The UK Home Office has come under criticism for the death of Sudharsan Ithayachandran, a Sri Lankan man who was deported to his home country. The 41-year-old, who admitted to using false documents and working illegally at Tesco, was deported from the UK on December 24, 2019, leaving behind his deaf wife, Subatra, and their two children, aged eight and nine, who are all British citizens. The deportation coincided with his wedding anniversary.

Ithayachandran, a member of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, was allowed to stay with his family in the UK after an immigration tribunal ruling in November 2023. However, the Home Office was accused of delaying the issuance of a return visa for several months, forcing him to live in dangerous conditions, as reported by the International Justice and Truth Project.

Before his death, Ithayachandran’s legal counsel, Naga Kandiah of MTC Solicitors, initiated judicial review proceedings against the Home Office for the visa delay. On May 19, 2024, Ithayachandran was found collapsed at his accommodation in Sri Lanka and later died in hospital. The cause of death is believed to be sepsis, though this was not confirmed in the report.

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Ithayachandran’s family blamed the Home Office for his death, stating that he fell into deep depression due to his separation from his children and was not taking care of himself. His mother-in-law, Yasadora Nagendra, described him as “the pillar of the family,” and criticized the Home Office for their unfair treatment and delays in allowing him to return to the UK.

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Kandiah stated that the tribunal had acknowledged Ithayachandran’s genuine relationship with his children and the undue harshness of living without them. He expressed frustration that Ithayachandran died before he could reunite with his family.

Lou Calvey, director of the charity Asylum Matters, called for answers about why Ithayachandran was deported despite his clear rights to remain and why the Home Office delayed implementing the court ruling.

A Home Office spokesperson responded, saying that deportation orders are considered on a case-by-case basis, and once an appeal is allowed, the responsibility for applying for entry clearance lies with the individual and their representatives.

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In a related incident, on May 21, 2024, a disabled Nigerian man, Anthony Olubunmi George, who had lived in the UK for 38 years, faced potential deportation by the Home Office despite his significant health challenges following two strokes in 2019.