Indian Ladies in UK has campaigned tirelessly for the rights of Indian women who have been cruelly abandoned in India by their NRI husbands or those who have fallen victim to domestic abuse.
Today’s story, however, is the story of a husband and wife who have fallen victim to the vagaries of British immigration law which is conspiring to keep them apart.
The wife, Savita Vyas has been forced to report to an immigration reporting centre, has gone through the humiliation of being locked up in a detention centre and has had her dependent visa rejected twice.
An immigration officer who was taking her to the detention centre said that “She is like a rotten tooth that needs to be taken out”
And this is someone who has met all the requirements to live in the UK, is married to a permanent resident of the UK, has studied and worked here as an HR Manager. The visa has been rejected due to being made out of time when the refusal sent by the home office has been delayed first by 10 days and another time by 3 months. Home office gives 14 days from the time of refusal letter for the appeal to be made. In Savita’s case, they have made the appeals after receiving the refusal. Home office has not been able to produce any proof of delivery and putting the burden on the applicant by saying they have every reason to believe that they sent the refusal letter on time and its the applicant who has delayed.
Savita first applied for FLR (Further Leave to Remain) in July 2016. Her application was refused via a letter dater 21st July 2017. In the letter, she was given two options – to make an ‘Out of Country’ appeal or make a fresh application in a new category.
The new application was needed to be made within 14 days from the date of refusal. The refusal was received by Savita’s lawyer on 31 July – ten days after the rejection letter was issued. The new application as a spouse dependent of a settled person was made on 11th August, 14 days from the receipt of refusal letter, with a covering letter clearly mentioning the date of receipt of refusal.
On 14 August Savita was imposed with IS96 which meant she needed to report to a reporting centre once every 4 weeks. This was imposed as according to the Home office Savita had delayed making the fresh application by 10 days by which time she had become illegal and hence her application was considered to be made ‘Out of Time’ and therefore invalid. Savita continued going to the reporting center with no clue on the decision on her application.
The August application was rejected on 18 October 2017 but the home office served it only on 17 Jan 2018 after much pursuance by Savita who had no idea what decision Home office had made on her application.
Savita’s lawyer sent a pre-action protocol on the 23rd Jan to the Home office challenging their decision saying they sent the rejection late which is why the application was filed late. It warned Home office of a judicial review if they didn’t reconsider their decision.
In spite of that Home office ordering Savita to be detained on the 24 January 2018 as she went for her reporting under IS96 not knowing she won’t be allowed to come back. They gave her the Air tickets which were booked for 26th Jan 2018 to India and told her she was going home and while all that is arrange, she will be detained. She was handcuffed and taken to a detention centre. Her phone and other belongings were taken away from her.
It was from the detention centre that Savita made contact with her husband and her lawyer processed her bail and JR (Judicial Review) for the refusal was put into action. Husband had to show almost £4000 as guarantee in order to get her out on bail. Subsequently the Air tickets were cancelled and 5 days later Savita was allowed to go back home.
Home office on finding out about Savita’s intention of JR , contacted Savita’s lawyer saying they will reconsider the case hence advised them to retract the JR only to find out that in June 2018 HO came back saying their decision of refusal dated 18 Oct 2017 was correct.
This time Savita was given only option and that is to go to India and make an application for entry clearance, disregarding the 10 years she has spent here studying, working and having a family life.
If Savita goes back to India, It well may not come or take a good few years as the HO already considers her as an over-stayer.
Savita is now back to square one and filing for a judicial review again which she should have been allowed to file in her previous application itself. While the JR process is on, HO won’t be able to deport her. But if she loses her her JR, Home Office will deport Savita.
Savita’s husband Dipesh has now started a petition on change.org asking the Home office to stop its unfair and cruel plan to deport his wife and to help the countless others who have are facing a similar fate because of a “technicality”.
Among those is another woman who was recently deported to India – and who got in touch with ILUK – after a slight delay in her application for citizenship. Her husband is a British citizen. Her deportation has meant that her IVF treatment has been disrupted and both husband and wife are fighting tooth and nail to reunite.
In a country which affords rapists and murderers are granted rights to a family life, it is a sign of the “hostile environment” of the Home Office that it is targeting law-abiding, tax-paying migrants from outside the European Union.
Please help Dipesh to be heard so his family doesn’t break.
Please sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-stop-deporting-spouse-and-parents-of-british-legal-citizens
Poonam Joshi of Indian Ladies UK spoke to both Savita and Dipesh about their challenges and how they plan to fight Home office’s unfair decision: