Cambridge medical student’s kin seeks immigration minister’s intervention

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert takes up the case of Mohammad Razai with Green 3rd January 2010: Twice refused entry to the UK, the family of a Cambridge medical student has urged the immigration minister to step in so they can watch him graduate.
Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has taken up the case of 24-year-old Mohammad Razai with immigration minister Damian Green. Razai is due to graduate in January.

He came to the UK as an asylum seeker when he was just 15, after several members of his family of Hazara ethnic group were detained, tortured and killed in his native country, Afghanistan. He, his father and mother were imprisoned in 1987 in Soviet occupied Afghanistan. His father was later executed.

He and his 14-year-old cousin Ali were smuggled out of the county dressed as women in 2000, after one of his uncles was murdered in prison. At that time, he spoke no English.

Razai went on to complete his pre-clinical medicine degree at St Edmund’s College and is due to graduate this month.

Eager to have his family witness the big event of his life, he has already delayed his graduation twice to allow his mother and half-brother to attend. But the UK Border Agency has refused two of their applications for visitors’ visas.

After the second refusal, Razai sought the help of Cambridge MP Huppert, hoping that his family might be permitted in from their home in Kabul with his intervention.
Razai said he would be very disappointed, if his mother could not be at the graduation ceremony.

The student said he was supposed to graduate in June, but it was postponed until October and now to January.

He said his mother made four day-long journeys to Islamabad to try to get these visas. She was exhausted and giving up.

On both occasions the reason for refusal was the same — they were not genuine visitors.

The broader issue was that, unfortunately, there was an assumption that claims from certain parts of the world such as Afghanistan were disingenuous.

Responding, Dr Huppert said the case has serious implications for any British citizen in this country planning an event such as a wedding or even a funeral who wants family from overseas to be present.

This was one of the biggest events in Mohammad’s life and it was only natural that he wants his family to be with him.

The Border Agency was being unnecessarily harsh in the case; and he hoped it would grant these visas so that this family could be together.

A spokesman from the UK Border Agency said every visa application was carefully considered on its own merits against the immigration rules.

The immigration rules for visitors were clear and it was important an applicant provided sufficient evidence of funds and sufficient ties to their home country to demonstrate they will return at the end of their proposed stay.

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