TWO SISTERS who have spent more than half their lives in Yorkshire have spoken of their relief after they were finally given the right to stay in the country.
Kiara and Khadeisha Cottle, who have lived in Bradford since they were 11 and 12, had faced being sent back to Trinidad after their applications for leave to remain were rejected by the Home Office last September.
But after enlisting family and friends to provide letters of support, a renewed bid was this week accepted and the sisters, who consider themselves British, can legally stay in the country.
The sisters moved to Holme Wood in 2000 to live with their older sister. Failed applications for leave to remain were made in 2004, 2007 and last year, when Kiara was forced to give up her job in Leeds because of her status.
Immigration law meant another application had to sent before Kiara’s 25th birthday on February 14, and she credits their solicitor Kenny Ayileka for ensuring the bid was submitted in time.
Kiara, 25, said: “We went to see Kenny in November and he was very confident he could help us. It was a struggle to get the money for the fee together in time but thanks to family help we managed to get it together, along with solid proof in letters and photographs that we’d been in the UK all this time.
“This has been going on for such a long time – it’s a huge relief to finally have leave to remain. We we can now have a normal life.”
Mr Ayileka, a principal solicitor with Gracefields Solicitors Leeds, said: “Telling them to return to Trinidad would have been unfair and disproportionate. They had a solid case.”