and have caused rising levels of unemployment. The Judge found that the appellant enjoyed family life in the UK with her daughters and her sponsor and found that there is an element of dependency by the appellant on the sponsor that goes beyond normal emotional ties expected between a parent and their adult child.  This is because of the appellant’s physical and emotional needs which are currently only adequately met when the sponsor is able to go and visit the appellant.