THE TORIES’ Hostile Environment is alive and kicking with a new extortionate fee of £2,033 charged every 30 months, targeting people whose immigration status is labelled ‘limited leave to remain’.
The Home Office’s draconian approach to those with ‘limited leave to remain’ status particularly affects young people. The fees have trebled since 2014.
‘Limited leave to remain’ is granted in 30-month chunks, and has to be renewed to a strict timetable, each time with the new £2,033 fee.
If a form is submitted late or incomplete in any way, it will likely be refused, and the applicant loses their lawful status.
It is only after ten years of unbroken limited leave to remain, that people can apply to be officially recognised as permanently settled in the UK.
Let us Learn, a campaign group which fights for the rights of young people trapped in the system, has done extensive interviews with people of this status.
Arkam, 23, who came to the UK aged ten, says: ‘We’re constantly made to feel different. Although we feel British in every matter, we’re reminded that we’re outsiders.’
Ijeoma, 24, who arrived aged five, said: ‘Even though I am a legal resident, it feels like they can take it away any time. I’ll wake up one morning, and suddenly they’re like: “We don’t want her any more”.’
The Let us Learn interviewees are aged 19-24. The youngest arrived here aged two. All have lived in the UK at least half their life and been here since primary school. Yet, they will all be in their late 20s or early 30s before they can be officially recognised as anything other than ‘temporary migrants’ in the country they call home.
Arkam recently graduated with a first class degree and wants to work at the UN. He was only able to take up his university place thanks to a special migrant bursary, as his immigration status meant he wasn’t eligible for a student loan.
Let us Learn said: ‘The Home Office puts brutal financial demands on these young people – nearly £70 a month, every month, for ten years. If they fail the pay they lose their lawful status and virtually all their rights to participate in the society where they have grown up.
‘Ultimately, they could be removed to a country they no longer remember and where they have no ties.’