The UK Border Agency (UKBA) frequently receives massive criticism when it gets something wrong or fails to do make an immigration decision in a timely fashion. But little credit is given when the Home Office or UKBA does something right, as in the case of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban who is now recovering in Birmingham after skull reconstruction treatment in Britain.
The Malala story was worldwide news, but many other less publicised humanitarian cases are handled by the UK Border Agency on a daily basis.
In a recent ‘domestic violence’ case, involving an abusive British husband punishing his Filipino wife and son by refusing to sign their form for permanent residence (Indefinite Leave to Remain/ILR), the UKBA not only approved her subsequent application, but made the decision in just four weeks.
The Filipina’s immigration adviser made the application when it emerged that she had been in an abusive relationship for some time.
The lady, who prefers to remain anonymous, had lived in the UK with her children for 3 years on a spouse visa, and wanted to apply for settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
The couple have a child together, who is British.
Despite the fact that the young mother’s spouse visa was about to expire, her husband appeared to be in no rush to sign the application or provide the necessary supporting documents.
The firm’s manager, Cynthia Barker, suspected that things were not right in the relationship and, with the help of a senior adviser, dug deeper to find what was really going on.
Once her client started to open up about the history of their marriage, the whole case unfolded and the real facts came out in a flood of tears.
She had been in a physically and mentally abusive marriage, but her husband’s threat of taking their children away from her imprisoned her in fear of revealing the truth.
“Her husband was deliberately messing her about and holding her to ransom.” Cynthia said.
“He even suggested that she should go back to the Philippines and apply from there, but she strongly suspected that he was secretly planning to dump her there and take her children back to the UK.”
A legally drafted application for settlement based on a case of domestic violence was submitted in January and approved four weeks later.
UKBA caseworkers obviously act quickly in cases like this, which may include mental torture as well as physical abuse.
Cynthia has seen a large number of cases where men or women on dependant or spouse visas have been ‘hung out to dry’ by their sponsor when things go wrong in the relationship.
“Too many people suffer in silence instead of taking advice and using the law.”
“If you feel you are suffering from any form of domestic violence, consult your adviser straight away, even if you have overstayed your visa or broken the rules.
“Do not take a chance by just submitting an application for the sake of it. An experienced adviser can go through the sensitive issues with you and present them in accordance with the rules.”
The UK has a long history of coming to the aid of those in need on human rights and other grounds, whether this be granting asylum, humanitarian leave or settlement to protect someone from the threat of domestic or other forms of violence.
If you have been arrested or detained, need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 1, 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed, Spouse Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email:
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