THE BLOG

Merry Christmas from Home Office - Leave Now or Risk Arrest

30/12/2013 11:16 GMT | Updated 26/02/2014 10:59 GMT

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful time over the festive season and managed to be around people you love and care about.

I was lucky enough to be able to spend another Christmas here with my friends and the people I consider family. This year, I had the pleasure of cooking for everyone and hosting. My guests, in turn, had the pleasure of eating my burnt parsnips and overcooked duck. Despite the light-heartedness, there have been times over the last couple of months when I thought I wasn't going to be able to laugh with my friends over my terrible cooking at Christmas-time. Even though I had a wonderful two days, underneath the joviality and Christmas cheer, for me there was a degree of anxiety and anger, suppressed only by my sheer determination to not let the buggers grind me down.

On Christmas Day, before the guests arrived, I went down to take the rubbish out and noticed there was a letter for me. It must've arrived in the afternoon on the day before because it wasn't there when I came in at lunchtime on Christmas Eve.

When I saw the envelope sitting there, I just knew who it was from, even though there wasn't much on it to identify the sender. Instinctively, I knew it was from Home Office. In fact, it was from Capita Business Services on behalf of Home Office informing me that I had to contact them immediately and that I had until 2nd January to return the attached form, along with a copy of my ticket out of the UK. In other words, Home Office was telling me to leave now.

Despite the almost friendly tone of the letter, one can't help wonder about the timing of it. I would dearly love to know what went on behind the scenes when the letter was sent. The letter was dated (Thursday) 19th December. Was it the last thing they sent before shutting shop for Christmas? What did they think when they sent it, as they went off to their Christmas office party? Who made the decision to send such a letter at this time of the year? Or was it just computer-generated bureaucracy with no human thought behind it? Did they realise that I would get it just in time for Christmas? Were they aware of how callous it seemed or don't they even care? Or worse still, was it intentional, as some people have suggested?

More questions I ask myself:

What were they hoping I would do over the Christmas period? Surely they realised my solicitors would be not be working over the festive season? Or didn't they look at my file to see if I was legally represented? Some people have even suggested that they did it purposely so that I wouldn't be able to contact my solicitors, that they knew that many of they days until till my deadline would be taken up by holidays and weekends, purposely leaving me little time to seek help.

I don't know what to think.

I'll let you reach your own conclusions.