Exclusive: Hussen Mohamed, Somali-Dutch national who has lived in UK since age of 10, left in limbo for nearly three years because government confused him for twin brother who is serving life sentence
A man who has lived in the UK since he was 10 has been left unable to work and facing “harassment” by the authorities for nearly three years after the Home Office mistook him for his killer twin brother.
Hussen Mohamed, 27, a Somali-Dutch national living in London, applied to the EU settlement scheme in November 2019 in order to obtain his post-Brexit immigration status – and he is still waiting.
The Home Office said the process should take around five working days or sometimes up to a month. Despite phoning the department numerous times to ask what was causing the delay, Mr Mohamed said he was constantly told he was “in the backlog” and had to continue waiting.
However, when The Independent contacted the department’s press office to ask about his case on Thursday, it emerged that they had mistakenly identified him as his twin brother, Hassan Mohamed, who was convicted of murder in 2018 after stabbing a man to death in west London.
A Home Office spokesperson subsequently provided a statement apologising for the delay and stating that it was “working urgently to resolve” it.
Mr Mohamed, who attended SOAS, University of London, said he felt “heartbroken” and “disgusted” after discovering the Home Office’s mistake, adding that the delay had “messed up [his] life”.
“From 2019 until 2022 my whole life has been on pause. I still can’t get a job. The Home Office has been criminalising me,” he said.
“Every two to three months I’ve been calling them, waiting on hold for hours. They kept telling me I was in the backlog. They never requested anything from me. Then [a journalist] speaks to them for five minutes and gets more information than I could ever get.
“We [he and his twin] are two different individuals. I’ve never been arrested, never had a warning. Do you know how heartbreaking this is?”
Mr Mohamed said that without EU settled status he had been unable to find a job and was apprehended multiple times when arriving at UK airports after travelling abroad for holidays, leaving him feeling like a “third-class citizen”.
“This is not normal. You’re being questioned to get into a country where you pay taxes, where you’ve worked, where you live,” he said. “It makes you question yourself and question the system.”
His twin brother, of Southall, Middlesex, was convicted of murder and jailed for 26 years in October 2018.
Andreea Dumitrache, spokesperson for the3million, a grassroots organisation for EU citizens in the UK, said: “This level of incompetency and disregard for people’s lives is unacceptable. It shows how EU citizens are at the mercy of a system prone to errors and an opaque and hostile department.
“There have been no attempts to communicate with Hussen – all of his efforts have been stifled and he was met with a brick wall. We need to see a significant change in the Home Office’s culture and the implementation of the EU settlement scheme in order to avoid unnecessary suffering like this.”
The latest government figures show that, a year on from the EU settlement deadline, 245,700 applications are still pending.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We apologise to Mr Mohamed for the delays in processing his application, which we are working urgently to resolve.
“The EU settlement scheme has been an overwhelming success, with more than 5.8 million grants of status made. We are currently dealing with the unprecedented demand from EUSS applications and are working to process applications as quickly as possible”.