For the first time since the middle of August I didn’t wake up this morning thinking about the UK Home Office.
Well, not immediately, anyway.
Then I went to double check that it hadn’t all been a dream.
The last six weeks felt crazy stressful, but this morning – with just a tiny bit of distance – that stress felt overblown.
Don’t get me wrong, the stress was definitely real. I definitely felt it. And Dawnise would definitely tell you it definitely affected my mood.
But I wasn’t actually in any real jeopardy. I had a visa. It allowed me to be in the country, to work, to and travel. And that visa had plenty of time left before it expired. So no real risk.
On top of that, I had two lawyers who were confident that I was “in the right,” and our member of parliament’s office was advocating for me, too.
Worst case – if the only way to resolve the situation was to submit a new application – it would cost me some time and some money.
I suspect most people who’ve ever gone through any immigration process probably remember how stressful it can be. Governments and bureaucracies seem opaque and capricious. Each application is a just one of many a caseworker will handle in a week. To the case worker the decision on an application is just another decision.
To the person, or family, behind that application, their entire future can hinge on the outcome.
When things go wrong, having access to resources, and specifically to sound legal advice, can make a massive difference.
I had a bunch of advantages and I got lucky. Dawnise and I agreed we wanted to pay that luck forward – and decided to donate what we were expecting to spend on a second application to organizations that provide immigration-related legal aid. I asked around, and some friends pointed me at JCWI in the UK and Unlocal in the US.
I hope it helps someone who needs it.