Yesterday I gave a speech in a debate about one particular aspect of the Government’s hostile immigration policy – and the effect this has had on two of my constituents.
I want to tell hon. Members about two constituents. Muhammad has lived in and contributed to the UK for 11 years. He has a master’s in architecture from Oxford Brookes. His wife is pregnant; he has a career, a home, a mortgage and a real life in the UK. The Home Office refused him indefinite leave on the basis of a minor tax error. The error was not his. Muhammad is dyslexic and does not do his own tax returns—they were submitted by a professional accountant, who made a mistake and issued an apology. Muhammad immediately paid every extra penny owed once the mistake was discovered.
Last year, Muhammad’s grandmother died. In April, his only brother died, too. He could not go to the funerals because he would not have been allowed back in the country afterwards. The baby is expected in September; he has been invoiced by the NHS for £9,000. If he does not pay that £9,000, his wife will come off the GP’s list. Muhammad’s case is not singular—far from it.
Sadeque is a senior lecturer at a university in the UK. Before that, he was at the University of Derby. He has lived and worked in the UK for seven years. Sadeque applied for indefinite leave in 2016, which was refused by the Home Office because in 2011 he made and accepted a minor error on his tax return. He repaid it in the same year. It is hardly a mark of bad character. He has been suspended from his job and soon will be forced to withdraw from his part-time master’s at Oxford University. He volunteers with Amnesty International, Save the Children and UNICEF and promotes IT skills in the Bangladeshi community. He was graduate of the year at the University of Bedfordshire in 2011. In 2012 and 2013, he was a finalist of the British Computer Society, of which he is now a fellow. In fact, he is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Sadeque’s wife and daughter have already left the UK. His second daughter was born in Bangladesh but Sadeque has never met her. Why? Because he cannot go there; if he did, he would not be allowed to return. In Bangladesh, Sadeque was the dean of a university faculty. So why will he not just leave, when he is being so badly and disgustingly treated by our Government? That is basically what he plans to do. He has been worn down and is going, despite the pending judicial review.
It is hard to look at cases such as those of Muhammad, Sadeque and Windrush and not conclude that this Government are chasing an arbitrary immigration target, regardless of the needs of our economy—or, indeed, the NHS or any sense of decency we might still have left as a country. Frankly, the Government have to look at the reputational damage caused by this issue.