‘I’ve spent £12k on applications to stay in Britain – I’ve lived here for 23 years but I keep being told no’




Patience Jamella has been living in the UK for 23 years (Image: Patience Jamella/SWNS)
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A mum who has spent £12,000 on applications to stay in Britain says she cannot understand why she keeps getting refused – despite living here for 23 years. Patience Jamela moved from Zimbabwe in 2001 to train as a teacher.

By Jacob Freedland

She says she planned to go back to eventually but ended up making Britain her home after meeting a man. Now 45, she has applied to become a permanent citizen four times over the years – at a cost of £3k each time.

Patience says she wants residency as she struggles to get a mortgage and has, at points, had her travel restricted. But each time her application has been turned down by the Home Office – and she does not know why.

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Patience with her three children Alissa (left), Charlotte and Jaden (right) (Image: Patience Jamella/SWNS)

Patience, mum-of-three, said: “I feel like my life is in limbo. I am a good citizen. I pay my taxes. I don’t understand why I should be penalised.”

Patience left Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, to study for a PGCE at Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent. She said she was drawn to studying in England because of the “state-of-the-art” teaching.

But despite planning to return to Zimbabwe after finishing her studies, in 2004 she met her former partner through online dating. She became pregnant and the pair went on to have three children: Charlotte, now 18; Alissa, 17; and Jaden, 11.

Patience first applied for permanent residence in 2012 but was turned away by the Home Office. She says she then went on to reapply in 2015, 2018, 2021 – and is preparing to lodge another application this month.

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Patience, 45 (Image: Patience Jamella/SWNS)

She had to go to such lengths that in 2008 she was separated from one of her children because she had to move from Kent to asylum accommodation in Wolverhampton as part of the process. But each time she applies she’s told she doesn’t qualify for settlement and is given temporary leave-to-remain instead, which has to be renewed every three years.

She said she had “no idea” why she does not qualify for permanent residence: “I have no criminal record. I don’t understand why they have not allowed me to stay. My life is on hold.”

“My children have never met their grandmother because she lives in Zimbabwe; we can’t afford to travel there,” she added. “We have not had a holiday because of this situation. The last holiday was when the kids were small.

“I can’t afford to move house because I am always thinking about the next application. My kids are anxious. They don’t know what’s going to happen.

“This country’s their life. They have family, cousins and nieces here. This is all they have known.”

The main reason she said she wants permanent residency is so she can “look after” her children. Patience’s “hard-working” eldest daughter, Charlotte, is planning to study dentistry at university.

Patience said: “I adore this country. I want to be a good citizen. I have done jury service. I do volunteering. But I am getting old and I have not even lived a life.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “All applications are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with the Immigration Rules. It is longstanding government policy that we do not routinely comment on individual cases.”

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Source: Kent Live