With great sorrow and regrets I need to inform you about my certain departure from this country which I called home for last 5 years.
You were the first people I happened to know when I first arrived here and most of you became my good friends right away. You have shown nothing but acceptance and support for all the oddities, weird habits, creepy innuendos or sometime unintended rudeness from my lack of few gentle qualities.
My endeavour to look for a new life in a far away land was doomed from the beginning. As it happened, it came at a great financial cost which followed the cancellation of the promised 2 year Post Study Work Visa by UK government and desperate attempts landed me in the arms of employers where work, life, movements and even choice of my weekend activities seemed to be taken away from me.
Even though there is still sometime left in my visa, the employer has decided to end the sponsorship as the client projects are coming to an end. Effectively pronouncing me an illegal immigrant after 28th of August if I chose to stay without a new sponsor.
There are many contract and permanent jobs available which for which I am not just qualified but even asking for lesser money than advertised. But given the short window of time, I am not sure if it is possible to find a sponsor – and even someone who does not wish to exploit.
You know, people are asking upto 25% of my income for a sponsorship?
Which means if I earn – say £20,000 from a contract each year, I’ll pay £5,000 to the sponsor, £5,000 to HMRC as taxes and keep the rest 50% – HALF of what I am going to earn with all honesty and hard work – for the remaining term of my visa.
Plus I’ll be the one to pay all the visa fee occurred during the process, an introductory fee of about £3,000 AND monthly income tax on an imaginary income till I can find a contract.
It is illegal, referred as body shopping and leaves me at the mercy of sponsors and whim of UKBA.
Am I tempted? Yes. Will I do it? No.
Short term, long term, remote, commute, on-call – for the next 4 years before I can claim for a long term settled visa for myself. It is nothing short of slaving away without a shimmer of hope for a settled family life.
Is there really no place for the so called ‘best and the brightest’ in this country? Is there no place for a well educated, qualified, experienced, hardworking and tax-paying person who does not wish to commit a visa fraud in developed world?
So I am leaving this country to my childhood home which we sold and one mortgaged apartment to fund my studies and a still outstanding education loan to pay back.
I am not going to dilute remarkable journey I was on where I not just made friends like you but made memories, celebrated life and to some extent found myself.
A few basic lessons which I learned from all the people I knew here are empathy, acceptance, courtesy, inclusiveness and respect for individual’s choices.
Not once a person who was not from Indian Subcontinent commented on how fat I was or my greying hair or how old I was to make me feel conscious about my body image.
Just to make things clear, this post is not just complaints against the government of UK, it is just an attempt to express how grateful I am to ever met you guys and how the life sometimes plays tricks on you just by putting you at a certain geographic location at the time of your birth.
The mental trauma is unbearable. The pressure of uncertainty about life in coming weeks, resettling in India after a privileged lifestyle, change which was unforeseen until 30 days ago when I payed a deposit on a new house to rent here in UK. I feel helpless and sad. And there is really nothing I can do about it.
In the words of the famous Doctor David Tennant, “I don’t want to go”.
I wonder what visas all these taxi drivers have?
I’ll be in Bristol for a last hurrah from 1st August till 11th August before boarding my flight to Indore, India from Heathrow on 12th morning.