A FAMILY of six that has been fighting deportation has been granted leave to stay in Scotland after a long battle with the Home Office.

Lassaad and Hela Sbita and their four children had been repeatedly refused the right to remain in the UK because they were unable to afford the £6190 visa fees required by the Home Office to process their application.

The family’s permission to work was revoked, but their appeal to have the fee waived was rejected on the grounds they were not homeless.

The Home Office bowed to a Scottish Government request to reconsider their case after being told a year earlier by their Tory MP, Alister Jack, that there was nothing more he could do to help them.

South Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper took up the case with the First Minister, supported by the Scottish Government Minister for Migration Ben MacPherson.

Harper said: “I am extremely pleased having heard that the Sbita Family will be allowed to continue to live, and indeed now work and study in Scotland, which is where they call home.

“The family, who have become integrated members of their community in Dumfries and whose children attend school here, have just been the latest victims of the hostile environment in the UK Home Office, a hostile environment which must end sooner than later.

“I would like to put my thanks on record to the family who have shown enormous strength and determination for a number of years to fight for their right to live, work and study in Scotland.

“I also thank the First Base Agency and charity MOOL in Dumfries for helping the family financially and with essentials such as food and clothing during the time in which they were unable to earn money for themselves due to the restrictions placed on them by the UK Government.”

Lassaad and Hela, an engineer and complementary therapist, both born in Tunisia, moved to Scotland in 2012.