- Case title:
- Appellant name:
- Status of case: Unreported
- Hearing date:
- Promulgation date:
- Publication date:
- Last updated on:
IN THE UPPER TRIBUNAL
IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM CHAMBER
Case No: UI-2021-001316
First-tier Tribunal Nos: HU/50252/2021
THE IMMIGRATION ACTS
Decision & Reasons Issued:
On 28 April 2023
UPPER TRIBUNAL JUDGE RIMINGTON
(NO ANONYMITY ORDER MADE)
The Secretary of State for the Home Department
For the Appellant: Mr Shahnawaz Khan, Novells Legal Practice
For the Respondent: Mr E Tufan, Home Office Presenting Officer
Heard at Field House on 16 March 2023
DECISION AND REASONS
1. The appellant seeks permission to appeal the decision of First-tier Tribunal Blackwell dated 13th October 2021, which dismissed the appellant’s appeal against the respondent’s refusal on 14th January of his human rights claim.
2. The appellant is a citizen of Bangladesh, born 15th January 1978, entered the UK on 2nd November 2005 and remained unlawfully. He met his partner, also a Bangladesh national on 10th February 2015 and they were married on 12th May 2015 in accordance with Islamic law and have lived together since. The appellant’s partner is not a British national and holds no leave to remain in the UK although was said to have an appeal pending before the First-tier Tribunal following a respondent’s refusal to issue her an EEA derivative residence card.
3. The appellants have one child together born on 3rd August 2016, who is also a national of Bangladesh.
4. The appellant was encountered by Immigration Officers on 4th November 2017. He made a claim for asylum in December of that year and that was refused on 14th September 2018. The appeal against that decision was heard by First-tier Tribunal Judge Sangha on 30th November 2018 and was dismissed on 16th January 2019. The appellant was thus appeal rights exhausted. The appellant submitted further representations in April 2020 on human rights grounds, specifically relating to the deterioration of his mental health condition. Those submissions were refused by the respondent on 14th January.
The Grounds of Appeal
5. Ground 1. The judge failed to give any or adequate reasons for finding the appellant was able to obtain medication for his mental health conditions on return to Bangladesh.
6. It was conceded on the appellant’s behalf that Citalopram and Olanzapine were listed on Appendix A of the respondent’s Country Policy and Information Note, Bangladesh on medical and healthcare issues May 2020. However the judge was invited to consider this in the light of the entirety of the CPIN which demonstrated there were challenges in obtaining treatment. The judge was directed to paragraphs 9.1.1, 9.1.2 and 10.1.7 and the judge failed to engage with whether, in the light of the background information, the appellant would be able to access adequate medical treatment.
7. Ground 2. The judge failed to take into account consideration or give reasons for rejecting evidence that was material the appellant’s claim which was that the appellant had lost contact with his family in Bangladesh. At  to  the judge rejected the evidence of the appellant’s wife who maintained that since the marriage the appellant had not been in contact with the family. The appellant relied on the witness statement and oral evidence of Mr Mahmood Rahman, the appellant’s brother-in-law, who at  stated that he was aware the appellant did not have contact with his family in Bangladesh.
8. It was submitted this evidence was capable of supporting the appellant’s appeal and did not appear to feature in the judge’s assessment.
9. Ground 3. The judge erred in his assessment that the appellant would have the support of the family in Bangladesh. The judge erred at  when stating:
“With regard to the claim based on paragraph 276ADE of the Rules I do not find that the appellant would face very significant obstacles in reintegrating, as he would have the support of his family who live in Bangladesh. I note his mental health is fragile and he receives the support of his family in the UK who monitor him and act as protective factors for him. Were he to go to Bangladesh I find that he would likewise have the support of his family there.”
10. Whilst it was the appellant’s case he was not in contact with his family, even if the appellant were able to re-establish contact on return it is by far from certain they would be in a position to support the appellant. His mental health was fragile. The paragraph 9.1.2 of the respondent’s CPIN confirmed that MedCOI commented in a response of 4th September 2015 that mental illness in Bangladesh is highly stigmatised and mental healthcare is in its nascent stages.
11. It was submitted therefore that the judge erred in her assessment.
12. Ground 4. The judge erred in his assessment of the appellant’s removal on third parties, namely the appellant’s brother-in-law for whom the appellant’s wife is his primary carer.
13. It was submitted that the judge failed to consider Beoku-Betts v the Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKHL 39 in the Article 8 assessment.
14. At  the judge stated that he took into account the appellant’s wife’s support for the brother, but the judge failed to adequately consider the wife’s witness statement where she explained that she was a primary carer for a British citizen who suffered from a wide range of illnesses and had been caring for him for more than 12 years.
15. It was submitted that the appellant would only be able to contact his family by modern means and he would be unable to access medication for his conditions and there was a very real risk of his relapse.
16. Individually and cumulatively these errors gave rise to a material error of law.
17. Despite the valiant submissions by Mr Khan I am not persuaded there is any error of law in the First-tier Tribunal’s Judge’s decision.
18. Ground 1 has no merit. The judge set out the evidence carefully, heard oral evidence and recorded between  and  of the decision, the mental health condition of the appellant and was evidently clear as to the extent of the condition. Indeed at  the judge noted that the appellant had been discharged from Mental Health Services although without taking his medication he risked relapse. At  the judge carefully set out the medication of the appellant and noted that the wife was a protective factor and that she, as a Bangladesh national has no status in the United Kingdom. The judge at 16(b) remarked that the appellant maintained he had no contact with his family and again at 17 the appellant stated he did not know where his parents were or any siblings.
19. It is also clear at  that the judge took into account the Home Office Country Policy and Information Note “Bangladesh: Medical and Healthcare issues” (Version 1.0, May 2019). and was aware that there were few support services available for those suffering from mental health disorders and that mental illness is highly stigmatised but nonetheless a broad range of medicines to psychiatric treatment were obtainable, as could be seen from 9.1.6 of the CPIN.
20. It was entirely open to the judge to approach the case through the lens of Devaseelan bearing in mind an earlier Tribunal had determined the appellant’s protection claim on largely the same facts.
21. It is also unarguable that the judge failed to have regard to SSHD v Kamara  EWCA Civ 813 and the test for integration, which called for a broad, evaluative judgment to be made. That direction is set out at .
22. The judge proceeded to make his findings from  onwards with the relevant evidence and relevant legal directions.
23. The starting point was the decision of Judge Sangha made as recently as 16th January 2019. That determination, as the judge recorded, confirmed the appellant’s wife had no status and nor did the child. Indeed, both were Bangladesh nationals, having formed a relationship at a time when they knew their status was precarious.
24. That decision made adverse credibility findings against the appellant, noted that he was supported by his partner’s family “as confirmed in their respective witness statements” and that the best interests of the child would be “best served by the appellant and his partner and child continuing their relationship on return to Bangladesh”. That decision also identified that Bangladesh had an “adequate healthcare system”. The judge found no reason why the appellant’s partner and child could not return to Bangladesh if they so chose.
25. The previous determination also identified that the appellant had shown:
“considerable fortitude by relocating to the UK and attempting to establish a life here and I come to the conclusion that there is support available to the Appellant and there is nothing in his personal circumstances that would prevent him from returning to Bangladesh and working. I do not believe that he has lost all contact with his family and his siblings and consequently do not accept that he would face any significant obstacles in reintegrating back into Bangladesh.”
26. That judge continued:
“Whilst the Appellant has raised medical issues claiming that he suffers with anxiety and depression, those conditions do not indicate that they are at such a critical stage that it would be inhumane to remove him from the UK.”
27. Judge Blackwell rightly stated that that was the context against which he considered the new evidence; the judge specifically considered the new evidence but stated:
“Even so, having heard her testimony [the wife], it does not cause me to depart from Judge Sangha’s finding in this regard. She said in cross examination that the last real contact with the appellant’s family was before the marriage (in 2015). If this was so, it would seem inconsistent with her evidence that the falling out with the family being over repayment for travel to the UK, since the marriage took place eleven years after entry to the UK.”
28. The judge clearly found the wife’s evidence lacked credibility and the judge gave sound reasons at  for finding that the appellant remained in contact with his family in Bangladesh.
29. It is that finding which remains sound which is the bedrock of the judge finding that although the appellant’s mental health was fragile and he received support from his family in the UK, were he to go to Bangladesh, “he would likewise have the support of is family there” (). The judge did not assume that the wife and child would go with the appellant to Bangladesh, nonetheless found that the medication that the appellant took, which included Citalopram and Olanzapine were available in Bangladesh. The judge had taken into account the CPIN, taken into account the findings of Judge Sangha and did not believe that the appellant would face destitution as he would have the family support. His counsel acknowledged that the appellant’s mental health condition was currently being treated with medication, which counsel conceded would generally be available in Bangladesh.
30. The judge does not have to give extensive reasons and does not have to cite every piece of evidence considered. The central issues are addressed, and Shizad (sufficiency of reasons: set aside)  UKUT 85 (IAC) confirms that reasons need not be extensive if the decision as a whole makes sense, having regard to the material accepted by the judge . That is the case here.
31. To my mind, grounds 1 and 2 are intertwined and the judge gave adequate reasons for finding that the appellant’s claim that he had lost contact with his family in Bangladesh was disbelieved, not least because of the adverse credibility findings made against the appellant and against his wife. The appellant would have to demonstrate on the balance of probabilities that he was unable to obtain medication and against the context of the previous findings which stand and the credibility issues identified by the judge in terms of the lack of support from the family, his assertions are merely that.
32. There is no indication that the judge failed to consider the evidence of Mr Mohammed Mahmood Rahman and his statement that he was aware that the appellant does not have any contact with his family in Bangladesh. That fails to undermine the standing findings made by Judge Sangha and as the judge stated, new evidence produced and which could have been produced before the previous Tribunal, should be treated with a greater circumspection.
33. Ground 3 goes no way to undermining the judge’s decision. As found in the previous decision the appellant is able to speak the language in Bangladesh. He is educated and was previously a lawyer there. It is for the appellant to evidence that he was unable to seek support from his family and his situation is merely that he had lost contact with them, which was not accepted.
34. In terms of ground 4, both Judge Sangha and Judge Blackwell based their findings on the appellant removing to Bangladesh with or without his wife and her removal was a matter of choice for her. The judge specifically stated at  that he took into account the support the appellant’s wife provided for her brother; nonetheless the matter of her relocation was a matter of her choice and also dependent, of course, on her immigration status which was at best precarious. As the decision was made in the alternative, it was entirely open to the judge to find that the appellant could return. The judge correctly factored in the statutory context of Section 117B of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. As the judge concluded, he took into account the appellant’s fragile mental health but was entitled to conclude that the appellant could obtain treatment in Bangladesh.
35. Both individually and cumulatively, there was no arguable error of law and the decision of the First-tier Tribunal shall stand.
Judge of the Upper Tribunal
Immigration and Asylum Chamber
14th April 2023