The family of an engineer who trained Ministry of Defence engineers is being made homeless because the Home Office has still not completed a review of a controversial immigration policy they promised to report on by July.
Owais Raja’s son cannot receive potentially life-saving NHS treatment for the hole in his heart, his wife cannot be treated for her severe health problems, and Raja himself cannot afford to use the prescription given to him by his GP for antidepressants.
Raja, whose profession is on the government’s “shortage occupation” list, has been forced to sell all his family’s possessions to pay for food and rent.
Raja, from Pakistan, made a minor amendment to his tax records in 2016, which he says was the fault of his accountant, who was later sent to prison for £1million tax fraud.
Paragraph 322(5) removes migrants’ rights to work, rent property or for them or their family to use the NHS. If Raja accepts the category and returns to Pakistan, he will not be able to work in his chosen field or travel to any country that conducts visa checks. “I have no life here,” he said. “But if I return to Pakistan under a 322(5), I will have no way to earn a living there either. My family and I are trapped in this nightmare. There’s no way out from this downward spiral.”
Raja’s mother, his last living relation in Pakistan, died over Christmas. He was not able to attend her funeral.
Raja trained British engineers from the Ministry of Defence at City College Plymouth before his right to work was removed two years ago. He wrote the training programme himself and was promoted every year he was there. He was earning £32,000 when he applied for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in 2016.