Student who fled Taliban loses bid for UK visa

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The Independent Online

An 18-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker who is studying at Oxford University faces deportation after losing his appeal against the Home Office's refusal to extend his visa.

Azim Anfari fled Afghanistan four years ago, saying he feared the Taliban would recruit him to fight in the war which followed the 11 September 2001 attacks.

He is now studying engineering at St John's College, Oxford, after gaining two As and a B in physics, maths and computing A-levels at the City of Bristol College last summer.

Mr Anfari was told his visa, which gave him exceptional leave to remain, would not be renewed and his appeal against that decision has failed. He said he would take his case to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal and, if that failed, would seek a judicial review at the High Court.

He said: "This country feels like my home. I've worked hard and my efforts will be worthless if I have to go back now."

He said he did not believe it was safe for him to go back to Afghanistan.

Mr Anfari and his brother, Wali, arrived in the UK in 2001. He enrolled for an English course while Wali worked at Sainsbury's to earn money. A year later he began studying for A-levels while working part-time as a dish washer.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said foreign nationals from countries where a visa is required to enter the UK must apply for a student visa from their own country.

This means Mr Anfari may have to return to Afghanistan to apply for a visa before continuing at Oxford University.