Britons adopting Pakistani children ‘stuck’ due to visa delays

British couples adopting children in Pakistan have been left stuck in the country due to visa processing delays caused by the sudden Ukraine...


British couples adopting children in Pakistan have been left stuck in the country due to visa processing delays caused by the sudden Ukraine refugee crisis, the Guardian reported.

The British newspaper found that Home Office visa delays were part of “wider failings” in processing, with families seeking adoption around the world prevented from returning to the UK.

One Briton, stranded in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, since November, told the paper: “It’s 37 degrees here, there are shortages of gas and water, and the electricity goes off for several hours a day. I’m afraid to go outside because of the kidnapping risk and political instability here.


“I’ve been here since November. Getting our baby took three weeks, then we applied for her visa on Jan. 18. Initially, the Home Office told us it would be 12 weeks — that was 21 weeks ago.

“My older son misses nursery, my husband is at work in the UK, my father is sick and I can’t be with him, and my employer wants to know when I’m coming back.

“I can’t put into words how difficult this is. I’m so stuck, and the Home Office is not responding. I might as well be talking to a tree. We have made at least five complaints, and other families in a similar position have made many as well,” she said.


Sixteen weeks after they applied for a visa for their adoptive child, they received a letter from the Home Office saying waiting times were expected to double for family visas.

It said: “Due to the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine, UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) is prioritizing Ukraine visa scheme applications. We have therefore made the decision to temporarily amend our marriage and family service standard to 24 weeks from … 12 weeks.”

Because Britain does not have a bilateral adoption agreement with Pakistan, British families or individuals seeking adoption secure legal guardianship of the child before traveling back to formalize the process in the UK.

The Department of Education vets prospective adoptive parents, but the Home Office is responsible for visas.

Satwinder Sandhu, chief executive officer of the Center for Adoption, told the Guardian: “We have many families waiting months longer than they used to, and we understand the Ukraine war has put much pressure on an already fragile system.

“For adopters who are legally approved and had children placed, applications for visas should be fairly unproblematic. All children needing adoption have experienced trauma, separation, and loss, and they should be able to travel to their new homes in England without delay.”

The adoptive mother that the Guardian spoke to said: “Our babies have been through the trauma of separation from their original parent, and we need to get out of this situation.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are prioritizing Ukraine Family Scheme, and Homes for Ukraine applications in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, so applications for study, work, and family visas have taken longer to process.

“UKVI are working to reduce the current processing times as quickly as possible.”

British couples who traveled to Pakistan to adopt children have been stranded after the Home Office told them they could expect months of delays in processing visas due to the refugee crisis in Ukraine.

The delays are part of wider visa processing flaws that have left families around the world stuck waiting to return to the UK.

Zainib* has been in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, since November. She told the Guardian she felt let down by the delays.

“It’s 37 degrees here, there is a shortage of gas and water and the electricity is out for several hours a day,” she says. “I don’t dare go out because of the kidnapping risk and the political instability here.

“I’ve been here since November. It took three weeks to have our baby, then we applied for her visa on January 18. Initially, the Ministry of the Interior told us it would be 12 weeks – that was 21 weeks ago.

“My eldest son misses childcare, my husband is working in the UK, my father is ill and I cannot be with him, and my employer wants to know when I will be back,” added Zainib.

“I cannot put into words how difficult this is. I’m so stuck and the Home Office isn’t responding. I might as well be talking to a tree. We have filed at least five complaints, and other families in a similar position have filed many as well.”

On May 11, 16 weeks after she applied, Zainib and several other families received a letter from the Interior Ministry saying that wait times for family visas would double.

An adoptive mother and her new baby in Karachi. She pointed out that they had been approved for adoption by the UK Department of Education. Photo: Khaula Jamil/Guardian

It read: “As a result of the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine, UKVI [UK Visas & Immigration] gives priority to applications for a visa regime for Ukraine. We have therefore made the decision to temporarily change our wedding and family service standard to 24 weeks from … 12 weeks.”

Direct adoption from Pakistan to UK is not allowed as there is no bilateral adoption agreement. Instead, British couples or individuals use a proven route to obtain legal custody of the baby and then travel back to Britain, where authorities formalize the adoption.

Families go through a lengthy screening process with the UK Department of Education before traveling to adopt, but it is the Home Office that issues return visas.

Two years ago, the Home Office was criticized after Nina Saleh, an EU citizen and UK resident, was stranded in Pakistan after being refused visas three times. She eventually got her visa after media reports of her case.

Satwinder Sandhu, chief executive of an international adoption agency, the Center for Adoption, said: “We have many families waiting months longer than before, and we understand that the war in Ukraine has put a lot of pressure on an already fragile system.

“For legally-approved adopters who have placed children, visa applications should be fairly hassle-free. All children in need of adoption have experienced trauma, separation and loss, and they should be able to travel to their new home in England as soon as possible.”

Maya* also tries to get home with her adopted child. She has been in Pakistan for nine months and her newly adopted baby is eight months old. She has a skin condition that is stress related and getting worse.

She said she could not understand why there had been such long delays after approval by the British authorities. “We have gone through a very thorough and significant process in the UK where the Department of Education has approved us for international adoption.

“My husband barely had a chance to spend time with his new child as he had to go back to the UK to work.”

Zainib said there was a lack of understanding among MPs about international adoption. “One of us was told by an MP that we have to justify why we can’t just leave the baby here. But we were approved for adoption by the Ministry of Education. The orphanages here are terrible. I wouldn’t let an animal live in it, and justifying this is not part of it.

“Our babies have been through the trauma of separation from their original parent and we need to get out of this situation.”

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said: “We are prioritizing applications for Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, so applications for study, work and family visas need more took time to process.

“UKVI is working to reduce current processing times as soon as possible.”

* Names have been changed to protect the identity of the adopted children

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President,2,UAE Laws,1,UAE-AID,1,Uganda,2,Uighur,1,Uighur/China,1,UK Parliamentarians,1,Ukrain war,1,Ukraine,22,Ukraine War,3,Ulema,1,Umra,2,Umra season,1,Underage Marriages,1,unemployment,6,UNGA,1,United Arab Emirates,1,United Kingdom,9,United Nations,18,United States,38,University,4,UNO,3,UNO mission,1,UNSC,2,Uprising,1,Uproar/Israel,1,US sailor,1,US diplomat,1,US Elections,2,US fired Rocket,1,US Flight,1,US General,1,US military,1,US NAVY,1,US Politics,1,US prisoner,1,US Troops,1,US vs China,1,US-Israel,1,US-Theft,1,US/Afghan,1,US/Pak,1,Usury,2,Utility Stores,2,Vacancies,1,Vaccination,3,Vaccine,1,Vandalise,1,Vandalism,2,Varisty,1,Vatican,1,Vegetable,1,vehicle,4,Vehicles Gutted,1,Veil,1,vendetaa,3,Vengeance,3,Verdict,1,Victory,1,Viiolations,1,villages,1,Violation,4,Violations,1,Violence,5,Virus,1,Visa,5,Visa allowed,2,Visa Policy,2,visit,2,Visit to Iran,1,Visit to KSA,1,Visitors,2,Visual Artist,1,Vital Organs,1,Voice of Azan,1,Volcano,10,volunteer,1,War 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South Punjab News : Britons adopting Pakistani children ‘stuck’ due to visa delays
Britons adopting Pakistani children ‘stuck’ due to visa delays
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South Punjab News
https://www.southpunjabnews.com/2022/06/britons-adopting-pakistani-children.html
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https://www.southpunjabnews.com/2022/06/britons-adopting-pakistani-children.html
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