‘Why did I need to go to the media to fight for it?’ Home Office finally relents on visa for kidney op

Oliver Cameron’s sister to arrive within days in order to donate potentially  life-saving kidney

The Home Office has reversed its controversial decision to refuse a visa to a woman who wanted to come to Britain to donate a kidney to her seriously ill brother.

Politicians, religious leaders, migrants’ groups and journalists had urged the department to allow the potentially life-saving visit to take place.

Oliver Cameron, from north London, has been unable to work since suffering a near-fatal renal failure in 2012 and needs a kidney transplant to avoid daily dialysis.

After his older sister, Keisha Rushton, was found to be compatible, the operation was arranged to take place last October.

But when Ms Rushton, who lives in Jamaica, applied for a visa, it was rejected by the Home Office on the grounds that she might not return home.

The ruling – highlighted earlier this month by The Independent – provoked outrage. An online petition was also launched to plead with the Home Office to re-examine the family’s plight and issue a temporary visa to Ms Rushton.

James Brokenshire, the immigration minister, is understood to have examined the case personally and overturned the previous ruling. His decision was confirmed last night by Home Office sources.

Ms Rushton is due to pick up her visa tomorrow (tues) from the UK High Commission in Kingston and to fly to London within days.

Mr Cameron told The Independent: “This will make such a difference to myself and my family. I called my sister with the news and she was just so pleased. We are hoping she will be in London by the end of this week and the operation can take place in the next few weeks.”

The plumber, who needs the daily dialysis to prevent renal failure, questioned why he had had to seek publicity to highlight his case to secure his sister’s visitor visa.

He said: “I’m grateful to those, including The Independent, who brought my case to light. But I’m left wondering how many others like me are out there.

“Why did it require me to go to the media and say my sister wants to give me her kidney but they won’t let her into the country?

“There is a fault if a system can’t allow compassion. I'm grateful the authorities have seen sense, but it’s been a long road to reach this decision.”

Mr Cameron spent more than a week in intensive care in December 2012 after his kidneys failed. He was told by doctors that the drug he had been taking for his diabetes had damaged his kidneys so seriously that without a transplant he would need dialysis to keep him alive.

After tests on his sister showed her to be a match, he borrowed £700 to pay for a visa for her and her baby son.

However, when Ms Rushton visited the commission she was handed a letter telling her that her application had been rejected.

She was told “close consideration” had been given to the “compassionate aspects” of her reasons to travel.

But the letter, signed anonymously by “Entry Clearance Officer 5”, concluded: “I am not satisfied that you genuinely intend a short visit only to the UK and that you will leave the UK at the end of the visit.”

Sunder Katwala, the director of the thinktank British Future, said: “It’s a relief to finally see a decision on this case that is based on compassion and common sense. I think most people, regardless of their politics, thought that denying a visa to Oliver’s sister was a step too far.

“We know pressure was building on this case from across the political spectrum. People want a robust immigration system but there has to be room for fairness as well as firmness.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London