An Indian national has said he felt betrayed after the Home Office refused his request to remain in the UK despite previously implying that he would be granted UK status for being a named witness in a high-profile trial.

Sameer Shaikh came to Britain on a student visa in 2008, had agreed to give evidence against his former boss Fassiuddin Mohammad, who ran one of the centres found to be administering fraudulent English language tests exposed in a BBC Panorama documentary in 2014 reports the Independent.

Having worked at Bright Consultant Services as a Receptionist in East Ham which primarily dealt with University and College admissions, Shaikh was allegedly threatened and blackmailed by his previous employer Fassiuddin Mohammad in 2013 to get involved in the scandal.

The Home Office Criminal and Financial Investigations team offered Shaikh to become Prosecution Witness if he pleaded guilty and assured he would be protected from other defendants.

Shaikh, who was seeking asylum at the time of trial, had been internally arranged leave to remain by Home Office crime team when he found out that his asylum claim had been refused.

In an internal application made for Shaikh by Home Office crime team to UK Visas and Immigration in 2015, the crime team officer wrote “Mr SHAIKH is a significant witness, without whom, the prosecution case would be greatly weakened” and “If he (Shaikh) was unable to present his evidence there is the risk of potential failure of the case at court.”

Shaikh said that “When I agreed to give evidence the officer kept saying they had ‘policies in place’ to protect witnesses, and that ‘as long as I don’t worry, you don’t worry’.

He kept using these phrases and sentences, which really assured me, and gave me expectations that I’d be protected.”

“If an immigration officer – who is in a position of trust and power – says something like this, I have no reason to not trust him or to disbelieve or question him.”

Shaikh gave evidence in April/May 2016 resulting in convictions of all the defendants.

In letter of support of Shaikh’s application, the Crime team officer said, “Despite a thorough and intense cross examination by defending counsel, Mr Shaik gave clear and concise evidence resulting in unanimous guilty verdicts being returned against all defendants. No doubt these convictions were in no small part due to the evidence supplied by Mr Shaik.”

Shaikh says that the Crime team officer suggested to him since July 2016 that he would try to get Indefinite leave to remain for Shaikh and other foreign witnesses in the case so as to keep them protected here.

As of 8 May 2017, Shaikh’s record of text messages shows the officer saying him “I will make an application for you to stay”.

However, two months later-weeks before Shaikh’s leave to remain was due to expire in July 2017- the officer stopped responding to his texts and emails. Shaikh says “I believed in the Government, I believed in the System.

"That’s why I was encouraged to go along with this. But they just left me totally helpless.”

Shaikh’s application has been refused in February 2018 and he is currently appealing the decision.

Shaikh said, “After I saw the refusal letter I became depressed. I had suicidal thoughts. I just felt I had nowhere to go now. I felt really let down and betrayed.”

A letter from Shaikh’s doctor at Lathom Road Medical Centre states that he would be “at risk of serious physical harm” if he returns to India.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott told the Independent, “This is a particularly shocking case. The Home Office has gone back on its word to a vulnerable man who was effectively promised leave to remain. 

“But it also indicates the terrible immigration regime under this government because of the hostile environment. Shocking cases like this one will recur unless and until the hostile environment policy ends.”

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Shaikh’s solicitor Fiyaz Saeed, director of Legal Eagles Solicitors, said: “This approach undermines any trust that exists in the Home Office and damages us as a society by clogging up the courts system with appeals that simply should not have had to be made if the papers were properly looked at in the first place.

“It also means less people will be prepared to assist the Home Office in stepping forward and becoming witnesses so that the really bad in our society can be caught and convicted. 

“It is beyond doubt to me that Sameer was promised by the Home Office that he would be protected from harm in accordance with the Home Office policy, and to not grant him that protection by continuing to grant him leave is simply wrong.

“He has now been forced to turn to the press and advertise his case despite the clear threat of harm he faces. I hope this article will get the attention of some of the other witnesses who were also promised leave.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “As legal proceedings are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment.”