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Breaking: Durham academics threatened with deportation have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain

The couple have said they “can’t quite believe it”

A pair of Durham academics have spoken of their "joy and relief" after hearing that they have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

Arely Cruz-Santiago and Ernesto Schwartz-Marín had been asked to leave the country within 14 days from Saturday 11 March for spending too long abroad, though they argued they were doing so on humanitarian research grounds.

The couple received a phone call from the Home Office this afternoon confirming that this request has been revoked.

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Arely told The Tab: "This is amazing news, we can't believe it. We’re very happy. We feel that the support from staff, our friends and colleagues, the geography department, everyone at Durham, has been amazing."

She continued: "When we’ve been shopping in Durham city centre, people have just been asking how we were. It’s been amazing to see the support from the community and beyond."

Ernesto added: "We're really happy, this is such a joy and a relief. Now we can go back to the research we have to do.

"We want to push for broader change. It’s important that all this momentum, and all these issues that are important for our community – academic freedom – are carried forward.

"Hopefully it’ll be a positive force for change for international researchers."

Durham academic forced to leave country

A lecturer and his family have 14 days to leave the UK; a protest was held yesterday in Durham in support of him

Posted by The Tab Durham on Friday, March 16, 2018

Barrister Jolyon Maugham QC, who has been supporting the couple's case called the news "a huge win for all who have supported this campaign".

A spokesperson for UCU Northern Region, Jon Bryan, said: "UCU are so pleased to have been able to be part of the campaign to 'Keep Ernesto And Arely' and we hope that this sets the right precedent for the future."

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “Following a review of the initial decision, Dr Schwartz-Marin has been informed that his application and that of his wife Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago for Indefinite Leave to Remain, has been approved.”

Durham University has been contacted for comment