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Thursday, 7 November 2013

Can #Love Survive #Immigration Challenges?

A few weekends ago, I watched a Nollywood movie titled, ANCHOR BABY.

Considering I am an immigrant in the UK, my heart twitched a few times at the picture of an

African husband being forced away by Immigration Offciers from his beloved wife because his visa had expired.

He begged his pregnant wife who'd gone out for a walk to stay back in the US. Watching from a corner, she saw her husband being dragged away. She wept... She was lonely... She faced many challenges...and in the end... (Go and Watch the Film).

How times have changed!

Several centuries ago, the British journeyed to Africa and Asia to beg Engineers and other professionals to come over to  the UK to work in different sectors.

Families willingly relocated and helped to build foreign countries and fight wars.

During the Slave Trade era, many Africans were chained hand and foot and were forcefully taken away from their kinsmen to live and work on various plantations in America, Britain and other countries.

Many families lost men, women and children that never returned home. Families were flung apart. These Slaves built these countries with their blood and sweat.

As recently as the swinging 60's and booming 70's the Nigerian currency - Naira was at par with the British pounds (£1 to 1Naira). Many Nigerians came to study in the UK and several returned home because home is where the heart is. 

My own father lived, studied and worked in the UK in the 60s -70s as a Radiographer. He's retired and lives in our hometown in Nigeria.

I found myself wishing my dad hadn't returned home. If he'd gotten his British citizenship in the 70s, myself and my siblings would have had an easy ride relocating here when the tide turned in Nigeria.

In recent years, Africa has witnessed massive brain drain of professionals and artisans seeking brighter future for their families abroad.

I belong to this group of migrants. My husband and I plus our children relocated to the UK in 2007.
We've had an amazing time. We've experienced the fabulous, the challenging, the stressful and the victorious times. In all, God is with us.

The challenges migrant face abroad are varied and daunting. The problems test your spiritual and moral values.

Desperation to remain in a foreign country pushes married couples to consider painful options. This may involve others exploiting their circumstances to rip them of their hard earned money, their children or other valuable assets.

Faced with the constant threat of visa expiration and deportation, many couples enter into sham marriages.

In some instances, they pay a Citizen huge sums of money to get their Citizenship. The UK government is clamping down on such marriages and reporting it in the media.

Fake couples have to live together to provide proof that the marriage is 'real'. Quiet often, the fake
marriages result in unplanned pregnancies. Unplanned by the Migrant, but maybe planned by the Citizen who suddenly wants more out of the 'relationship' than was originally agreed.

In this case, the Migrant's original husband or wife is left without their legal spouse because they're caught in the overwhelming web of immigration challenges.

In other cases, Citizens 'rent' out their passport and valid documents to illegal immigrants for a fee - monthly payback. The migrants then have to work multiple low paid jobs, stay away from home and their families to make ends meet.

Consquently, Migrants may get blackmailed or threatened by the Citizen paid to 'assist'. Finding themselves helpless, they either meet the grievous demands of the blackmailer or face the wrath of the law.

In various scenario above, the married couples or lovers face countless challenges, they get thrown apart, their marriages may collaspe and their children get caught out. Some children may get taken to Foster families if their parents end up in jail!

Personally, there's celebration in our household because our STAY in the UK was recently granted. Our gratitude goes to God Almighty for leading us to a foreign land, blessing us with supportive network of great friends, Priest and Church members that held us up with their love, prayers, friendship and resources when we were down.

MY ADVICE to immigrants toiling in foreign lands across the world;

1. Make the RIGHT choices at all times. Choices that will not HURT your marriage and children.

2. Make each decision by weighing the consequences. Can you live with your wrists being
shackled with handcuffs or being thrown into jail or being ruthlessly deported back home by immigration officials with a mandate to get rid of illegal immigrants?

3.There's a God that stands beside foreigners! Believe it or not. But you've got to make GODLY choices, not seemingly EASY choices.

4. When you fall into hard times, PRAY! You will get help from unexpected sources. My family did!

5. When you're tempted into options you know will lead you into TROUBLE, stand back and act WISELY.

6. Remember, no matter how long it takes, the long arm of the law waits to catch up with those who exploit the system. Your 'friends' or enemies may tip off the authorities and just when you sit in the comfort of your home, the officials pound down the door and kick you back home or into prison.

7. KNOW that when you FALL, you will RISE again. As long as you don't GIVE UP!

To summarise, MIGRATION isn't a crime. It is illegal migration that throws up innumerable difficulties that tear families apart for generations.

Residents of the UK especially Africans are unbelievably warm, friendly and very supportive of immigrants.

I wish all Migrants success in their quest to find a better future for themselves and their families.

I'm taking this opportunity to say THANK YOU  and GOD BLESS the many families, individuals, neighbours, our Priest and his family and our Church members who have been an amazing support for my family through our continuous stay in the UK.

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