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The decision to reject visa applications for two Afghan mountaineers, Hanifa Yousoufi and Freshta Ibrahimi, was initially made on Friday 20 September 2019.
Ms Yousoufi has been described as a trailblazing woman who has climbed her country’s highest mountain as an experienced mountaineer. Upon being highlighted by Ascend, a US not-for-profit organisation that Ms Ibrahimi works as a programme co-ordinator.
The two applicants had to travel from Kabul to Delhi, India in order to apply for the UK visa in the first place. Having been left in a state of uncertainty from last Friday to Monday, Ms Ibrahimi vented that there should be a way for Afghans, particularly those invited to the UK because of their expertise, to apply for permission to travel to Britain via the British embassy in Kabul instead having to travel to India.
When initially rejected, the Home Office seemed to use the fact that the two women were not married and had not properly shown social or family ties to Afghanistan. These points were referenced in the rejection letter.
However, it was not considered that Ms Yousoufi had been forced into an arranged marriage when she was 15 before eventually managing to escape. Nor was it taken into account that she has travelled extensively to other destinations, such as France, always returning to Afghanistan. With their now-granted visas, Ms Yousoufi and Ms Ibrahimi will firstly travel to Wales in the UK to carry out some mountaineering there.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Immigration is a complex area of law for both corporates and individuals. Please contact our Business Immigration / Employment Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.
Conor McCrory, Associate, Immigration Law Team, Cleaver Fulton Rankin, Solicitors.