Wednesday, 4 June 2014

UK dream ending for undocumented migrants

Nearly two years ago, Singh decided he wanted to go home. He walked into the offices of the UK Border Agency to provide his fingerprints and begin his application for a process known as Assisted Voluntary Return or AVR.
The scheme was touted as a quick-fix solution for getting rid of unwanted immigrants, whereby applicants sign a form, are issued travel documents and sent home on flights bought for them by the Home Office.
Twenty months later, Singh is still waiting to find out when he will become eligible to return. Meanwhile, he sleeps alongside three others, beneath shopping trolleys, in the car park of a supermarket.
Like hundreds of other migrants, he destroyed his passport in the belief it would make it harder for authorities to forcefully deport him. "I am stuck here," the 54 year-old says. "If only I had my passport I would sleep at the airport until they let me go home."
The hardship and desperation of sleeping on cold cement have left him helpless and confused. "If all the seats on my plane home are full I don’t mind, I will stand on the plane all the way home."
"Bhupinder is not alone. There are many, many others who also hope to return home but cannot," said Rita Chadha of RAMFEL, the Refugee and Migrants Association of East London."

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