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Dover physiotherapist Satheesh Sankara Gounder 'leaving Britain for India after deportation battle'

By Sam Lennon

A phyisotherapist is believed to be boarding a plane home to India tomorrow, after losing a year-long fight against deportation.

Satheesh Sankara Gounder, who ran the Dover Physiotherapy Clinic in the High Street, is leaving voluntarily after exhausting options, a campaign website said.

The news of Mr Sankara Gounder going, with his wife Mythill, comes from the 38 Degrees Campaigns by You website. It had collected 68,221 names of people demanding he stays.

Satheesh Sankara Gounder. Picture: Paul Amos
Satheesh Sankara Gounder. Picture: Paul Amos

The website authors commented: "Eventually, his life on hold, and his finances decreasing, with no decision in sight, he had no option but to voluntarily return home.

"His story will only deter others from investing in the UK when they realise how much poorer it can leave you.

"All those that know Satheesh are appalled at his treatment by this country.

"They are also appalled that this government could so easily write off the physiotherapy needs of a whole community when there was not even a physiotherapist in place at their local hospital."

KentOnline has sent messages to Mr Sankara Gounder, his MP Charlie Elphicke, and the Home Office to ascertain what exactly has happened and comment further.

Mr Sankara Gounder, 36, had been fighting deportation since August 2017 when he was refused renewed permission to stay in Britain. He had applied as his last leave to remain as an entrepreneur migrant was running out.

He had failed to get enough points for employees at his practice because he could not hire more physiotherapists.

Charlie Elphicke: "Hugely frustrated" by Mr Sankara Gounder having to leave. Picture: Office of Charlie Elphicke MP
Charlie Elphicke: "Hugely frustrated" by Mr Sankara Gounder having to leave. Picture: Office of Charlie Elphicke MP

Mr Elphicke, who had battled to keep him in Britain, had said that the irony was that this country was trying to deport Dover's only physiotherapist because of lack of them.

He now said: “Satheesh made such a huge difference to the lives of his patients. We battled long and hard to try and keep him in Britain.

“I met with the Immigration Minister and held talks with the Home Secretary, who then intervened and put a stop to the deportation process.

“Yet after being prevented from working for so long, Satheesh has been left in an impossible situation by Home Office officials’ complete lack of urgency.

“I am hugely frustrated by the entire process and deeply saddened that Satheesh feels he now has little choice but to leave the country."

Mr Sankara Gounder at his clinic in May. Picture: Paul Amos
Mr Sankara Gounder at his clinic in May. Picture: Paul Amos

Mr Sankara Gounder, who had been in the UK since 2011, ended up as the only private physiotherapist in the Dover area and invested tens of thousands of pounds in his practice.

He had to sell his practice in May to keep up with mounting legal and administrative costs in his fight with the Home Office. He said by August it added up to £4,000.

He also had to pay bills and salaries from June with no income.

This is as the Home Office issued a former order, called an immigration bail, forbidding him from working.

Mr Sankara Gounder said that he had fallen on several hurdles to be spared of deportation.

For instance the Home Office had refused to renew his Tier 1 entrepreneur visa.

Another type is Tier 2, sponsored by the NHS, but he said he had been told that he couldn't apply from the UK.

A Home Office spokesman now said: “All UK visa applications are considered in line with the immigration rules and on the basis of the evidence provided.

" In order to maintain the integrity of the immigration system, it is right that those wishing to stay in the UK meet the necessary requirements of the visa route they are following.”

Dover Physiotherapy Clinic continues under new management.

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