A Birmingham doctor is set to leave the UK next month after failing to halt Home Office deportation action against him.
But Syed Kazmi from Lozells, who until recently worked at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, hopes to return to the UK and has vowed to continue his battle in the courts from afar.
The 38-year-old from Pakistan has been working in the NHS for nine years, including a spell at Walsall Manor Hospital and supporters describe him as an ‘amazing’ doctor who goes out of his way to help patients.
Despite more than 35,000 people backing an online petition calling for him to remain and a staffing crisis in the NHS, the Home Office has refused to renew his visa.
He has been refused over a mistake on a historic tax return - which was cleared up at the time and led to no further action by the HMRC.
He said he will now head to Pakistan where he will consider his job opportunities, including an offer of work in Australia. His wife and children will join him.
Dr Kazmi will also be allowed to apply for a brand new British visa, as well as continue to challenge his deportation in the courts.
He explained that legal action is likely to take many months during which time he would not be allowed to work in the UK, so he has no option but to seek employment abroad to help cover his legal and living costs. Also by going within the Home Office deadline, he will be able to apply for a new visa from abroad.
Dr Kazmi thanked all those colleagues, friends, former patients and many more people who supported the petition. “I felt respected, if felt that I am need and I felt alive because of these people. It made me feel that I am leaving the Great Britain I have come to know which respects diversity, honesty, dedication.
“I want to come back and continue my work with the NHS.”
Meanwhile, a national campaign group has been launched called Highly Skilled Migrants, made up of the increasing number of doctors, IT experts, engineers, teachers and other professionals like Dr Kazmi, who are having their visas refused.
Group spokesman Aditi Bhardwaj told The Guardian they represent more than 600 people battling deportation, including Dr Kazmi. He said: “These are people who have spent over a decade in the UK, working in highly reputed professions, many of which have serious employee shortages. They have devoted their professional lives contributing to the growth of Great Britain, contributing over £25bn towards its economy.
“They have made the UK their home, bought properties, invested in businesses. They all are law-abiding citizens. None have been convicted of any criminal offence.”