Islam has spent more than a decade trying to prove he has the right to remain in Britain
A chef from Bangladesh is facing removal from UK who was wrongly branded as a sex offender.
According to a court finding, the officials had incorrectly linked three other people's criminal records to him and failed to provide key documents to support his case, reports The Guardian.
Despite hoping to remove him from the UK the Home Office has apologised and offered £5,000 compensation for its errors.
Saiful Islam, 44, has no criminal convictions. He arrived in the UK in 2003 with a valid work permit to take up employment in a restaurant.
In 2005 he raised the alarm with the police and the Home Office that his employer was exploiting him by withholding the bulk of his wages, forcing him to work 18-hour days, and beating him.
The Home Office allowed him to move to a different employer but a catalogue of problems followed, resulting in him being threatened with removal from the UK.
Islam has spent more than a decade trying to prove he has the right to remain in Britain. The case has spanned six governments – from Tony Blair's to Boris Johnson's – involved 18 court cases and a huge volume of correspondence with the Home Office.
On 20 December 2019 a court rejected Islam's right to remain in the UK, despite finding that the Home Office wrongly served him with a notice curtailing his visa in 2005, wrongly linked other people's criminal convictions to him, failed to disclose a full copy of his passport to a court in 2010 and destroyed part of his file.
While Judge Jackson in the upper tribunal of the immigration chamber identified multiple errors on the part of the Home Office, he said that issues with a work permit application made by another employer on Islam's behalf in 2008 meant that he did not qualify for leave to remain in the UK.
After a battle Islam finally received his file from the Home Office in 2018, following a ruling by the information commissioner that the Home Office must hand it over. He was shocked to find himself wrongly described as a sex offender and with various other offences that he had not committed attributed to him.
As well as initially withholding his file in a previous court case, the Home Office did not provide relevant pages of his passport that proved he had entered the country legally. Instead, officials argued he had entered the country illegally.
In 2019 Home Office officials issued a full apology to Islam, stating in an email to him that he had been wrongly recorded as a sex offender. The email admits that police national computer checks on Islam's file pertained to three other people.
It states: "After investigating the issue it appears documents relating to three individuals were incorrectly placed on your paper file. A number of processes had not been followed which allowed these errors to occur."
The document adds: "Although such errors are not common … we recognise that such issues can have significant impacts."
Islam said: "The Home Office has treated me worse than a dog. I am a victim of a scandal and of race discrimination. I have lost so many years, I've lost my health, I've lost so much money. I'll never get this time back but I'm determined to fight on."
Fizza Qureshi, chief executive of Migrants' Rights Network, said: "If Saiful had not persevered with his case for nearly 16 years, he would not have known that the Home Office had mixed up his file and wrongly labelled him a criminal. Alongside the Home Office's errors, they have also failed to praise Saiful's actions of reporting an exploitative employer. Instead they have chosen to penalise him by pursuing his removal, despite his innocence and courage. We would urge the Home Office to reconsider his case, and offer him leave so he can utilise his skills as a chef, and allow him to rebuild his life."
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We are unable to comment on ongoing legal proceedings."