A FAMILY of six facing deportation, who were told by their Tory MP there was nothing more he could do to help them, have been given fresh hope after the Scottish Government took up their case.

The Sbita family have been reporting at a local police station ever since immigration officials ruled they could no longer stay in Dumfries.

Now the Home Office has bowed to a Scottish Government request that it reconsider their case.

The breakthrough comes more than one year after their Tory MP Alister Jack told them: “I do not feel that there is any more that I can do to support you in your case.”

Lassaad and Hela Sbita, an engineer and complimentary therapist, brought their Italian-born sons Yosef and Aziz to the UK to live near their uncles. Younger brothers Ghali and Harun were born after the move, which took place in 2012.

Last week the family’s MSP Emma Harper told the Scottish Parliament how the family of six face removal to Tunisia, the country of Lassaad and Hela’s birth, because they cannot afford the £6190 visa fees demanded by the Home Office to renew their status.

Although the family applied for the fee to be waived – something allowed under the UK’s complex and multi-layered immigration rules – this was rejected on the grounds that they were not homeless.

However, with their permissions to work removed, Lassaad and Hela had no possibility of earning the sum needed and the Sbitas were told they would be removed from the UK.

Lassaad, who coaches community football, told of how the decision left his children – all under 16 – “very upset”, as they have never lived in Tunisia and speak English, not Arabic.

He said: “They don’t know anyone there.

“The boys are particularly anxious about having to move away from their school and their friends and the possibility of returning to a country that they have little concept or connection to.”

Last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who branded the case “shocking”, promised Harper that ministers would take action.

Today The National can reveal that the UK Government – which failed to answer questions about the Sbitas – is to reconsider the family’s case following pressure from Immigration Minister Ben Macpherson.

In a letter to Harper, he stated: “I note that you raised the Sbita’s predicament during First Minister’s Questions.

“The First Minister responded I should write to the UK Government on this matter. I have done so and been informed that the Sbita family’s application for a fee waiver has today been reopened for consideration.

“Please be assured that myself and my fellow Scottish ministers will continue to push the UK Government [for a] more humane immigration system, which takes account of individual circumstances and provides a welcoming environment for new Scots and their families.’’

The news comes more than one year after Jack, the family’s MP, told them there was nothing more he could do for them.

While the Home Office refuses to deal directly with MSPs on immigration cases, it does work with MPs who are representing their constituents.

In a letter dated March 2018, Jack told Lassaad he had been “unable to clarify” whether or not the Sbita’s case had been entered into the family deportation process and that there were “no further considerations” being made on the case.

He stated: “I understand that this response will be somewhat disappointing and can only advise as mentioned previously that you seek specialist immigration advice from a solicitor on the matter.

“Due to the nature of the issue, I do not feel that there is any more that I can do to support you in your case.”

Last night Jack told The National: “I welcome the decision by the Home Office to reconsider the Sbita family’s fee waiver application. I have met with the family and am due to meet them again next week to discuss their situation, but this decision is a step in the right direction and I am hoping that it will result in a positive outcome for the family.”

Harper stated: “Having raised the Sbita family case with the First Minister last week... I am pleased that the Home Office, after pressure from the Scottish Government, has taken the decision to review the family’s fee waiver application.

‘‘It still must be said that the actions of this UK Home Secretary are simply despicable and highlights the lack of humanity and culture of hostility within the Home Office.

“I will of course do all I can to prevent the family’s deportation.’’