This morning there was one of those cases that makes me so angry at surgery. A woman had come to see me. Her employers had her escorted off of work premises as she had been unable to produce documentation to show that it was legal for her to work. She had sought asylum in 2001 and been given exceptional leave to remain. She has worked all the time (i.e. not on benefits). She married a British citizen and has two British children. She is and always has been fully entitled to work. At the end of her four year exceptional leave to stay she applied in the normal way for indefinite leave to stay. To do that she had to surrender her passport etc. One and half years later – nothing. And now she was thrown out of her work premises because the Home Office (still not fit for purpose – nowhere near) didn’t want to know. She had gone there yesterday – and received no help.
I was furious. Phoned up the MP helpline and in the end they faxed over a letter stating that she was entitled to work. She came to collect it from my constituency office as if she didn’t show them something today, her job was out the window.
But the bigger issue is that when I spoke to the Home Office (and today the helpline was helpful – credit where it is due) the hold up on her proper papers is an outstanding police check to make sure she hasn’t broken the law. So a year and half later – she is waiting for what should take five minutes on the computer. I have written to Sir Ian Blair and to John Reid. It is totally unacceptable. You can’t bugger up peoples’ lives endlessly through total inefficiency.
Oh yes they can! (in the Christmas spirit!) Good luck with tackling the powers that be head on, and then best wishes for the byelection and next year.