Home Office apologises for labelling Bangladeshi chef a criminal

Chef who was branded a sex offender wins battle to remain in the UK

During his fight to remain in the UK, Mr Islam endured 18 court cases and extensive correspondence with the Home Office. Getty
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Saiful Islam, a Bangladeshi chef who was mistakenly labelled a sex offender by the Home Office, has won his lengthy legal battle to stay in the UK.

Mr Islam, 47, has been fighting since 2010 for his residency, spanning eight prime ministers and multiple court cases.

He arrived in the UK in 2003 with a valid permit and began working at a Thai restaurant.

In 2005, he reported his employer to the police and the Home Office for exploitation. He has his wages withheld, was forced to work 18-hour days and suffered physical abuse.

The Home Office allowed him to change employers, but when he applied for indefinite leave to remain in 2010, his visa was curtailed.

It was later discovered that the Home Office had erroneously recorded Mr Islam as an illegal entrant and a convicted sex offender, despite him having no criminal convictions.

After a court rejected his right to remain in the UK in 2019 due to errors in a work permit application, the Home Office issued a full apology and offered Mr Islam £5,000 in compensation.

The Bangladeshi chef has now been allowed to stay the UK, but plans to continue fighting for better compensation.

Fizza Qureshi, chief executive of Migrants' Rights Network, has supported Mr Islam throughout the ordeal and welcomed the Home Office's decision. She hopes he can now rebuild his life, but questions why the process took so long.

During his fight to remain in the UK, Mr Islam endured 18 court cases and extensive correspondence with the Home Office.

He only discovered the errors in his file after obtaining it through the information commissioner in 2018, after which the Home Office issued a full apology the following year. Throughout his struggle, Mr Islam suffered from depression and incurred significant expenses.

Despite acknowledging multiple errors and “historic injustice” in the handling of Mr Islam's applications, a judge ruled in 2019 that these did not directly lead to his situation nor confirm that he was still required for employment.

However, the Home Office eventually granted Mr Islam his wish, allowing him to rebuild his life and pursue his career as a chef.

Updated: April 12, 2023, 2:41 PM