A mother of a seriously ill daughter has been blocked from the UK after immigration officials refused to grant her a visa as they were “not satisfied” her intentions were genuine. Fateha Begum, a 61 year old Bangladesh national who resides in the US, was informed she could not come to Britain to see Tunazzina Nizu, a recurrent ovarian cancer patient. Her visa was denied on grounds that she may not leave the UK at the end of her visit.
In her visa application, Begum had included financial evidence that she would be accommodated during her six-week visit and that her flight costs would be covered. She had also included a letter from her daughter’s NHS oncologist, confirming the cancer diagnosis and describing Nizu's condition as “very serious”. Lawyers call 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.
Dagenham-based Nizu, who lives with her husband and two young children, has undergone two unsuccessful rounds of chemotherapy and is currently in the Queen's hospital. She is due to begin radiotherapy, but it was delayed due to a failed kidney. Nizu 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.”
Begum's lawyer Jan Doerfel said the case showed 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 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.”
Meanwhile, the Home Office has stated that it refused the application because it did not meet requirements. However, the decision was being reviewed on compassionate grounds.