Yesterday I encountered a case I cannot get my head around.
A mother, widowed, came to the UK with two children to give them a good education. She sold everything she had intending to work in the UK to support her children.
She lived in an expensive house in an expensive area paying more than £1000 a month for 14 months, and then ran out of money.
She insisted that she does not want benefits but in the same breath said someone has to help her because she has no one to turn to.
In all the time she was in the UK she has not been able to work because she did not have the right documents.
Yes, she paid a private landlord a lot of money, all her money.
Yes, she has been trying to find work. But her English is so limited she was not able to get any. She also appears, ironically, to be quite 'middle-class', and has refused to interact with people from her own country ... which is the most likely way of finding work.
Who's responsible for her and her children now?
She thinks that "someone" should. Who should this "someone" be?
Just because some migrant spends all their savings in this country and has become homeless as a result, should the taxpayer pick up the tab?
Already the children have been educated for free and she has been receiving Child Benefit, is this right?
No one has benefitted from her time here, except the landlord who has kicked her out illegally by changing the locks, and now risk legal action.
I don't know what happened to this family as it was too complex for me and was taken off me by the manager. We do not, typically, deal with cases where immigration status is questionable.
In her previous visits and in her interview with a law centre she had been told that she could either get a job, become self-employed or return to her own country. She has failed to do the first two but refuses to consider the third.
I think her son was saying to her in their own language that they could return home, but she insisted that "I want to stay in England."
On one hand there is a determined, if ill-informed and naive mother wanting a good education for her children. On the other we have a woman who was totally unrealistic about her chances of succeeding in a foreign country where she does not even speak the official language properly.
I feel really sorry for her children who were impeccably behaved but you can see how stressed they are. They have had no food for some time, but immigration rules are immigration rules.
What does one do?
After Gintai's comment:
Unfortunately hers is not an isolated case. I had to see so many clients after this I didn't have a chance to get an update on her case, but will try to do so later. There were so many in the waiting room a 'community' had formed, and clients were returning to waiting room after being seen to say 'goodbye' to one another. (They usually exit by another door.) Weird.
Anyway, loads of people come into UK on whatever grounds possible and then try to scrounge on benefits. People come in, sponsored by spouses who then promptly kick them out of their homes. Taxpayers or charitable organizations inevitably have to help them (see previous post).
One man, prone to drinking and womanising, complained that his wife wouldn't share her benefits money with him (o, what a surprise!) and asked how he could gain more money. We said, the only way is to separate with the intention to divorce her. "OK, please help me to divorce her." Just like that. No English. How is he going to survive in this country? Taxpayers again. So Legal Aid would need to be called in to help him divorce his wife so that he could gain more benefits. These are the rules and we have to follow them.
Update 3rd October 2012:
Forgot this woman as life got busy, but I ran into her and her daughter shopping at Marks & Spencer. They were both very smartly dressed. Talked to my manager later on to get an update on her story.
It appeared that we told her the state is not responsible to her, but social services would look after her children and she was asked to return to the waiting room to wait. After the manager had spoken to several people on the phone to try to organize shelter and intervention for them, this woman said she had made a few phone calls and now had a job.
For 14 months she could not get a job. So we had to do something, she insisted. Then when her children were at risk of being taken away from her, she found a job.
We don't know what sort of a job it is. Mothers do make huge sacrifices for their children. We can only wish her well and say a prayer for her children.