An Afghan living in Glasgow is relieved when her visa refusal was lifted

The Home Office had previously said that Maryam Amiri, who lives in Glasgow and received her first UK visa in 2016, did not meet the criteria for a new spousal visa and suggested she could safely return to Afghanistan.

But Maryam, a community activist who has spoken out against the Taliban and their approach to women’s rights, said she feels threatened and afraid of dying if forced to return.

She had started the appeal process and expected to challenge the Home Office in court, but has now been told she will be granted another two-and-a-half-year visa in the coming weeks.

But she still fears for her family, who she says is being persecuted by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and said she wants to do more now to save them.

READ MORE: ‘Devastating’: Scotland could lose doctor after visa for child in their care was denied

She said: “When I was in college, I got a call from my attorney. My lawyer said that there is very good news – you will get your visa in the next two weeks without having to go to court.

“I can’t express my feelings at this moment. I am very happy with the fair decision of the Home Office and I hope that in the future they will make fair decisions, not hasty and unfair.

“I am very much looking forward to continuing my plans to start university and continue my social activities.

“I feel very safe but my thoughts are still with my family who are still in Afghanistan and not safe.

“I demand that the Home Office make fair decisions regarding my family as soon as possible.”

Maryam said she was hoping for a permanent visa, adding: “Nevertheless, I’m happy. That’s better than sending me back to Afghanistan.”

READ MORE: Couple in ‘brutal’ visa fight despite husband’s British citizenship

And she hopes she can now expand a community group she runs called Maryam Empowering Futures, which she says is for Afghan women and focuses on education, health and skills. She hopes to make the group an official charity soon.

She said: “Thank you to my powerful and lovely MP Alison Thewliss, my kindest lecturer Jane Horne, friends, group members, the media and all those who have supported me through this difficult moment that I have faced.”

Ms Thewliss, the SNP MP for Glasgow Central, said: “I am very relieved to hear that the Home Office has withdrawn its refusal to extend Maryam’s visa – it was an appalling decision. I hope that she now has more certainty that her future is secure.

“Nevertheless, I still have serious concerns about an Interior Ministry decision-making process that ever saw fit to send an educator and activist back to Taliban-run Afghanistan.

“I hope that the processes that led to this dangerous rejection are reviewed and that no other Afghans find themselves in a situation similar to that of Maryam Amiri.”

Ms Thewliss previously made the Home Office decision which suggested Maryam and her husband could return to Afghanistan.

She said of the case: “Her husband had supported the training of British forces. Her husband has a British passport. Those seem like two very reasonable reasons why he can’t return.”

An Interior Ministry spokesman said: “All visa applications will be decided on the basis of individual preferences.

“We do not routinely comment on individual cases.” An Afghan living in Glasgow is relieved when her visa refusal was lifted

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