A doctor who moved to the UK to work for the NHS at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has been told his toddler son must LEAVE the country.
Magdi Ibrahim, 43, and his wife April, 30, said they are “distraught” after the Home Office wrote to 18-month-old Isaac and told him: “You applied for indefinite leave to remain. I am writing to tell you your application is refused.”
The couple said the mess has left them suffering from sleepless nights – and threatening to quit the country.
“We just couldn’t understand why they would refuse our young son when both of his parents have the correct visas,” Magdi said.
Magi started working at a medical practitioner at the Whinney Heys Road hospital in February after getting a visa to work in the UK, with his wife able to come with him because she’s classed as a ‘dependant’.
Despite Isaac also being a dependent, immigration officials claim that, because Magdi’s work visa runs out in February 2021, the youngster is only here on a six-month visitor visa and must leave the country by the end of July.
Magdi said the Home Office’s letter, addressed to Isaac, was spotted a day after his daughter Eliana was born in dramatic circumstances.
As reported in The Gazette earlier this month, the baby was delivered in the Vic’s car park after the couple hitched a lift in a car from some good Samaritans.
“We were completely shocked,” Magdi said. “I can’t find anyone to help us and it has been very difficult. I don’t know if they need proof that April is here on the application form and I keep thinking that is why it has been refused.
“We don’t know what to do about it and we are very worried.
“I don’t think we will be able to sleep properly until we know he can stay with us.
“I am frightened that he can stay for only six months and then we don’t know what to do after that.”
Magdi is originally from Sudan and April is from the Philippines.
They met whilst working in a hospital in Abu Dhabi in 2012. Magdi was an emergency physician and April a laboratory scientist.
Magdi later went to work in Dubai, a two hour drive from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but the couple still saw each other at weekends.
They married in 2016 and, shortly after, April moved to Australia when she was given a permanent visa to work there. Isaac was born in Sydney in 2017 and has an Australian birth certificate.
After eight years working in the UAE, Magdi applied and registered to be a doctor in Australia and join April – but was told he needed more experience first.
Magdi said: “They told me that I needed at least two years experience in either the UK, Ireland or Canada.
“I had already gained full membership for the Royal College of Physicians and that is how we ended up in Blackpool.”
The couple said they fear they may have to leave the country if Isaac cannot stay.
April said: “Isaac has nowhere else to go and no one else to look after him.
“All I keep doing is thinking about his future and what is going to happen.
“I gave up my career in Australia and would like to settle down here in the UK but I fear we might not be able to now.”
Magdi added: “We would have to go back to Australia as April has the right to live there.
“Although my job is good and Blackpool is where I want to further my career, I have to think of my family first. They are my main priority.”
How do the visas work?
You can apply for a Tier 2 General visa if you’ve either been offered a skilled job in the UK or you’re from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
Anyone applying for the visa to live in the UK needs to be employed by a licensed sponsor, in this case the NHS.
Applications cost from at least £409 for each person.
On the Home Office’s website it states when you have been given a Tier 2 visa you can bring family members with you as dependants which April has been granted.
++ Magdi and April said they have appealed the Home Office’s decision and anxiously await its response.
The Home Office did not respond to a request for more information and a comment at the time of going to print.
We will continue to follow this story.
++ The health service is hugely reliant on staff from overseas, with around 139,000 of the 1.2 million NHS workers being foreigners – which works out at around one in every eight.
However, that’s for all NHS staff. The figure amongst doctors is much higher at around one in every four.
What does Isaac need to stay in the UK?
To qualify to stay in the UK permanently, Isaac must meet strict government criteria, according to the Home Office.
Both his parents must “either be lawfully settled in the UK” or have been “granted indefinite leave to remain at the same time as the applicant”.
There are some exemptions, such as “serious and compelling family or other considerations”, but the Home Office said in its letter that his parents “are
not settled in the United Kingdom” and “it is not considered they are lawfully settled as a points-based system migrant”.
In a letter addressed directly to the 18-month-old an immigration worker wrote: “Your application has been refused ... as you do not meet the requirements...”
She added: “You have 14 calendar days from the date on which you received this decision to apply for administrative review.
“You may only apply for administrative review if you think there has been a case working error.”