One-year-old boy ordered to leave UK just two months after father started working as NHS doctor

Alessio Perrone
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One-year-old boy ordered to leave UK just two months after father started working as NHS doctor

The one-year-old son of a doctor who moved to the UK to work for the NHS has been told he must leave the country.

The Home Office wrote to Dr Magdi Ibrahim's 18-month-old son, Isaac, to reject his application for indefinite leave to remain, leaving the family distraught and confused.

“We just couldn't understand why they would refuse our young son when both of his parents have the correct visas,” says Dr Ibrahim.

Magdi Ibrahim, 43, and the toddler’s mother April, 30, had moved to the UK in February after Dr Ibrahim got a visa to work in the UK and started a job as a medical practitioner at Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital, in Lancashire.

His wife, April, was able to come with him because she is classed as a dependant.

Despite Isaac also being a dependant, immigration officials claim he is only here on a six-month visitor visa and must leave the country by the end of July.

A Home Office spokesperson said the refusal was due to Ibrahim's parent's completing the wrong application form.

"We have contacted Isaac's parents, explained the situation and invited them to submit the correct application," they said in a statement.

Originally from Sudan and the Philippines respectively, Magdi and April met while working in a hospital in Abu Dhabi in 2012.

After they married in 2016, April was given a permanent visa to work in Australia and moved there. Isaac was born in Sydney in 2017 and has an Australian birth certificate.

Magdi applied and registered to be a doctor in Australia, but was told he needed more experience.

“I had already gained full membership for the Royal College of Physicians and that is how we ended up in Blackpool,” he says.

The health service relies heavily on staff from overseas, with around 139,000 of the 1.2 million NHS workers being foreigners – around one in every eight.

The figure among doctors is much higher – at around one in every four.

Anyone who has been offered a skilled job in the UK or is from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland must apply for a Tier 2 General visa.

The visa allows holders to bring their families with them, according to the Home Office website.

The couple said they fear they may have to leave the country if Isaac cannot stay.

“We are very worried,” says Dr Ibrahim. “I don't think we will be able to sleep properly until we know he can stay with us.”