Visa hitch for Brightons family who were stars of Asian wedding TV show

A Brightons family who charmed viewers on BBC Scotland’s opening evening as they planned a double wedding celebration for their sons are now facing an unexpected battle.

By Kirsty Paterson
Friday, 1st March 2019, 8:49 am
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 9:52 am
Muna and Ausat proved a hit on BBC Scotland's opening night
Muna and Ausat proved a hit on BBC Scotland's opening night

Muna Ausat and her family were stars of the new channel’s three-part documentary, Getting Hitched Asian Style, which first aired on Sunday evening.

The documentary followed mum Muna and dad Aussat as they prepared for the joint wedding reception of their sons Amaar (24) to Subuhe and Hasaan (25) who married Rida last year in Islamabad.

“We loved taking part in it. People have been really, really nice about it and about us as a family – it’s been amazing!”

The programme, which highlighted the joy of the spectacular Asian weddings – where guest lists of more than 300 are common – also hinted at the sadness many families face when their loved ones can’t get visas to attend from Pakistan.

And amid the joy of the wedding preparations captured on camera, Muna never expected that her own family would be ripped apart because of an administrative error.

While Muna should have been lapping up the reviews and kind comments after the programme aired – many of which suggest she should get her own show – she’s been busy packing for a flight to Pakistan to wait with daughter-in-law Rida.

The family had been shocked when Rida received a letter telling her the EEA family visa she had been given six months earlier should not have been granted.

The new visa application as a British national should have been straightforward, but there was one snag – she should have been in Pakistan when she filled it in.

Government correspondence has agreed that everything else is in order: her wedding is bona-fide, husband Hassan earns well in excess of what is required; Rida has passed her English exam; and they have their own accommodation.

But the spouse’s visa cannot be granted because she was in London, rather than Pakistan, at the time.

That means paying a further fee of £1500 for the visa, plus £1200 in air fares.

Muna said: “Rida’s father died two weeks after their wedding and her mother and brother have moved into a small, two-bedroomed flat which will not be suitable for her.

“Women don’t live alone in Pakistan, so even though we’ll be sleeping in a sofa in her mum’s house, I’m going with her because I can’t leave her alone.

“We don’t know how long it will take to sort it out.

“They have even suggested my son should leave the UK – the place he was born and where his family live. I’m sorry but that is outrageous!

“Instead of focusing on undesirable people, they are ripping a young couple apart.”

Muna can now only hope that she and Rida will not be away for too long and she can get back to enjoying the comments from viewers who were entertained by her banter with husband Aussat.

“Life is too short to get upset about these things!” she said. “I’m sure in the future Hassan and Rida will look back on this as a glitch.”