It has always amazed me how few people stop to consider the sheer weight of the decision that most immigrants have to face when they leaves their home and come to the UK. Regardless of whether they want to stay for just a few years or on a permanent basis, they still leave behind their home, family, friends, and whole lives.
We are lucky in the UK that ever since World War Two, there has never been any real threat to our home land other than a comparatively tiny number of incidents in comparison to all the cold wars across the world. We have seen more terrorism delivered by conflict with Ireland (the IRA) than from any other specific group, despite what the media would have you believe. Other than the rare threat to our safety, the UK is an incredibly stable and safe country.
We should feel proud that we are so popular with immigrants from all over the world – even the most powerful of countries. However, the word “immigration” has been dirtied with xenophobia and bouts of racism, especially over this past challenging year or so.
Let me tell you a story…
Old Tears from the New Boy
Several years ago, when I was a teacher in a school in Coventry, I came across a young new boy sitting alone at lunch time, crying. As soon as he saw me he quickly tried to wipe away the tears and put on the strong front: to sit up straight and tall, as he’d clearly been brought up to do so.
Not wanting to beat away his confident front straight away, I sat down with him and asked his name. Even though I taught pretty much every child at the school at some point, I hadn’t met this boy properly yet, other than to have seen him in the hall in assemblies. The boy introduced himself with impeccable good manners and a quick, but noticeable bow of the head in respect of me as an adult and a teacher. Faisal was well spoken with good English and a strong accent.
I asked why he was sat alone and not playing football with the other boys, or chasing the girls around for a kiss: immediately getting the smile I was looking for. He told me he wanted to go home, and that he missed his family. This seemed odd, since it was rare that after a first few days of secondary school that the children would be so homesick. So I simply replied that since it was lunch time he only had a couple of hours less before he could go home and tell his mum and dad, brothers and sisters all about his day. I paused slightly between each one to gauge the reaction and see if any buttons had been pressed.
His smile dropped so heavily it took his head with it when I said “brothers.”
Faisal apologised, unnecessarily, and said he did not mean his “England home” but meant his home in Afghanistan. He had moved to England over the summer with his mother and father to join his grandparents who already lived here in the UK. But this had meant leaving behind his two older brothers in Afghanistan. For the time being I assumed they would been with either with other family, or old enough to be independent. But part of me had a very unsettling feeling that there might have been a significant reason why they were left behind.
I pressed gently, asking Faisal to tell me more about Home in Afghanistan. He froze at first, as if stuck for what to say, but after some prompting on the positive side, he told me about his love for football, all his friends, the matches they would play. Faisal told me how they loved school – especially reading and writing English (I got no sense he was saying that just to impress me, but he was proud to say it nonetheless). He told me about his elder brothers when I asked him, and it was clear that he idolised them. They had taught him football and cricket but they had never been as clever as Faisal was at school.
And he told me how he missed them.
That’s why he wasn’t playing football that day. It was something he did at home. His true home, thousands of miles away, where he had left behind his brothers just weeks before. Playing football had reminded him of what he had left behind.
It didn’t take much to win him around: just a nudge and a bit of encouragement to show me how much his brothers had taught him in football, and the boy was running around, smiling and laughing once again. I might not be a fan of football, but I do appreciate that it can be an instant elixir of unity so easily accessed.
And suffice to say, for several weeks, I got regular updates on goals scored, tackles won, and wounds survived, and heard nothing more about his brothers, and saw no more tears.
This was a hard-working, pleasant young boy I taught for many years who grew into quite a sportsman. It wasn’t until later in that first year I met his parents who explained that they had left one brother behind with an uncle, but the eldest brother had in fact died fighting in the Army in the conflicts at the time. It was the family’s determination that they would not lose another son that drove them to join other family in the UK.
However, no matter how much they considered the UK their “new Home,” Afghanistan would always be their home – and always had to be because one brother would never be able to come to the UK. So they always needed a bridge between their two homes so that they could look back knowing they had never permanently left the eldest brother behind.
Two Homes – One Heart: a Love-Hate Relationship with Fate
Just like the true story of the child above, I believe all immigrants will have connections with their home country that won’t leave them, regardless of how positive their “new home” had become. The strong reasons for both homes are genuine and not so selfishly driven, as the UK Media tries to persuade the public. It also explains in so many cases why such a casual slur of “coming here, taking our jobs” or “go back to your own country” can be so hurtful and cruel.
Another example would be with spouses and married couples, and with partners and their fiancé. Living away from your loved one is painful and often stressful enough if they are a long distance to travel to just to see them. If that travel also includes expensive and complicated visa applications, it can be made even worse.
Finding more work or building a new career is something that an individual might be doing just to secure their own future, but they might also have family of their own who depend on their success, and they might also have non-dependent family who they will leave behind. Imaging what it must be like to be unable to walk or drive home and seem them at the end of the day, it’s easy to understand why it matters so much that they get the support they need.
People don’t move thousands of miles on a whim or minor fancy to earn a little more money. If they come from a non-EU country they face substantial costs even to apply, and the UK Government appears to revel in making the process as difficult as possible.
Engineering the Bridge back Home
What our solicitors do at UK Immigration Solicitors is to make things happen for our clients. Our law firm is made up of skilled, experienced solicitors who have credentials that make any Home Office worker sweat! Whenever a client’s case file appears on a Home Office desk with our letter-headed paper they know it means real business.
That’s because we are on our clients side: whether that means merely communicating with the Home Office, or fighting against them. Our solicitors have families, friends, loved ones and many other international connections that mean they truly understand what is at stake when they take cases on. That’s why our service is made so simple: fixed fee; no hidden charges; no false promises based on statistics and numbers that can be made up by anyone. Every case is individual and unique.
“If you understand so well, why don’t you offer any free advice?”
We’ve been asked this time and time again, and the answer is simple. Anyone can give free advice, and indeed there are many places where you can get such advice. However, it takes great skill and expertise to work with the complex and constantly changing rules of UK immigration.
We provide the best, fully qualified solicitors who specialise in UK immigration. When you legally instruct us to act on your behalf that service costs money because we are a private legal firm. We’re not attached in any way to the government or the Home Office, so we have no interest at all in anyone except our clients: YOU!
It is easy to make mistakes when applying to the UK Home Office because of the way they focus in on tiny details, and use specific little rules to refuse thousands of applications each year. The costs of getting your immigration needs wrong could be very high indeed…
The “home” might well be where the heart is; the “new home” might be where the heart aches. The bridge we are committed to building for you in between those two homes is priceless.