Pakistanis are more likely to be refused visas to visit the UK than any other nationals, figures show.
Some 41% of applications for family visitor visas from Pakistan were rejected in the last year, according to Home Office statistics revealed by the BBC last week.
Bangladeshis were the second least successful with a refusal rate of 31%. The figure for neighbouring India was just 14%.
Lib Dem MP for Brent East in London, Sarah Teather, blames discrimination by the Home Office, but the Government denies this.
Tougher controls are thought by some people to be due to growing controversy over immigration, and fears visitors are staying beyond their visa and disappearing into the UK.
Critics say many genuine applicants are not being allowed to visit their relations for important occasions such as weddings and funerals.
Ms Teather said the government needs to “urgently review” their practice and “look at why it is so many Pakistani family visa are being refused”.
The Lib Dem MP said: “Why is it so high in comparison with other countries? Is this bad practice?
“It does look on the face of it as though it’s blatant discrimination against Pakistanis.
“It’s as if they’ve decided that all Pakistanis are going to overstay and as a consequences are refusing their visas.”
The Home Office rejected accusations of discrimination and said it refused applications only when they were unsatisfactory.
Applicants must show they will leave the country when they are supposed to and have sufficient funds for their stay, it added.
But the UK Border Agency rejected claims that applicants from Pakistan are more likely to be refused visas.
Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency Lin Homer, said:
‘We do not discriminate against any individual nationality, to suggest otherwise is false. Applications from Pakistan are assessed in the same manner and against the same immigration rules as applications from every other nationality.
‘I am confident that we operate a firm and fair visa operation. It is the UK Border Agency’s responsibility to prevent entry to the UK those who do not meet our entry criteria while welcoming legitimate trade and travel.
‘Entry Clearance Officers consider each visa application on its individual merits and will refuse an application where they are not satisfied that the applicant meets the requirements of the visitor rules.
‘It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure they meet these rules and provide sufficient evidence to support their application. Any person who has been refused a family visit visa may have the right to appeal against the decision.’
‘The work of the whole UK Border Agency, including the visa operation, is subject to scrutiny and oversight by the independent Chief Inspector, John Vine.’
Entry Clearance Officers (ECO’s) have previously been accused of being too easy on Pakistani visa applicants following the arrest of 11 terror suspects from Pakistan in April.
The Visa processing for Pakistan in now carried out by teams based in the UAE, under the regionalised ‘hub and spoke’ scheme, and ECO’s were thought to lack local knowledge.