Bengali chef’s struggle to remain in UK continues despite being cleared of charges | The Daily Star
07:54 PM, September 28, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:05 PM, September 28, 2020

Bengali chef’s struggle to remain in UK continues despite being cleared of charges

A Bangladeshi chef, who went to the United Kingdom (UK) with a work permit, only to face a series of unfortunate events and being implicated in false charges against him, has recently been cleared of the offences but continues to struggle to remain in the country.

In 2003, Saiful Islam from Patuakhali -- aged 27 at that time -- moved to the UK with an employment visa to work as a chef for a Thai restaurant. Previously, he used to work as a chef in Dhaka at the popular Euro Garden restaurant in Mouchak Market.

Once in the UK, he faced exploitation by his employer who withheld bulk of his salaries and forced him to work 18-hours a day. In 2005, he contacted the police and the UK Home Office and informed the authorities in this regard.

The Home Office allowed him to move to a different employer. Since Saiful was approaching the expiry date of his visa, he applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. 

However, it seemed misfortune was not leaving him anytime soon, as his application was turned down, and that too on ground of an error made by the Home Office, which he pointed out to them.

The Home Office had inaccurately recorded that Saiful Islam "was a registered sex offender and had previously been convicted of both common assault and actual bodily harm". In addition, the Home Office also incorrectly recorded that "he had entered the UK unlawfully and as a result had been served a curtailment notice in 2005".

And hence, Saiful ended up being entangled in a long cobweb of legal battle till 2019 when the Home Office finally admitted that they had made serious errors and offered him initially £5,000, plus another £1,000 as compensation, which he refused to accept.

As a result of the Home Office's blunders, Saiful Islam was refused Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK following his application in 2011, which was upheld in the High Court and Court of Appeal on an incorrect basis because of the inaccurate facts put forward by the Home Office. 

Now aged 44, Saiful is living in Peterborough where the MP Paul Bristow and a pro bono lawyer Andy Cave are helping him with his case.

The errors also severely affected Saiful Islam's immigration history and he had to spend vast sums of money on legal advice attempting to rectify the errors and regularise his immigration status. Therefore, in the present circumstances and to avoid unnecessary Subject Access Request by litigation, Saiful Islam is demanding a settlement of £30,000 to adequately compensate him for the abject failings and data breaches arising from the Home Office's conduct which caused him issues in relation to his immigration status, health and also incurred him financial loss.

Talking about the ill treatment he received from the Home Office to The Guardian newspaper earlier this year, Saiful Islam said, "I am a victim of a scandal and race discrimination. I have lost so many years, I've lost my health, I've lost so much money. I'll never get this time back, but I'm still determined to fight on."

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