Work Experience Blog: Rushna's Reflections

Last week we were joined by Rushna, a Year 12 student who conducted her work experience to gain more knowledge about We Belong's work. Below is her blog reflections on how she feels about the impact of the UK's immigration system on young people's lives.

Being born in the UK I had not realised the benefits I hold for already being a British citizen and not having to go through the long, complicated and tiring journey to settlement. 

Before the work experience I had very little knowledge on the immigration system. Truthfully, even now my knowledge is not extensive , due to not being exposed to immigration issues earlier on in my life or teachings in my schooling. However, through the work experience and reading the stories of young people who have grown up in the UK made me realise just how unjust the immigration system is. Essentially, I feel like young migrants are being used as a source of income.

Why are the Home Office charging people in already vulnerable positions in society extortionate prices?

Why is it that young people who have lived in the UK for most of their childhood at We Belong and are positively contributing to the economy and their communities are STILL being kept in limbo or having their applications rejected?


This is where we have grown up TOGETHER. We share so many similarities with and I think it is unfair that other young people are treated as if they do not belong. I read about some people being removed to countries that they had last seen as young children, this is absolutely unacceptable. The UK is supposed to be their safe place, a place of opportunity which allows them to develop their identity and thrive. It is somewhere where they can and should be able to live in peace. Young people should be able to go out of the country and like their peers see the rest of the world and still be allowed to come back home. The financial strain placed by immigration fees however makes this very difficult. Young people should not have to worry about potentially jeopardising their Limited Leave to Remain status if they cannot afford to pay the application fees. These should not be the concerns of young people who are still finding out their interests and finding their feet in the world. No one should have to live in fear of being kicked out of their own home, uncertain of what the outcome of their situation will be if the Home Office deny their stay in the UK. The UK's immigration needs to do better by young people.

I learnt about the oddly long and complicated process young migrants continue to face even with the great policy changes that We Belong had contributed to. Despite working hard to achieve their best and integrate within British society, many young migrants continue to be denied access to opportunities and resources, such as student loans. We Belong’s recent successful call for change was for the excruciatingly long process for settlement to be reduced and for application fees to match the actual processing cost price.

In October 2021, the 10-year route was reduced to 5 years which meant that after 5 years of Limited Leave to Remain (LLR) young people could apply to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), a form of permanent settlement in the UK. This was a big break for young people at We Belong who have lived in the UK for so long. It gave hope to many people as it meant that young people were finally waiting a shorter time to get to citizenship.

We Belong encourages young people to take part in making a change and believes that the hostile environment and negative image surrounding migration needs to change. We should instead celebrate the social integration and the positive contributions of migrants.

Through the experience of learning about We Belong, I gained a lot of knowledge that I didn't have before. I still have so many questions.

Why does it take so long for people to hear back about their applications?

Why do they have to live in the margins of society in limbo?

Why should the Home Office be able to take as long as they want, but as soon as an applicant hands their application late they are penalised?


24 Aug 2022