A family from Pakistan will be allowed to stay in the country. The Icelandic government has withdrawn the order for seven-year-old Muhammed Zohair Faisal and his parents to return to Pakistan. A large number of people gathered at an assembly on Sunday in Vesturbæjarskóli to sign a petition to let the family stay in Iceland. Ultimately, nearly 19,000 people have signed.
Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir has announced plans on Facebook to shorten the waiting time for asylum seekers with children. The time would go from eighteen months to sixteen, and families with children who have been here more than sixteen months would not be expelled. She said she hopes this is only the first step in shortening the procedure of such cases, and that sixteen months should be the maximum time limit. These procedures ought to take less time, she says.
With this, the little boy and his family will not be expelled. Valur Grettisson, our very own editor in chief at the Grapevine and advocate for the family, said to Vísir, “We got a call about this a short time ago. The rules have been changed so that the government will not ban families from countries that have been here for more than sixteen months.” We at the Grapevine are not entirely unbiased to this event.
The news is a great joy to the family. The family has come to see Iceland as their home, and Muhammed is practically an Icelander himself, speaking the language fluently. I can only imagine their level of stress around this situation, and the level of joy they must feel to have this finally resolved. UTL is not a fun office to deal with in the best of circumstances. Muhammed had a birthday on Saturday, as well. What a fantastic birthday present for him.
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