Yet another immigrant, just wanting to to stay.
My name's Mariam Harley Miller; I prefer "Harley" to "Mariam". I'm an Australian and I've been living in London for the past 9 years. But maybe for not too much longer. On 1st November, 2013, the UK Border Agency (now "Home Office") decided not to renew my visa. Three days later I lost my job with the NHS, where I worked the whole time I've been in the UK. From that date, I was given just 28 days to pack up my home and my life and leave the country voluntarily.
The day I was dismissed from work, I came home and wrote something on Facebook. I wanted my friends to know what had happened and how painful it was for me. One of my friends copied and pasted my status onto his FB page and from there things went mad. Within a week, there were close to 40,000 "shares" of my post through my friend's FB profile. The respponse was so huge, I opened up a FB Page and have received nearly 3000 likes. Both my friend and I received up to 100 emails a day, every single one of them from people supporting me, offering suggestions, apologizing for the way I've been treated, expressing their disagreement with the government's actions and dozens and dozens of marriage proposals! There is also a petition going, which has reached nearly 8,000 signatures. Here's the link: Petition to keep Harley in the UK
Since then, I've been asked to tell my story to the newspapers and radio both here and in Australia. The story has been published in The Independent and The Times here in the UK. I have been on BBC5 Live, BBC Asia is about to do a report too. And Allison Pearson from The Telegraph used my case in a piece she wrote about immigration. In Australia, my story went right across the country on national and local radio thanks to the ABC, and it was published in several Australian papers including The Australian. And now I'm here writing a blog for The Huffington Post.
I've never written a blog before. I have no idea how it's going to turn out. But what I would like is to share with you the real experience of being an immigrant in the UK, the real-life experience of being one of those immigrants that the UK government means when they say they have "reduced net immigration".
Just so that you get to see a different side to the immigration