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UK war veteran could be deported over visa fight

88-year-old Arthur Sommerford has had his Visa application rejected and is being threatened to be sent to live in a detention centre.
88-year-old Arthur Sommerford has had his Visa application rejected and is being threatened to be sent to live in a detention centre. Rob Williams

HE FOUGHT alongside Aussie Diggers during the bloodiest battles of the Second World War, now he is fighting for the right to stay with his family at Raceview.

As he approaches his 89th birthday next week, British war veteran Arthur Summerfield faces being deported after a two and a half year fight for a permanent visa.

Mr Summerfield arrived in Australia on a three month holiday visa after his wife passed away. When his daughter offered to care for him, he applied for and has been refused an aged parent visa and a medical treatment visa.

Now on a bridging visa, his daughter was summoned to appear in the Commonwealth Law Courts early this month to plead his case.

Immigration officials have threatened to detain and deport the 88-year-old back to England if medical referrals can't support his argument to stay with his family.

His daughter and son-in-law Susan and Gordon Smith have lived in Australia for almost 35 years and he has two grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren in Australia.

He also has a son in Wales who can not care for him as he suffers diabetes and is cared for by his wife.

"Why should they persecute me, but not only me, Gordon and Susan," he said.

88-year-old Arthur Sommerford has had his Visa application rejected and is being threatened to be sent to live in a detention centre. He is currently staying with his daughter Susan Smith (left) and son-in-law Gordon Smith.
88-year-old Arthur Sommerford has had his Visa application rejected and is being threatened to be sent to live in a detention centre. He is currently staying with his daughter Susan Smith (left) and son-in-law Gordon Smith. Rob Williams

"They came here in 1981 in good faith. They're building a life. And then I come over and they're going to look after me and they're being persecuted beside me."

In a letter to Immigration officials, Mr Summerfield's doctor Feri Mahani said it would be "criminal" to deport Mr Summerfield.

After the medical examination Dr Mahani said Mr Summerfield was almost deaf, suffered from memory impairment and was not fit for travel and could not live on his own in the UK.

A specialist geriatrician report details Mr Summerfield's condition and agrees he would not be safe to travel independently back to England and had no accommodation to return to.

"Everyone we have spoken to is absolutely aghast with this when we explain our situation," Mr Smith said.

"Two and a half years and we are still being threatened with deportation. I don't think it's fair."It has been very upsetting for his daughter."

Mr Summerfield survived four years serving with East Lancashire and Royal Ulster Rifles in Palestine, Austria and Belgium.

Mrs Smith said the attempts to help her father had been distressing for the whole family.

"He's got nowhere to go in the UK. His house is gone," she said.

"What do I do send him back? How can I do that, he's my dad."

Topics:  deportation editors picks immigration raceview



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