Home Office prevents married couple from being together for the birth of their first child | home office
A married couple have been left ‘broken’ and ‘in shock’ after being prevented by the Home Office from being together for the birth of their first baby, due in the coming days.
Farzana Miah, 23, who lives in Southall, is an Italian citizen who was granted leave under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSs) by the Home Office. She met Mohammed Mushraf, 27, after he came to the UK to study. The couple married in west London in May 2021 and their child is due March 28.
Mushraf requested permission to stay as a partner of someone with EUSS. At the time of the application, the couple were in a relationship, but had to postpone their wedding plans several times due to the coronavirus pandemic. Officials confirmed that they also had to wait for the Home Office to confirm their relationship was genuine before the wedding could take place.
Mushraf received a candidacy certificate, which allowed him to work, study and rent property while his candidacy was considered on July 3. He also said that people in possession of this certificate can “travel inside and outside the country without having to prove their status because your information will be verified automatically”.
Based on this, the couple decided to travel to India last November to visit Mushraf’s family before the baby was born. But when Mushraf tried to board a plane to return to the UK with his wife, immigration officials told him he was being barred entry because he did not have the documents relevant, such as a residence permit.
Officials said the application certificate was not enough. Miah had to return to the UK alone.
On February 10, the Home Office denied his request, saying he had failed to provide sufficient evidence that he was a “lasting partner” of his wife at the time of the request. Usually, this proof consists of the couple’s two names on utility bills or rental agreements. However, as the couple are practicing Muslims, they had not cohabited before their marriage.
Their attorney, Naga Kandiah of MTC Solicitors, has filed an urgent appeal which he hopes will be heard before the baby is born.
“We are in shock,” Miah said. “If it hadn’t been for what was stated on the Home Office’s application certificate for the right to travel, we would never have traveled to India. I begged the Home Office to let my husband be with me for the birth of my baby, but I don’t think we can melt their hearts.
Speaking from India, Mushraf said: “I feel broken. We’ve done our best to be together, but I don’t know what else we can do. I want to be in the delivery room with my wife to support her, but I am helpless because of the Home Office.
Kandiah said: “This is a prime example of someone being misled by the wording of their certificate. This resulted in the separation of this family at, arguably, one of the most critical times in their lives, the birth of their first child.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Under the Withdrawal Agreement, someone claiming to remain in the UK as a lasting partner of an EU citizen will generally have to prove, with evidence that the relationship was durable as of December 31, 2020 and continues. When an application is refused, the applicant has 14 days from the date of the decision to appeal, or 28 days if they are outside the UK.