The above footage was sent to me by a client of mine named ‘Amir’.
It is a secret recording of an exchange he recently had with an Immigration Officer at Becket House, where he had to report every week.
Last week, Amir suddenly flew out to Pakistan, a country he had only lived in for one month.
He sent me this footage to explain his decision to leave.
Amir is 39 years old.
He had been living in the UK with indefinite leave to remain since he was 18 years old.
Prior to this, he lived in Saudi Arabia and the USA.
After he was sentenced to 13 months in prison last year for criminal damage and blackmail, Amir had a deportation order signed against him.
However, he was not deported to Pakistan.
He voluntary chose to return there.
Because of the ‘hostile environment ‘ that the government has created against foreigners in the UK.
The ‘hostile environment’ policy was proposed by Theresa May’s when she was Home Secretary in 2012.
It has since been implemented in recent years through the Immigration Acts of 2014 and 2016.
The rationale behind the policy is to create an environment so soul-destroying to live in that anyone affected by it will simply voluntarily leave the UK.
People without any form of leave are prohibited from working, renting accommodation, opening bank accounts, driving or accessing the NHS.
The video does explain why many migrants complain about the obnoxious attitude and rude behaviour displayed by immigration officers.
As the Immigration Officer crudely states in the video,
“That’s my aim at the end of the day, to make a challenging environment for you”
“It’s pissed you off, you’re telling me it’s pissing you off. There you go, I’ve done my job.”
If they are being told that their job is to ‘piss off’ migrants, then it is inevitable that this will translate into verbal and behavioural hostility as well.
The far-reaching consequences of such rhetoric can be seen in the increase in racist attacks on asylum seekers and anyone deemed to be a foreign national.
So how did Amir end up having the system ‘take the piss’ out of him?
Last year Amir was convicted of criminal damage and blackmail.
He received a 13 month sentence.
As he was sentenced to more than 12 months in prison, this triggered the automatic deportation process.
Dismissing his claim that deportation to a country he barely knew would breach his human rights, the Home Office signed a deportation order against him.
Critically, the Home Office certified the decision under section 94B of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 which allows the Home Office to deport you before you can appeal the decision (‘Deport First, Appeal Later’).
Amir was detained for two months beyond his custodial sentence before an immigration judge granted him bail on the basis that the Home Office had still not made any preparations to deport him.
For the next six months, he remained in limbo awaiting to be deported.
During this time
- He was not permitted to work, to run a business, or to claim public funds.
- He was not permitted to drive.
- He had no access to the NHS.
- He was required to reside at the same address every night and observe a curfew.
- He was required to report every week to the Home Office.
- Had he not been living with his parents, he would have been unable to rent accommodation.
He once missed a reporting session because he was sick. When the Immigration Officer requested a sick note from the doctor, he told him he was unable to as he was not even allowed to access the NHS.
It was this reduction of life to a mere burdensome existence that forced Amir to pack his bags and book his own ticket back to Pakistan.
In doing so, he left the country he has called home for the past 21 years.
He left behind his tearful elderly parents and three brothers, all British citizens.
He will now appeal the decision from Pakistan.
Even if Amir is eventually successful, he is likely to spend the next 18 months in Pakistan due to an enormous backlog of appeals in the Tribunal service.
Amir’s case is yet another one where he could have avoided being subjected to the medieval penalty of banishment had he naturalised as a British citizen much earlier in his life.
But for Theresa May, his case is a successful example of the hostile environment reducing net migration.
Read more about the pitfalls of failing to naturalise here “If Only I had Naturalised …” The Biggest Regret of those Facing Deportation from the UK
Visadreams.com, Diary of an Immigration Lawyer, is a blog run by Fahad Ansari, the director and principal solicitor of Riverway Law, a niche UK immigration and nationality law practice based in London. If you would like any advice or assistance in relation to your immigration matter, please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your details here.