Gran, 82, refused visa for UK wedding as Home Office thinks she won’t ‘go back home’

A family has been left ‘gutted’ after their gran was refused a visa for a wedding – because the Home Office think she won’t ‘go back home’.

Civil engineer Khadim Hayat, 28, from London, has been told his gran Fatima Hayat, 82, will miss his brother Fahim’s wedding at the end of September.

She will also miss Khadim’s MA in Civil Engineering graduation from London Southbank University in October.

MyLondon reported the family have not seen their farm loving grandma since 2019 after the pandemic – with the Taliban takeover making it too difficult to visit Afghanistan.

Fatima “never wanted to come” to the UK and has not even visited since they moved 20 years ago.

Khadim said he was “heartbroken” and “hurt” by the decision after he tried to “cover every single base” with the application, including letters from solicitors and friends to support their “good character”.

The engineer moved to the East London from Afghanistan after his parents left Pakistan for the UK in 1994 after fleeing the Soviet invasion.

His family include doctors, business owner, an accountant, and a scientist working in UK health security among their rank.

Khadim said: “I do not think I could provide anything else. I am gutted I spent a lot of time preparing this application.

“They said in the reply letter I have not mentioned anything about my daughters. How far do I need to go? It is Afghanistan, we do not have a banking system.”

Khadim and his family would not feel safe going to Afghanistan, so decided to convince Fatima to make the journey to the UK from Kabul.

He spent £90 on the application, £360 on fast-tracking costs, and his brother Sifat took time off work to fly to Pakistan to help Fatima fill in her biometrics across the border.

The journey to Afghanistan to Pakistan is dangerous, involves lots of walking, and the 82-year-old had to pass through the border on her own.

Back in Stratford, Khadim had to take over Sifat’s supermarket while he was helping his grandma, forcing him to work until 10.30pm each night on top of his 9-5pm job.

After an application – which included 27 documents – the Home Office response said: “I am not satisfied that your personal or financial ties to your home country exceed those that you have to the UK and that you intend to leave at the end of your proposed visit”.

Khadim said this reply amounted to an accusation of “dishonesty”. He added: “They are saying I am not a person of good character, that I am lying.

“What is an 82-year-old going to do here? I am really upset. It was so much effort to do this.”

After writing to his local MP Stella Creasy, Khadim learned he will be unable to appeal.

He wanted to raise awareness about the lack of appeals process to help other families facing the same situation.

He still has the option to reapply and address the reasons for refusal.

The Home Office will not comment on individual cases and visitors must prove they are a genuine visitor, have “sufficient funds”, and they will leave the UK at the end of their visit.

An Entry Clearance Officer will consider “personal circumstances and economic ties” when deciding to refuse.

Applicants need to provide “adequate documentation” to meet the requirements.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Each application to visit the UK is assessed on its individual merits and in line with the Immigration Rules.”

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