Tuesday, 16 July 2019 04:39 GMT
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UK finally allows mum and baby to return from Pakistan




(MENAFN - Gulf Times) A woman who was refused a visa to return to London after travelling to Pakistan to adopt a baby has been told she can come home.
Nina Saleh has a Norwegian passport but full UK residency rights after living in London for 20 years.
She was refused a visa to return home with baby Sofia three times, despite going through a stringent and lengthy adoption process in the UK with British authorities' involvement.
Within 48 hours of the Guardian and others publishing her story, Saleh received news that the Home Office was overturning its decision and allowing her back home.
Speaking from Karachi, where she has spent four months waiting for her case to be resolved, Saleh told the Guardian she had almost lost hope of ever getting home.
'Just this morning I was crying my eyes out. My friend who was also adopting here got her visa yesterday and was dreading telling me. We met through the adoption process, we were all in the same WhatsApp group.
'Obviously I was happy for her but I felt so upset for me and for Sofia.
'I was crying so much. I thought this would never end.
'Then my lawyer called and said it got overturned, and now I am so happy.
'The media pressure was instrumental in getting this overturned. I think it's alarming how unprofessional the Home Office is.
'Since February they have stopped me from getting on with my life and I am left feeling still traumatised and highly vulnerable.
Saleh's solicitor in the UK, Saimah Razzaq, at the Immigration Advice Service, told the Guardian earlier this week that the Home Office had been 'negligent by not applying the correct regulations to let her come home.
Saleh was originally refused on the basis that adoption is not allowed from Pakistan to the UK as there is no intra-country adoption agreement.
However, couples or individuals coming from the UK use an established route of getting legal guardianship of the baby and then travelling back to Britain, where the authorities formalise the adoption process.
Saleh says she is still angry with her treatment by the Home Office.
'I had a very stringent, lengthy process in the UK, led by UK social services. A social worker visited me at home for two hours a week, for a year. They knew I was coming here to Pakistan.
'The Department of Education, who have approved me for adoption, knew I was coming to Pakistan.
'It's actually disgusting reading the letter they sent today. They have blamed me for using the word ‘adoptive' mother when the adoption hasn't been finalised yet.
'But I had provided reams of evidence, detailing the legal process of guardianship in Pakistan.
She told the Guardian that she believes she was refused a visa because of her status as an EEA national, despite having lived for so long in the UK.
'I believe I am being treated like a second-class citizen because I have Norwegian citizenship.
'The two other couples I travelled with, one British, one a mixed British-European national, both returned easily to the UK with their babies.
'You know, I fought this for months but somebody else might not feel that brave.
'I expected delays or problems in Pakistan, but they were so professional this side.
'The Home Office was a complete shambles and totally unaccountable.
Saleh expects to be home within two weeks.

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UK finally allows mum and baby to return from Pakistan

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