Cynthia Barker writes...good morning. What a beautiful day it is here in sunny London! Working from home today, as I have a Rotary meeting and I'm also drafting a very important case (sometimes you need a bit of peace away from the office to think). My client, a pretty young Filipina married to an older British man, was a victim of domestic violence. Now, before you jump to conclusions, the domestic "violence" was not physical, but mental torture. Yes, mental torture is a form of domestic violence.
When she came to see me last year she was going through hell and after probing a little further the tears began to flood as she revealed that she had been in an abusive relationship for years.
Her manipulative husband, who was staying in the Philippines at the time, was refusing to sign her papers for ILR (indefinite leave to remain or permanent residency in the UK) and basically abusing his power over her, which I felt was mental torture.
She was here in the UK with her Son and when she came to me her visa was about to expire, yet he was delaying supporting her application for residency and even told her that she should return to the Philippines and apply from there - an application which would have almost certainly failed leaving her trapped, without means of supporting her British Son.
He had also threatened to take her child away from her, which he could have done had she been stuck in the Philippines while he skipped back here with the boy.
This bully knew exactly what he was doing to her, but I was so determined that I wasn't going to let him get away with it!
We literally spent days on the case. We took a lot of time to gather all the evidence and put in a special application for ILR on the basis that her British husband was paying games and torturing her. Fortunately, the Home Office agreed and, thank God, they issued her indefinite leave to remain in the UK in just 15 days!
Last week she came back to me to process her application for naturalisation and British Citizenship, which will secure her long term residency in the UK. She looks a different person, happy and confident again.
I just want to say to all migrant spouses or partners (men or women) who may be victims of domestic violence, torture or an abusive relationship, however bad your situation may seem, talk to someone, take advice and see a qualified immigration adviser. Even if you have overstayed or broken the UK Immigration Rules, you should never give up hope of justice.
If you are the victim of abuse or domestic violence, or need advice on any immigration matter, EU or UK immigration law, or want to appeal against a refusal, call Cynthia Barker on 020 8731 5972 or email her your details and number Immigration@londonccs.com. Cynthia Barker is an OISC registered Immigration Adviser with a team of Level 3 Immigration Law Practitioners, Concept Care Solutions, Middlesex House, 29-45 High Street, Edgware, HA8 7UU.