British-born baby ordered to ‘immediately leave the UK’ to ‘maintain integrity of immigration laws’

A father whose British-born baby is being threatened with removal from the UK is urging the Home Office to be flexible with how it enforces rules on visas.

Massah, who is 13 months old, was born in the Midlands in April last year. Both her parents have been living legally in Britain since 2021 when her father came to study for a PhD from Jordan and her mother came as his dependant.

They’ve tried applying for a child-dependent visa for their daughter, but this month, they received a letter from the Home Office telling them their daughter “will be required to immediately leave the UK” and will have to re-apply for a visa from abroad.

It’s all because the family took a holiday abroad together in January.

Massah's father, Mohammad, and her mother are having 'sleepless nights', they say
Massah’s father, Mohammad, and her mother are having ‘sleepless nights’, they say

The letter from the government goes on to state: “In the particular circumstances of your case, it has been concluded that the need to maintain the integrity of the immigration laws outweighs the possible effect on you/your children.”

Massah’s father, Mohammad, says he and his wife have faced sleepless nights. Despite their MP and lawyers trying to argue their case, so far they have made no further progress.

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‘What were net migration levels in 1066?’

They don’t want to have to take their baby to Jordan in order to re-apply due to the current instability in the Middle East and are concerned that, even if they did, the application could still be refused.

Mohammad tells Sky News that his daughter’s relationship with Britain will be forever changed: “I can’t imagine how I can tell her the story in the future that the country you [were] born asked you to leave while you [were] a year old.”

He shows us the reams of paperwork he has accumulated to find a solution.

The home office letter
A Home Office letter sent to Mohammad

“I’m trying to fix everything. I don’t need to consider a one-year-old infant as an overstayer here,” he said.

A Home Office spokesperson told Sky News: “All visa applications are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with the immigration rules.

“We are working closely with the parents of this child to ensure they receive the support and direction they require regarding the application.”

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The tightening of the UK’s immigration policy has been a core commitment by the government in an effort to reduce the number of people coming to the country.

Statistics released on Thursday showed the net migration figure has dropped slightly, but it comes as the prime minister confirmed that the removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda will not take place until after the general election.

Newly-arrived asylum-seekers at a reception centre in Derby
Newly-arrived asylum-seekers at a reception centre in Derby

The Rwanda plan remains a central Conservative pledge, but voters will just have to trust that planes will start going without seeing any evidence before polling day.

The election campaign will be fought in part over the future of asylum seekers.

At one charity in Derby, people who came to Britain by small boat arrive still wearing the clothes given to them at a processing centre near Dover.

With Labour planning to scrap flights to Rwanda, there’s now the possibility that many asylum seekers living in fear will never have to face the possibility of being removed to the African nation.

Damil is hoping not to be sent to Rwanda
Damil is hoping not to be sent to Rwanda

But Damil, from India, is still anxious: “Maybe after [the] election we are happy with this because the Labour Party will be our next… I don’t know what is going on.

“Still, we are worried about these things. I’m scared about Rwanda and the election too.”

Read more:
No Rwanda flights before election, Sunak says
Why Sunak may have decided to call election now
A six-week race for the keys to Number 10

One man, who we’re calling Nahom, was detained and taken to a detention centre earlier this month.

Just a few days ago, he was informed he’d been selected for the first flight to Rwanda – in June.

He spoke to us on the phone from the removal site where he had been notified “on 24 June there will be the first flight to Rwanda”.

But when we reported Thursday’s announcement by Rishi Sunak, he said the message gave him “hope” for his situation: “If the Labour Party [win] there are no flights at all… It’s good news to hear.”

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