A mother has been blocked from seeing her seriously ill daughter after immigration officials refused to grant her a visa to enter the UK because they were “not satisfied” her intentions were genuine.
Fateha Begum, a 61-year-old Bangladeshi national who has residency in the US, was told she could not come to Britain to see Tunazzina Nizu, who has recurrent ovarian cancer, on the grounds that she may not leave the UK at the end of her visit.
Lawyers branded the case an illustration of “the unlawful refusal culture” within the Home Office and accused officials of “systematically undermining” immigration rules as part of an extension of the hostile environment.
In her visa application, Ms Begum, who spends half her time living in the US and the other living in Bangladesh, included financial evidence that she would be accommodated during her six-week visit and that her flight costs would be covered.
She also included a letter from her daughter’s NHS oncologist who confirmed the cancer diagnosis, describing Ms Nizu’s condition as “very serious”.
But the decision letter from the Home Office, which provided no right to appeal, cast doubt over her reason for wanting to enter the UK, and said it was not satisfied that she was a “genuine visitor”.
Ms Nizu, who lives in Dagenham with her husband and two young children and is currently in Queen’s hospital, has undergone two unsuccessful rounds of chemotherapy. She is due to begin radiotherapy, but because of a failed kidney this has been delayed.
She said: “I just want to see my mum. I speak to her on the phone every day and she’s just crying. It’s not the same on the phone. My mum won’t stay in the UK, she has a house in Bangladesh. She’s settled there. She only wants to come for a few weeks. I just want to see her.”
Ms Begum’s lawyer Jan Doerfel, who is threatening judicial review over the refusal, said the case illustrated how the Home Office “systematically fails” to apply immigration rules as part of a “quest to keep numbers low at all costs including human tragedy and sacrificing the rule of law.”
He added: “The refusal of the visa to my client is not only unlawful and inhumane, but it once again illustrates the unlawful refusal culture within the Home Office which systematically undermine and fail to apply the immigration rules as part of an extension of the hostile environment.”
The Home Office said Ms Begum’s application was refused because it did not meet requirements, but that the decision was being reviewed on compassionate grounds.
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