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The judge found that woman was unlawfully discriminated against in her case of transnational marriage abandonment.

The woman who was abandoned by her British husband in Pakistan and got separated from her two-year-old daughter has won a case in court against such practice.

The judge ruled that women have been unlawfully discriminated against and should be allowed to return to the United Kingdom.

Women who come to the United Kingdom on a spouse visa and get married to a British man sometimes end up being tricked into returning to their birth country, often from India, Bangladesh or Pakistan. Their travel documents are usually taken from them before they’re abandoned! This practice is known as transnational marriage abandonment.

Court has described transnational marriage abandonment as domestic abuse which is reported to affect hundreds of women. Women who fall victim to international marriage abandonment have often been subjected to other abuse by their husbands.

The Home Office has been struggling with this issue since 2016 but had not reached a conclusion by the time of the high court challenge.

The 31 years old woman referred to as AM in this case study was subjected to severe physical, financial, emotional, domestic and sexual abuse from her partner that left her with long-term health issues. AM married her husband in 2017 and arrived with him in the UK that December and gave birth to their daughter in the UK a year later in Dec 2018!

She was deceived into visiting Pakistan with her husband and their two-year-old daughter in January 2021. She was abandoned by him and then returned to England with our daughter.

After a long eight months away from her daughter, she could finally return and be with her again. There are many women who have been abandoned by their husbands and separated from their children for years and can find themselves in a nightmare scenario where they are left without any support or understanding of what to do next.

When she heard her daughter refer to herself as “auntie” due to enforced separation, she said she was particularly devastated.

The woman was thrilled by the High Court’s decision and welcomed the ruling. She said that many other women have tried to come back but their children refuse to live with them because kids were told by their father “that lady left you.” It’s hard to imagine how painful it feels when our kids do not want live with us. They should have the right in coming back here quickly though to prevent this to happen.

Without a case like this, these husbands think they can just leave at any time or do what their want with us and they have the power to do anything.

AM

A lack of options for victims who have been left by their husbands has let abusers get away with it. The criminals wanted to make sure that their spouses couldn’t come back to the UK. They knew if they could just get them out of this country, then they will not have access to the UK criminal, family and immigration system.

The UK has finally put an end to abuser’s impunity through the findings of the high court and the Home Office will need to enable victims’ re-entry into the country.

 Nath Gbikpi of Islington Law Centre

Anyone who has suffered from domestic abuse must be treated as a victim first regardless of their immigration status.

We know that transnational marriages can be volatile, with one person deserting the other. We regularly deal with complex cases of abandonment and grant victims a short period entry clearance so they could access support as well apply for an applicant’s permanent visa.

We are very pleased with the Court’s decision and look forward to implementing it as soon possible.

Home Office Spokesperson