Case studies

A rare grant of discretionary leave

Penningtons' immigration team recently secured discretionary leave for a client whose circumstances meant that she did not qualify for long term leave to remain under any of the Immigration Rules.

The client, a talented young costume designer from Korea, completed her master's degree at the Royal College of Art in February 2008. Following her studies she was granted leave under the International Graduates Scheme until May 2009. In October 2008 she was working as a freelance costume designer at the world renowned National Film and TV School in London. Whilst finalising and checking the costume of one of the actors who was standing on a platform approximately three metres high, she took a step back for a better view of the costume. She fell backwards off the platform and lost consciousness on falling. When she regained consciousness she noticed a loss of sensation in both legs. She was initially rushed to the nearest hospital Accident and Emergency Department. The medical staff there realised the gravity of her injuries and she was transferred to the Spinal Cord Injury Centre (SCIC) at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore.

Our client's injuries are extensive. On admission to the SCIC she immediately had surgery on her back. It was discovered that the fall had caused her to suffer a traumatic spinal cord injury which has caused total and permanent paraplegia.

On the client's behalf we prepared an application for discretionary leave to remain in the UK. Applying for discretionary leave was the only option available to the client that could give her leave for more than one year. She did not qualify under any other immigration route for long term leave. The application was supported by compelling medical evidence as to the client's injuries, treatment and prognosis and also her ongoing personal injury claim. Seven months after the application was submitted to the UK Border Agency, the Secretary of State decided in these exceptionally compassionate circumstances to grant her discretionary leave outside the Immigration Rules, allowing her to stay for a further three years.

It is difficult to succeed in a discretionary leave application, which requires robust and highly persuasive documentary evidence in support. Our client in this case was delighted and hugely relieved that her immigration status is now secure for at least the next three years. This decision enables her to continue her rehabilitation treatment here from some of the best medical teams in the world.

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