Asylum seeker's free flying lessons

Asylum seeker's free flying lessons from councilAn asylum seeker will train to be a pilot at the taxpayers' expense after a council was ordered to pick up the bill for his flying lessons.

Yonas Admasu Kebede, 21, from Ethiopia, will fulfil his dream after winning a legal battle with Newcastle City Council.
The authority must also pay for his younger brother Abiy, 20, to study for a degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, even though the pair have to leave the UK next year.

The two men came to the UK in 2004 with their father and older brother, the Daily Mail said. An application for asylum was refused, but they were granted discretionary leave to stay until November 2014 and now intend to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

The brothers were abandoned shortly after they arrived and were placed into council care in Newcastle, where they went to school and gained GCSEs and A-levels.

As they have no parents, the council has a legal duty to help with costs for training that will help them enter the workplace.

Their immigration status prohibited them from applying for a student loan, so they instructed lawyers to pursue the city council for funding instead - and won following a hearing in the Court of Appeal, the Mail said.

The council must now pay for Mr Kebede to take lessons at Flight Training London at Elstree Aerodrome in Hertfordshire, reportedly costing at least £10,000.

Robert Oxley, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "This judgment is absolutely farcical and deeply unfair on the taxpayers footing the bill.

"Lots of parents scrimp and save to provide their children opportunities for further education, yet now they're also paying for this young man's flying lessons. The brothers were granted leave to remain, not a free ride."

Tory North East MEP Martin Callanan told the Mail: "I find this totally bizarre. The council are in a difficult position if the Court of Appeal has ordered it but most taxpayers will be appalled that they are funding flying lessons for a refugee, however well intentioned he is. It is absolutely incredible."

Paul Heron, of Public Interest Lawyers, said: "We are thrilled that the Court of Appeal found in favour of our clients.

"They will now be able to go on to higher education, where they plan to complete their studies, secure a career here in the UK and repay their student loans in full to Newcastle City Council."
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