A week ago, a young Indian family got on a plane at Heathrow and left England. They had been accused of a crime they say they didn’t commit, but they were not shown the evidence against them or allowed to respond to it. They were forced to pack up their belongings and leave the country, their savings spent and their life in tatters.
It happened just as they were starting a new chapter in their lives. Saiba Singh (not her real name) recently got a job in healthcare and gave birth to their first child. Things were just getting started. Then a letter came from the Home Office. It said she’d used fraud to pass the English language test required for a long-term visa to the UK. She was accused of going to a testing centre, meeting a fake exam sitter and then standing to one side while they completed the answers for her.
“The employer is terminating her with immediate effect,” her husband told me, days before they left.
“It’s very, very upsetting. We did everything legally. We didn’t use any shortcuts, any dodgy things. We did everything clearly and legal. But still we are getting the problem with UKBA [the former immigration branch of the Home Office]. So we have to go back. All our saved money is used up. It’s a big problem now.”