‘Stop the waiting: let us live our lives’

‘Stop the waiting: let us live our lives’

15 December 2022 by Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz in Refugee & Asylum.

Maimuna Jawo, a fellow human being, a woman from the Gambia, and a person who has been seeking asylum in the UK for 10 years shared some of her story with us HERE as one of our Refugee Week 2022 keynote speakers.

Her experience of the UK asylum system made us cry with her, but we also felt somehow powerless as to how we could help engender change. However, Praxis have just launched a campaign to challenge these long routes to settlement in the UK.

In our latest Blog, Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz, Policy and Public Afffairs Manager at Praxis for migrants and refugees, tells us about their latest campaign to help stop the waiting for those in our UK immigration system, and what our church communities can do to support.

Faith communities have long been ardent advocates for migrants, promoting kindness and compassion in the face of darkness at times, hope in the face of shared suffering. We know that church communities are often on the frontline in supporting those navigating our UK immigration system. I imagine many of you within church communities will have heard first-hand the challenges of those in this system.

I imagine you sometimes meet people who have been waiting in this system for 10, 20 or even 30 years. Their lives are already in the UK, perhaps their children are British. And our current immigration system means that they must go through a complicated and stressful visa application process again, and again before they’re given the bare minimum level of security needed to feel at home here. They also have to pay thousands of pounds (£9,662 for a family of four) in visa fees every few years and Home Office delays mean people are often left waiting for months on end for vital documents needed to work, and keep living in their homes.

This creates huge financial pressures and as a result, many struggle to earn enough to live on, even though they are often working multiple jobs. They may struggle to afford rent for a safe place to live and often have to move frequently, causing stress, anxiety and disruption to children’s education. And throughout this time, they have no right to access the welfare safety net.

Many are ultimately forced into deep poverty or debt, leaving people vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. And as the cost of living rises, more and more people will end up in desperate situations.

So, at this time when our Government is reviewing its immigration policies, our campaign calls on them to make two simple and important changes to the current rules:

1. That parents with children can stay here in the UK permanently after 5 years, instead of 10

2. That those who have already been here for decades aren’t expected to wait another decade for safety and security

If made, these changes would have a huge impact in terms of bringing forward by years people’s chance for independence, for self-sufficiency, and for the ability to integrate. These changes would go some way to giving people the certainty and security we all need to live our lives, and feel like we belong.

So we would love to invite you to Help us to Stop the Waiting.

You can find out more – and sign our petition – HERE!

Because we are stronger together. Thank you.

Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz

Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz

Josephine is Policy and Public Afffairs Manager at Praxis. She leads Praxis’ policy influencing and advocacy, working for a more humane and compassionate immigration system in the UK.

View all posts by Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz

Back to top