A restaurant owner in East Lancashire says his mum has been condemned to a “sad and lonely future” after the Home Office rejected her application to stay in the UK.
Zak Marhraoui, owner of The Wellsprings restaurant in Sabden, is appealing against the Home Office’s decision to reject his mother Rhimou Satter’s visa and order her deportation to Morocco.
Zak said his 74-year-old mum is “shocked and upset” about the decision and will be sent back to the northern coastal city of Tangier to “spend the rest of her life alone” if their appeal is unsuccessful.
Ms Satter, who has been living in Sabden for two years, moved to the country so she could be taken care of by her son.
Zak said: “She fell over and broke her legs and nobody even knew for 24 hours.
"That’s when I made the decision to have her come back to us.
“Now she is getting older and she lives on her own. I can’t leave her on her own in another country and she has to spend the rest of her life with me.
“I have a strong business here and I employ 30 people. Every time something happens I can’t just close the business and go to see her.
“She needs to be here with me, there is nobody there [in Tangier] for her. She is so scared at the thought of being on her own.”
According to Zak, the Home Office gave “no real explanation as to why” the application was rejected, and said he has spent nearly £10,000 on solicitors fees, insurance and other costs in order to submit the application correctly.
He said: “It cost me nearly £10,000 in fees to the Home Office, solicitors, insurance and everything.
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“I followed all of the correct procedures and filled out the right paperwork. I did everything right and they said if we did everything correctly we would get what we want but obviously not.
“It came as such a shock when they rejected this and I couldn’t believe it.”
Zak said he has been trying to get in contact with the Home Office and will fight their decision to reject the visa, although he has been told this could take months.
He said: “I have been emailing the Home Office every week but have heard nothing back.
“It’s not fair what they are doing to people. My mum has helped me get to where I am now, without her I wouldn’t be here with my own business in Lancashire.
“We always work so hard in this country and never ask for anything.”
In an open letter to the Home Office he has slammed the immigration system as “narrow minded” and “broken”.
He said: “I would like to express my disappointment, in what is a broken immigration system, in which people with a very narrow minded mindset somehow have the power, and decide at will, to rip families apart.
“How do you determine who has citizenship and who can’t?
“You’ve basically denied my 74-year-old mother the opportunity to live out the remainder of her life with her only family.
“You’ve condemned her to a very sad, lonely, and bleak future.”
The Home Office said they cannot comment on individual cases.
A spokesperson said: “All visa applications are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence provided and in accordance with immigration rules”.