Bristol

Petition to save 'exceptional' student Stiven Bregu from deportation

Stiven Bregu Image copyright Stiven Bregu
Image caption Stiven Bregu was trafficked to the UK in 2015 aged 14 and dumped alone in Keynsham near Bristol

A petition to prevent the deportation of an "exceptional" and "outstanding" student has drawn more than 6,000 signatures.

Stiven Bregu, 18, was trafficked to the UK from Albania in 2015 in order to escape a violent home life and was dumped alone in Keynsham near Bristol.

Unable to speak English, he was placed into foster care and has since achieved "extraordinary" GCSE results at school.

But his application for asylum has been denied and he is appealing.

Stiven said: "I've studied hard and tried to build a future for myself here. All I want is the chance to fulfil my potential and contribute something to Bristol, which is my home."

Stiven's head of year at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School, Rob Shaw, who launched the petition on Tuesday, described the situation as "frustrating".

"We have invested so much in Stiven," he said. "The school is all about preparing students for their future and he's not currently going to be given that opportunity.

"As a British citizen, it's not a proud moment."

'Huge asset'

Mr Shaw said Stiven has just competed his A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths and has secured an apprenticeship offer from a wealth management firm due to his "talent for mathematics".

Head teacher Elisabeth Gilpin added that Stiven is an "outstanding student and a huge asset to our school community".

Stiven came to the attention of Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees when he was accepted onto his programme investing in gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Mr Rees said: "Given all that he has been through his achievements are exceptional, and the idea that forcing him to leave the country is somehow in the public interest is absurd."

An immigration appeal hearing will take place on 15 July.

The Home Office said: "When assessing asylum claims, all available evidence is carefully and sensitively considered in light of published country information.

"Stiven Bregu's application to remain in the UK was refused as he did not qualify for asylum under immigration rules."

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