Smethwick: Deportation of 'kind aunty' fought by community

A community has rallied around an Indian woman who is at risk of being deported to a "derelict" house in India where she would be alone.

Gurmit Kaur, 78, travelled to the UK in 2009 to attend a wedding and Smethwick has been her home ever since.

Her appeal for indefinite leave to remain in the UK was rejected despite an online petition with over 65,000 signatures calling for her to stay.

A Home Office spokesperson said all applications are carefully considered.

The well-known figure is known locally as a "kind auntie" by the town's Sikh community who have adopted her.

After the wedding 11 years ago, Mrs Kaur initially stayed with her son saying she did not have enough money for a return ticket to Punjab, India.

Mrs Kaur, whose husband has passed away, later became estranged from her children in the UK.

As she has no home to call her own in Smethwick she is now sofa surfing and relies on the kindness of people in the community.

Despite her circumstances she has spent her time helping out at local foodbanks, her supporters have said.

In 2020, the We Are All Gurmit Kaur campaign was launched as people rallied together to help her fight to stay.

At the time she was told she would have to either leave the country voluntarily or face deportation despite having no relatives in India return to.

With the backing of her community she appealed the Home Office's ruling last month but this was rejected by the courts.

Gurmit Kaur preparing food
The widow spends her time volunteering at her local foodbank

She said: "I don't know what to do, I feel helpless, I don't know where to turn or what to do."

Salman Mirza, an immigration advisor for the Brushstroke Community Project, has been representing Mrs Kaur and says "she will probably die invisible".

He added: "She has a derelict house in the village, with no roof and would have to find heating, food, and resources in a village she hasn't been to in 11 years.

"It's like water torture, it's like a slow death, she's never had the right to work and provide for herself."

A spokesperson for the Home Office said it can not comment on individual cases but, "all applications are carefully considered on their individual merits and on the basis of the evidence provided".

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