THE BLOG
27/11/2013 12:45 GMT | Updated 27/01/2014 05:59 GMT

Reflections on the Overwhelming Support Given to an Australian Immigrant in the UK at Risk of Deportation

It's mid morning and I've just finished catching up with my emails, Facebook messages and tweets. Doing that has become my part of my new daily routine since my story was spread around the world via Facebook. Luckily, since losing my job, I have time on my hands to dedicate to this.

As I sit here in front of the computer screen, looking at the names of the thousands of people who have signed the petition started by my friend, Andrew Hall, as I read the hundreds of comments and emails and try to respond to each one, I can't help thinking about the reasons why so many people have taken time from their daily lives to contact me, sign the petition and share my story with their friends and family. I love the fact that they have and am so moved by their support, but I never imagined for one second that my circumstances would get such a reaction.

The question I ask myself is why? I can only offer you my opinion and I'm not even sure I can explain what I think but I'll give it a go.

Basically, I think it's a combination of human compassion and a sense of betrayal. And maybe the two aren't completely separated.

For some time now, we've heard the political parties, at some point or another, talk about immigration. Correction. They've talked about "Immigration" with a capital "I", as though it were a thing that has to be "tackled", something they have to "crack down on" and "get tough with". As though this "Immigration" were an evil monster that is to blame for all that is going wrong in this country. They told the public that "immigrants" were lazy and there for a free ride and to scrounge off benefits. They talked about "Health Tourism" - foreigners coming into abuse the health system before heading home again. The stories were endless.

But then different groups - universities, associations, statisticians - came out with studies and surveys based on the government statistics and they found very little that backed these stories. And people personally knew immigrants and started saying "but hey, hang on a moment, the immigrants I know aren't like that. The ones I know work really hard and contribute".

So then the politicians changed their stance and we started to hear about "good immigrants" and "bad immigrants", which fit in neatly with the "scroungers vs strivers" narrative. People were led to believe that the government wanted to keep the "good immigrants", those who benefitted the UK with their skills, knowledge and experience, those who worked hard and paid taxes and were never a "burden".

However, how could the government possibly reduce net immigration if they can't find the immigrants who came in without legal status? Or make up for the rich ones who, by paying an astronomical premium, are fast-tracked through minimum immigration controls? The answer is they go for those who do things correctly, those who make applications, those like myself who have been here for years, doing things by the book, who fit the description of "the good immigrant". And so the people, the voters, are now seeing and feel they've been lied to, betrayed.

A quick look through the comments written on my Facebook page reflects that sentiment. The mere fact that people have written, that they have supported me and signed my petition, confirms that they feel the government isn't doing the right thing. When you read the comments , over and over again you read how people from right across the political spectrum say they "feel ashamed of being British", that they "are embarrassed for the treatment I am receiving", that I should "just commit a crime and then [I'll] be ok". So many apologise on behalf of the UK tell me they are angry for what the government has done.

We were taught from a very young age that if we work hard, are honest and do the right thing, we'll be rewarded. The government's whole approach of supporting those who strive, of rewarding "good immigrants" who have done things "the right way", has just been shown up for what it really is - a farce. And that's why I think people are angry. They were lied to, too.

That's how I see it, anyway.