A British woman whose immigrant husband abandoned her weeks after getting into the UK via an arranged marriage revealed yesterday how the authorities spent ten years ignoring her pleas to deport him for flouting the law.
She has spent a decade enduring his taunts about how he has taken the immigration system for a ride.
She even took police to the house where the man was hiding – only for him to escape via the back door when bungling officers left it uncovered.
Worse, she says her life is ‘ruined’ because she can never recover from the shame of Sharia law divorce – even though they are still married under British law.
Her protest has been taken up by Deputy Commons Speaker Nigel Evans, who is collecting a dossier of similar cases for Home Secretary Theresa May.
He said: ‘It is scandalous that this lady spent ten years telling the police and the Home Office of her husband’s illegal behaviour – yet they did nothing.
‘It makes our immigration system look like a joke.’
The incident came to light after Ministers said two thirds of people who come to the UK on marriage visas have never set foot in the country before.
The Government is proposing several new curbs, including encouraging people to report suspected illegal immigrants, outlawing forced marriages and making families of would-be immigrants pay a cash bond.
The woman, who contacted The Mail on Sunday, is a respected member of her community in Blackburn, Lancashire.
The daughter of Pakistani immigrants, she was born in the UK, is ‘proud to consider myself English’ and has a full-time professional career.
She said she had been happy to enter an arranged marriage because she considered it ‘part of her culture’.
Aged 21, she went to Pakistan to meet her husband, who was her cousin, and they got married.
She returned to Britain, where she bought and renovated a house while she waited for her husband to join her.
She said: ‘It wasn’t a love marriage, though I believed love would come after we married.
‘But eight weeks after he arrived, he moved out and moved in with an uncle who lived round the corner.
‘I was very shocked. We phoned his mother back in Pakistan and she said “just give him a visa and throw him out”.
We couldn’t believe it. They had been planning it all along. I had kept his passport, and he sent people round to get it. I refused.
I knew he would destroy it to remove any evidence of when he had entered the country.
‘Then he started harassing me. He even sent his grandmother to berate me. He pushed his way into my mum and dad’s house and abused them.
I had to call the police to stop him. The Home Office and the UK Borders Agency said they couldn’t do anything until his one-year marriage visa expired.
‘All the time he taunted me over the way he had got into the country.
On one occasion I tracked him down myself. I called the police and they knocked on the front door of the house where he was staying.
He got out via the back and has never been seen again.
‘Recently I was informed he has been given leave to remain here for three years.
He qualifies for benefits even though he has never paid a penny in tax because he works for cash illegally.
Incredibly, he is now using legal aid to divorce me. He wants to marry someone else to increase his chances of staying here for good.
‘I have been humiliated. I obtained a Sharia divorce on the grounds of desertion, but we are still man and wife under English law. My life is ruined. As a Muslim once you are divorced, no one will marry you.
‘I have been telling the authorities for years that he should be sent back, but they have done nothing.
The people who suffer most are genuine immigrants who come here legally because it makes people hostile to them.’
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘For too long the immigration system was allowed to get out of control, decisions were not taken quickly enough and that meant those who should not have been allowed to stay were able to do so.
‘The Government is toughening the system to prevent abuse
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