Author: Amelia Hill
Saleem Dadabhoy is facing deportation under paragraph 322(5) of the Immigration Act despite three different appeal courts having scrutinised his accounts and finding no evidence of any irregularities, and an appeal judge ruling that he was trustworthy and credible. His deportation would lead directly to the loss of nearly 20 jobs, all held by British citizens, and the closure of a British company worth £1.5m.
“Due to my revenue generation at Connexion Electrical Ltd, where I am a director, the HMRC has enjoyed over £100,000 of tax receipts,” said Dadabhoy. “The Home Office should be aware that if the company closes down, it will be a loss of not only my personal tax submissions but also of the company, resulting in a greater loss for the economy.”
Dadabhoy is a grandson of the Dadabhoy family, which is widely acknowledged to be the 30th-richest family in Pakistan. Dadabhoy came to the UK in 2010 to diversify his family’s business by investing some of his family’s wealth there. Andrew Leigh, founder of Connexion Electrical Ltd, has said Dadabhoy is so key to his company’s success that it will close if he is forced to leave the country.
Dadabhoy was served with a deportation order under paragraph 322(5) in November 2017 after an eight-year dispute with the Home Office to remain in the country. It has so far cost Dadabhoy £15,000 in legal fees and will cost him another £7,000 if it goes to court. “Money isn’t important to me,” he said. “My family has enough to enable me to hire the best lawyers and barristers for this fight over whatever period it takes.
“I’m doing this because paragraph 322(5) links me to terrorism, which is the last thing a Muslim would want to be associated with because it not only hijacks and sabotages your identity but also restricts you to travel around the world, which would be especially damaging to me, belonging as I do to a business family who has property interest around the globe,” he said. “Even if I returned to Pakistantomorrow, this paragraph 322(5) would make it virtually impossible for me to get a business visa, which would be a great hindrance to my family’s business, and my career and personal life.”
Dadabhoy has employed two top UK immigration barristers to fight his case. Despite such pressure, however, the Home Office only recently admitted it was wrong to compare Dadabhoy’s gross income between the accounting year December 2012 to November 2013, with his net income from April 2012 to April 2013, and April 2013 to April 2014.
“The difference between the two different periods is £7,406,” he said. “Our explanation is that firstly, the Home Office is comparing an accounting period to a tax period. Secondly the Home Office asked me for gross incomes but compared them to net incomes. And thirdly, I incurred legal expenses in 2013 when I successfully appealed [against] a refusal by the Home Office for a tier-1 extension visa. Those business expenses meant my net income dipped in 2013 to 2014 although my gross income did not. The Home Office regards this dip as evidence of my dishonesty.”
The Home Office has nevertheless told Dadabhoy that he will be deported in line with paragraph 322(5) based on bad character and conduct. After repeated representations by his barrister, Mark Symes, the Home Office finally admitted in April that they had confused both the gross and net figures, and the tax periods. They also admitted that his conduct was not dishonest or fraudulent, and his explanation of the discrepancy was credible.
They nevertheless, however, maintained their decision to deport him under paragraph 322(5) because he had claimed the costs for the appeal he successfully launched against the Home Office’s refusal to issue him with a tier-1 extension visa in 2013 as a business expense. The Home Office now say it should have been a personal expense.
“The Home Office only thought of the point about whether these were legitimately deductible expenses after Saleem had explained his case to them about five times in writing, and they had responded three times,” said Symes. “This seems to have been an injection of inspiration from a high-powered government lawyer, not the actual Home Office decision makers.”
Paul Garlick QC, who also represented Dadabhoy, said the use of section 322(5) in his case was absurd. “Even if the Home Office is correct about his expenses, which is moot, it’s certainly not grounds for deportation,” he said. “It’s plainly disproportionate – and proportionality is one of the things the Home Office has to consider before coming to a decision.”
Dadabhoy said: “The Home Office rejected my application in 2013 on the basis of deception and said my business income was not legitimate. To defend this claim I hired solicitors, barristers and accountants to defend the genuineness of my business. How can this not be an allowable expense?”
“And even if it’s not, given that the judge in my 2013 appeal found that I was credible and honest, how can the Home Office say the same case proved my character is so bad that I am a threat to national security – especially as I have submitted multiple letters confirming my character from my employer and six different manufacturing firms I have worked with?”
Dadabhoy is now being treated for depression and anxiety, and has not seen his wife and daughter, who were forced to leave the country because their visas are dependent on his, for seven months.
“It was a moment of utter despair for me as I helplessly watched my wife walk through the gates of the departure lounge at Heathrow airport, my daughter tightly ensconced in her arms, turning around, bereft and overwhelmed,” he said. “The closest I can get to my daughter is through a screen during a video call.
“My only child of 30 months is now being treated for multiple enlarged lymph nodes in Pakistan,” said Dadabhoy. “I cannot begin to tell you of my despair when I was informed that my baby was having a biopsy and further medical investigations. Much as I wish to travel and be a decision-maker in her current treatments, while being a help and support to my family, I cannot. Instead, I sit here, desolate and distraught, at the thought of what is to happen.”