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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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."