Skilled student begs for asylum

September 28, 2001

A talented Russian asylum-seeker's dream place at medical school hangs in the balance this week amid last-ditch attempts to prevent her deportation.

Ann Brodski, whose half-Jewish family came to England in 1997 claiming mafia death threats, was accepted to study medicine by Queen Mary College, London University.

The course was due to begin this week. But her family's application for leave to stay in England indefinitely has not yet been dealt with by the Home Office, some six months after it was made.

Queen Mary refuses to enrol her until her status is agreed. Ms Brodski's MP and former college principal, backed by thousands of supporters, have raised thousands of pounds and are lobbying the Home Office to allow her to remain outside the rules.

Since arriving in England in 1997, Ms Brodski has learnt English and achieved three A levels, at grades A and B and a handful of AS levels at Scarborough Sixth Form College.

In a letter to the Home Office, her college principal, Nicola Watson, says:

"Ann is a very talented individual who has a lot to offer this country.... her one ambition is to train as a doctor. It seems that the country is crying out for doctors and Ann is a highly motivated and suitable candidate."

But it is feared that the family's prospects of being allowed to stay are poor. Ms Brodski arrived in England with her parents and younger brother on a tourist visa. An initial application for asylum failed, as did a subsequent appeal. An application for exceptional leave has also failed but a further application is pending.

David Webb, of DJ Webb and Co, immigration and nationality solicitors, made an application on behalf of the family in March for indefinite leave to remain outside the rules.

Ms Brodski's father is an inventor, with several patent applications and a prototype for one of his inventions in production. It is hoped that he will be considered an "innovator" by the Home Office and given leave to remain.

Mr Webb said the Home Office could not be accused of negligence, as it had made decisions regarding the Brodskis twice before. But he said delays to asylum applications made life difficult for young dependents of applicants.

"Ann speaks fluent English, she has obtained excellent A levels, she has won a place at medical school... It would have been better if they'd made a decision one way or the other two months after they arrived, then she wouldn't have her life on hold."

Ms Brodski said: "I wouldn't know what to do with my life if I cannot study. It is my only motivation."

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said it was looking into the case.

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