England

Home Office delays: 'I missed my father's funeral'

Image copyright Waseem Iqbal

Waseem Iqbal said he was unable to attend his father's funeral in Pakistan while the Home Office processed his residency application.

The 30-year-old operations controller and self-employed accountant applied for indefinite leave to remain in January 2017 after living and working in the UK for 10 years.

His father died weeks after he submitted the application.

He said he sent his father's death certificate to the Home Office, hoping to speed up his application on a compassionate basis so his passport could be released, but heard nothing back.

He has since had his application turned down due to what the Home Office says are financial irregularities.

He has been given 28 days to leave the country.

'Place of rest'

"It's felt like I am living in a prison and cannot go anywhere," he said.

"I will appeal this, I am absolutely devastated.

"I have no right to work any more, I don't know if I can pay my mortgage and I have a baby.

"I have not claimed a single benefit since I've been in this country and have paid all my taxes.

"My wife is also a highly-qualified individual and she was a university lecturer in Pakistan and she had to give up her career just to join me in UK.

"I also haven't visited my father's last place of rest.

"I am now a patient of depression and on depression medicine."

While his wait for a decision was relatively short compared to some, Mr Iqbal said he was shocked by a "lack of compassion" shown by the Home Office.

He lives in Barking with his wife and three-month-old son Muhammad.

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