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Harry Underhill, Jorge Labbe Herrera, Adrian Underhill

Harry Underhill, Jorge Labbe Herrera, Adrian Underhill. Photo Chandra Masoliver

Jorge: allowed to stay in the UK

Following on from her article about Jorge Labbe Herrera’s threatened deportation, Chandra Masoliver now writes about his successful appeal – and his immense gratitude to all the HOT readers who supported his case.

The ruling at the Royal Courts of Justice on 31 January found in favour of the decision made in 2015 by the Tier One judge – that Jorge Labbe Herrera could stay in the UK – rather than in favour of the Home Office appeal which had overturned the first judge’s ruling.

That same day, Jorge wrote to myself and HOT with a message to all those who signed and wrote comments in response to HOT’s appeal to allow him to stay in Hastings. He said “I am still crying with the news. Thank you to you and all the support from the people of Hastings. Thank you, thank you”.

Adrian Underhill, who organised the email appeal, talked with Jorge’s solicitor Chris McKendry about the intricacies of the results of Jorge’s appeal. “It is now clear that this is more than a temporary reprieve,” said Adrian. “In a month or two, the Home Office should issue Jorge with leave to remain for the next 30 months, and from then on Jorge will be able to work, pay income tax and have access to the NHS in the normal way. The Home Office will also issue details of any restrictions.

“Then after the 30 months, Jorge is required to reapply for another 30 months, and so on, each 30 months for ten years. This is a nuisance, but should be fairly straightforward. Finally after ten years, Jorge will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain.”

Harry Underhill, friend of Jorge for many years, says: “I was overjoyed when Jorge gave me the news that he could stay – after the struggle for years with an apparently obtuse Home Office, who wanted to get rid of him to Argentina, where he now has no home. He has been such a positive influence here for eighteen years; not only a good friend of many of us, but also a skilled electronics engineer, devoting his knowledge to charity. I hope you can now take a deep sigh of relief, Jorge – and let us welcome you back to a happy life in our Hastings community.”

(Please scroll down to read Chandra’s interview with Jorge.)

Jorge Labbe Herrera at Rock A Nore

Jorge Labbe Herrera at Rock A Nore. Photo Chandra Masoliver

HOT’s Chandra Masoliver talked with Jorge about his reaction to his reprieve and his plans for the future:

CM: We are all very happy for you about the good news, Jorge. You have had a very stressful time, and you have won through. What are your feelings about the successful outcome of your appeal?

JLH: It’s a huge relief, I feel free. Before, I was more or less a prisoner of my thoughts and feelings, now I can be happy, it’s an enormous pressure off my shoulders.

CM: Do you have plans, now that you are more secure here in Hastings?

JLH: I can participate more for my town, which is Hastings. I will continue to help any charity that I can. And always in my mind I have had a plan to do something more for tennis, which I can now do. White Rock Garden has a lot of unused space; I’d like to build a wall near the tennis courts, with a line painted the same height as the net, so people can practice without a partner. I am a member of the Labour Party, and we have a Labour council; since I know many councillors I can ask them for their help.

CM: What are you allowed to do, and not do now?

JLH: I need to wait until I know what is coming in the future. I am just very grateful for now.

CM: Are there particular people you would like to thank?

JLH: It is very important to me to say thank you to HOT, to you Chandra, and to Zelly, and to all the people in Hastings who have read about my case. They have been very supportive and have given wonderful opinions of who I am in their Comments and when they signed my appeal. It gives me a feeling of happiness. I have sown good seeds and been given wonderful food.

When I came to England I didn’t even know the language, and I had to start everything again. I didn’t expect to find such wonderful people and friends, it’s a great blessing.

I’m very grateful to Ann Reid, the manageress of the Chapel Park Community Centre, which is part of the Baptist Church; she has helped so many people, not just me. I was her management assistant, and she trusted me. When I found myself without leave to remain, she helped me put together my dossier of why I should stay, she found me a solicitor and came to London to represent me during the Tier One successful appeal, and also the Upper Court where I was turned down. And she found me Ron and Linda.

If it were not for Ron and Linda, I would have been homeless. They trusted me with the keys of their house from the first day, and they let me use the internet. They said I could stay as long as I liked. I have lived with them for five years; they know me more than my sister and my brother did.

There are so many people I would like to thank – Rev. Janet Mardell, the vicar of St Leonard’s Baptist Church, and the members of the congregation. They all gave me a hug when they heard my good news. Also the people I have worked with in charity shops, especially Mencap, like Pauline, Joy and Pam – lots of people.

And of course a special thanks to my dear friends Harry and Adrian Underhill. I have received so much welcome.

I am thankful to have found a place to live in peace. It wouldn’t have happened like this if I wasn’t in Hastings.

Posted 12:15 Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018 In: Hastings People

3 Comments


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  1. Cyril Gould

    Well done Jorge! And well done Chandra and everyone involved in this heartening return to Justice! I am so delighted!

    Comment by Cyril Gould — Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018 @ 15:11

  2. Steve Waters

    That’s the best news I’ve heard for a long time!

    Comment by Steve Waters — Saturday, Feb 10, 2018 @ 21:24

  3. Ms.Doubtfire

    Best news ever! Perhaps the Home Office will now consider its draconian role in these not infrequent deportation decisions – how can they retain any credibility after this ruling?

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Thursday, Feb 8, 2018 @ 08:26

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