THE Home Office has broken its silence on the case of a Stirling University student detained at Dungavel for allegedly breaching the terms of his visa.

The department issued a terse statement on Monday after repeated approaches for comment from The National on the status of postgraduate business management student Muhammad Rauf Waris.

The Pakistani national is said to have been detained at Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre in South Lanarkshire since June this year after he was arrested for allegedly working more than the permitted 20 hours per week granted by a student visa.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Illegal working causes untold harm to our communities, cheating honest workers out of employment, putting vulnerable people at risk, and defrauding the public purse.

“The government is tackling illegal immigration and the harm it causes by removing those with no right to be in the UK.”

A source in the department said the authorities had “credible evidence” he had breached the terms of his student visa.

It is not known where Waris worked and the department said it would not comment on individual cases.

Waris lived in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire before going to Stirling for university.

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Stirling MP Alyn Smith has taken up his case after former Rutherglen MP Margaret Ferrier was removed from office at the beginning of the month.

He wrote a letter to the department last week to ask why Waris had been detained for seven weeks, which the SNP MP described as “completely unacceptable”.

Smith wrote: “Muhammad was arrested and detained in June after being accused of breaching the conditions of his visa by working more than the legally permitted 20 hours per week.

“He is being held at Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre and has been in custody for seven weeks.

“For an individual to be held for this length of time is completely unacceptable.”

An open letter calling for his release has been signed by nearly 1000 people after it was set up last week.

The letter stated: “We are becoming increasingly worried about our fellow student, specifically regarding his health, and are appalled by the way his case has been handled – despite having provided the Home Office with evidence to support that he was following the conditions of his visa over a month ago, they are yet to review his case. The student continues to live in limbo.”

In a statement released through NUS Scotland, who are in touch with Waris, the student said: “I don’t want even my worst enemy to face this kind of mental torture that I am facing at the moment, as my health is very bad since I have been here”, he said.

“I can’t eat anything and whatever I am eating, I am vomiting next minute. I am mentally down and out, and I am not the only one – my family is suffering because of this unlawful detention.”