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Border controls: Pakistan families singled out

Is Pakistan the new Jamaica? Well, when it comes to the attitudes of British immigration officials turning away legitimate families from entering the UK, the answer appears to be “yes.”

For years British border control staff have singled out Jamaica for special attention, often refusing entry to people visiting relatives for weddings and funerals. And sometimes even banning old grandmothers and grandfathers!

But now Pakistan seems to be the number one target for overly-suspicious officials who are turning away perfectly genuine visitors. As The Guardian reports: “Last year, 41% of Pakistanis applying for a visa to visit family in the UK were turned down – the highest rate for any nationality. Everyone has their own visa horror stories of endless delays and unreasonable rejections.”

Sarah Teather, the MP for Brent East, has been most active in raising concerns about this issue.

As we reported last month both Teather and Dawn Butler MP have both been busy highlighting injustices against Caribbean residents who have been badly treated by the UK Borders Agency.

Biases against Jamaica in particular stem from concerns about drug importation and over-staying, but in many cases this has meant that Britain has shown little judgement or common sense when it comes to refusing entry to innocent family members.

Quite simply, the need to enforce the law has frequently been overtaken by official’s racial stereotypes, causing them to view thousands of legitimate visitors as criminals.

The new visa figures for applicants from Pakistan raising questions about whether the same UK officials are allowing a different set of stereotypes to similarly cloud their judgement. As Homa Khaleeli writes in the Guardian:

My Pakistani cousin Nussie is 18, and a beautiful dancer. When I get married next summer she should be at my Mehndi ceremony where we sing, dance and paint swirling henna patterns on our hands.

But will she be allowed into the UK? When Nusrat’s brother wanted to visit us a few years ago his visa was refused because his ties to Pakistan were deemed not strong enough to ensure he would return – despite the fact he was only 16, at school and lived with his parents.

One relative tells of a couple whose young son had cancer and was coming over for private treatment – the boy got his visa but the parents were rejected. In addition, the process is expensive. Each application costs £67 and there is no refund if the application is denied.

The fact remains that Britain’s border controls need a lot more fine-tuning prevent many family occasions being ruined by important relatives from overseeing being denied entry.

This issue has been going on a long time. It’s about time the government moved to solve this problem.

By Lester Holloway



One Response

  1. hi my name is vaugh dillon and i need some consultant abbout an visa application i made in june of this year for leave to remain i took a life in the uk test and fail i got 16 out of 24 question my visa was due to up on the 2nd of july i send off my application by the 22nd of june they send me back to say they have received appliction but later send back to say iv,e sent the wrong form and fee and they sent me a new form it was the same as the one i sent the only diffrence was that the fee add gone up they returnd all my documents exept my cheque when i check my account the cheque was taken out in the finantial crisis at time i had to wait for them to return that cheque so when they did i sent back my file to them now six months later they send back my wife passport lastweek and said they add a copy and my case is pending thursday of this week they they sent back my document to say the have refused my application on the basis that i dont have sufficent nollege of life in the uk and my application was late on resubmittion and i had no grounds to appeal and i had to leave the uk by the 30 of this month

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