A British lawyer has been unable to bring his new wife to join him in the UK because the Home Office rejected a visa he did not apply for.
Samir Pasha, 31, paid a total of £3,204 plus legal costs to bring his new wife Zunab Fareha Pasha, 24, a dyslexia specialist, to the UK.
The couple married in Pakistan in December 2019.
Pasha, in immigration terms his wife’s sponsor, submitted hundreds of pages of supporting evidence about his relationship, his financial circumstances and his employment to the Home Office to support the partner visa application.
However, the Home Office rejected an application for a simple visit visa costing £95 that he did not make. Applicants for visitor visas are not expected to supply the amount of supporting documents required for a partner visa.
Pasha says he is stuck because he has no right of appeal against a visa he did not apply for.
“I have no right of appeal and no right of administrative review. I’m in Pakistan with my wife. Our trust in the British immigration system has been shattered. I will have to stay in Pakistan for as long as it takes for this to be rectified,” he said.
Just a day after the Guardian contacted the Home Office about the case Pasha received a letter of apology “for sending you a blank visa refusal notice”. It added that the refusal has now been overturned and the spouse visa application will now be reconsidered.
“We followed all the rules, we meet the income requirements and we have a genuine relationship,” said Pasha.
It is not the first time Pasha’s family have experienced problems with a partner visa. When his brother applied for a marriage visa for his wife Rabia Mueen Pasha, it was refused by the Home Office on the basis that it was not credible he should be away from the family pizza business for several months and the fact that there were inconsistencies in the account of the menu provided by him and his father . His father said the restaurant served pizza and his son said it also served side dishes of garlic bread, chicken wings and ice cream.
A judge in the immigration tribunal rejected the Home Office’s reasons for refusing the marriage visa in March 2019 and ordered the Home Office to pay the couple £140, which they have not yet received.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Ms Zunab Pasha’s application was correctly handled by the Home Office as a spousal visa and was refused. However, due to an administrative error, an incorrect form was issued to Ms Pasha.
“In light of this error, we will now review the application and the fee already paid will cover this, so Ms Zunab Pasha will not have to pay again. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will contact the customer directly. In the case of Ms Rabia Pasha, we are reviewing the judge’s comments and considering our next steps.”
Samir Pasha, a qualified barrister who works as a senior caseworker at MTC solicitors, has been assisted in his application for a partner visa by his colleague solicitor Naga Kandiah, who said: “This toxic culture at the Home Office is forcing bona fide applicants to endure months of enforced separation. The Home Office are playing with people’s lives and their futures.”