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Nurse who returned to Pakistan under threat of deportation was told the next day that asylum status is under review

Vicky Khokhar spent three years in a direct provision centre and during that time volunteered five days a week at a local nursing home.

Updated Aug 29th 2018, 6:41 PM

A LONGFORD NURSE who had been seeking asylum in Ireland returned to Pakistan on Monday and learned that his asylum status was under review the following day. 

Vicky Khokhar had spent three years in a direct provision centre while his status was pending and during that time volunteered five days a week at a local nursing home.

A petition was started to save Vicky from deportation and accumulated over six thousand signatures.

That petition, along with some 80 letters of support from members of his community in Longford made up the new submission which is now under review by the Department of Justice. 

Vicky’s friend Brian Flemming who started the petition told TheJournal.ie that the Department of Justice would update Vicky on his status by 21 September. 

“Until the Department of Justice makes a move he’s got to stick it out in Pakistan. 

“I’ve been in touch with his Pakistani friends here and I know that he’s made it back safely,” Brian said. 

According to Brian, Vicky had until 27 August to leave Ireland before he would face deportation and a ten-year ban from returning to the country. 

“It could have had implications for him in Pakistan too, it could have led to detention over there. 

“But really his intention was not to avoid anything it was to keep the hope alive that he can come back and work in Ireland.” 

On Monday before he boarded the flight to Pakistan, Vicky performed on the stage at the Abbey Theatre in a dance piece about deportation, hosted by the cast of Jimmy’s Hall.  

Brian said that Vicky told the audience to look out for the asylum seekers he was leaving behind. 

“His last words were guided towards other people, he was worried about his friends and people he had met in the asylum process over here. 

“That show is on again on culture night on the 21 September so we will have to do it without him,” Brian said.

The Department of Justice and Equality said it does not comment on individual cases but that deportation orders “are not served lightly”.

“Any person who is the subject of a deportation order will have been notified that they must leave the State,” the Department said in a statement.

“For those issued with a deportation order, the obligation is on the person to remove themselves from the State and it is only when they decide not to do so, is enforced removal [deportation] considered as a last resort.”

The statement said that full due process is carried out before a deportation order is handed down. 

“Each application is considered in detail and the applicant is given every opportunity to make their case at all stages of the process. It would be an abuse of the asylum system if those who do not qualify for refugee status were displacing asylum seekers who may qualify or who apply to come here through the various legal pathways open to non-EEA nationals.

“Indeed, it would undermine the entire immigration process if the asylum process was to be abused in this way.”

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Adam Daly

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