The principle of a school where three Saudi-born children are to be deported has blasted the decision to remove them from the country as “immoral”.
Zubair, Umair and Mutjuba Khan have been told they will not be allowed to apply for international protection in Ireland and face expulsion this week.
The three teenagers have been attending a secondary school in Cork since their arrival in Ireland in 2017 and have lived in direct provision ever since.
Zubair, a fifth-year student, Umair, a transition year student and Mutjuba, a second-year student are studying at Coláiste Éamann Rís in Cork city.
Their older brother Hamza is a first-year Sanctuary Scholar studying computer science at University College Cork under a scheme for refugees and asylum seekers living in Direct Provision. Hamza also faces deportation, as do the family's parents.
Coláiste Éamann Rís Principle Aaron Wolfe said of the brothers: “The Khan brothers have been a huge addition to our school. They have spoken at national events on the struggles of teenage asylum seekers and have helped to spread awareness of the plight of refugees.
We are proud of the progress they have made since becoming a part of our school community and we are devastated to learn that their future with us is now in danger.
“Hamza’s progression to UCC is a testament to this family’s love of learning – they are ambitious, capable individuals who wish to make a life for themselves here in Ireland, where they will become independent and contributing members of Irish society.”
He added: “They have become part of our school and the wider community, Mutjuba even has a Cork accent. To remove this family from our country is immoral and will have devastating effects on their education.
“The future of these four brothers is at risk – Hamza will lose his third level placement and the boys will struggle fitting into a new education system.”
In a statement giving further background to the case on Saturday, Coláiste Éamann Rís said the family’s father Mubeen, fled to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan to escape persecution in 1982. His wife Hina Mubeen is also from Pakistan but their sons and daughter were born in Saudi Arabia.
The family continued to live in Saudi Arabia until crippling new taxes were introduced into Saudi Arabia after the death of King Abdullah in 2015.
One of the new taxes King Salman and his son Prince Muhammad Bin Salman introduced new tax laws 2017 was the so-called Ex-Pat Tax. It saw each ex-pat and their dependents being charged the equivalent of €28-a-month for the first year and rising to €112-a-month by 2020.