Brentwood woman ‘forced’ to live in different country from her husband due to immigration law

�A Hutton woman is hoping that the government is forced to change its immigration rules, after finding that her and her husband have to live in different countries for at least three years.

Charlotte Rahman, 18, believes she is discriminated against by the law which means spouses can’t apply for citizenship if their partner is under 21.

The law was successfully challenged by two young couples in the Court of Appeal at the end of last year and the government is currently appealing against that ruling in the Supreme Court.

Charlotte met her future husband Hafizur last year when they both worked in Mountnessing McDonald’s.

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Hafizur, 24, who had been in the UK since 2008, had overstayed his student visa by more than a year and was sent to a detention centre before being removed from the country.

Charlotte went to live with him in Bangladesh, but found that she couldn’t cope with the heat and came back to Brentwood in June.

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She says that the couple were advised by lawyers that due to the change in law in 2008, there was no point in even applying for Hafizur to be given a visa.

She said: “My opinion may mean nothing against a whole country but I am a victim of age discrimination; an immigration law is forcing me and my husband to live in separate countries because of my age.”

The married couple now mainly stay in touch via the internet, which Mrs Rahman said: “is horrible, I can’t really explain how much.”

She added: “At 18 you are legally considered an adult, allowed to get married, vote in elections and serve on a jury.

“I’m not asking for citizenship for my husband, all I’m asking for is for him to be in the UK with me.

“I am living for the day we can be together again.”

The UK Border Agency said that the rules were introduced as part of a crackdown on forced marriages.

A spokesman said: “Forcing someone to marry is an intolerable act and for genuine couples marriage is not something that should be taken lightly, especially when it involves moving to another country. In such circumstances it is reasonable to ask both parties to wait until they are 21.”

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