AN aspiring midwife who has had her right to study revoked by the Home Office met with Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison yesterday in her bid to stay and train in Scotland.

Dami Samuel, who has lived in the UK all her adult life, secured a place to study midwifery two years ago before her family’s work visa application was refused.

The 20-year-old, her parents and brother John, 12, who live in Dumfries, have been totally destitute since the development two years ago.

They are legally prevented from working and are ineligible for benefits. Since 2016 they have been supported by charities, mainly the Dumfries and Galloway First Base organisation.

Their plight featured in a recent BBC Scotland programme Breadline Kids documenting the hardship of families affecting by poverty, which won the broadcast category this week in the Scottish Refugee Media Awards.

Dami yesterday visited Holyrood as a guest of south Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine, who had arranged her meeting with Robison.

Afterwards Dami told The National: “I would love to study midwifery in a college in Scotland. I have all the science and social care qualifications I need. I love babies and children and I want to help bring new life into the world.”

She added that the past few years have been difficult for her family and their lives have been in limbo.

“Dami is an extremely bright and talented young woman who considers Scotland her home and wants to work in our NHS – but she is being denied that chance by Theresa May’s Home Office despite the fact she has lived in the UK since she was 12,” said McAlpine.

“That’s why I am delighted that our Cabinet Secretary for Health Shona Robison has agreed to meet Dami. Ms Robison knows the difficulties the UK’s vindictive immigration causes for recruitment to the Scottish NHS.

“Dami fills her time by volunteering at the local leisure centre, playing drums in her church band, and learning guitar.

“Dami had secured a place to study midwifery here two years ago but it was taken away from her because the Home Office are forcing the family to go through a protracted appeals process. She doesn’t even have access to her passport and other official documents as the Home Office has taken them away. It’s an appalling way to treat anyone – this family are totally in limbo and it’s such a waste.

“I am looking into doing whatever we can for the family and to support Dami – but the sad fact is that Westminster holds the power.”

Robison said: “Dami is clearly a compassionate young woman and I was saddened to hear about what Dami and her family are going through. The fact the Home Office is denying her right to study midwifery at university is an injustice for Dami, her family and our NHS.

“We benefit enormously from the contribution made by staff from other countries and we want to expand our international recruitment efforts. The Home Office must stop dragging its feet and grant the family the right to live and work where they have lived for over eight years.”

Dami’s family came to the UK from Nigeria on a work visa seven years ago and Christiana found a job as a mental health assistant. At first the Home Office was happy for her to work but later changed the decision and was no longer willing to renew her visa. While Christiana applied for “leave to remain”, she wasn’t allowed to work or claim benefits.

For the last year and a half or so, the family has had to rely on friends and charity to feed them and to pay their rent.

Earlier this year it emerged that the Conservative Government’s Brexit policy had caused 10% of the NHS European nurse workforce to quit their posts last year, meaning attempts to increase the number of nurses had failed for the second year running.

Official figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) show that in 2018, there were 3000 fewer nurses from the European Economic Area working in the NHS than a year ago and concerns persist about difficulties in recruiting sufficient number of midwifery and nursing staff.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the Immigration Rules”.