It follows a victory in the British high court for a woman who was abandoned in Pakistan by her British husband and kept apart from her 2-year-old daughter.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, married a British citizen in 2017, relocated to the UK and gave birth to a baby girl the following year, but suffered from domestic violence and was left with “permanent internal damage.”
The court said the woman was unlawfully discriminated against and was entitled to return to the UK.
According to research, young women — mostly of South Asian descent — have suffered from the practice known as “transnational marriage abandonment,” which includes emotional and sexual abuse, being exploited for the purpose of producing children, and acting as domestic servants for their in-laws, The Times reported.
The British Home Office had been examining cases of transnational marriage abandonment since 2016, but had failed to come to a conclusion by the time of the high court challenge, The Guardian reported.
“For too long, the lack of a re-entry route for victims of transnational marriage abandonment has been used as a loophole by abusers,” said the woman’s lawyer, Nath Gbikpi of Islington Law Centre.“They knew that so long as they managed to get them out of the UK, they could prevent their spouses from returning and, by so doing, prevent them from accessing the UK criminal, family and immigration system.”
Gbikpi said status quo was unlawful and violated women’s human rights — something the high court judge agreed with, ruling that abandoned women were discriminated against because they were abroad as a result of their abuse.
According to The Times, the Home Office is not appealing, which means that victims of transnational abuse will be able to apply from overseas for the right to remain in Britain.