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Spotlight on immigration law as Latitude Law feature in BBC documentary


Latitude Law are one of only a handful of legal experts interviewed by the BBC as part of their latest investigative documentary Who Should Get to Stay in the UK? With the UK immigration system under increasing scrutiny, the 3 part documentary explores the economics, ethics and complexities of the immigration system; along with the stories of the individuals trying to stay in the UK and the lawyers who are helping them.

Managing Director and founder of Latitude Law, Gary McIndoe, featured in last night’s episode along with two of our clients, Onyi and Doaa. The episode focused on the families, relationships and the human impact of the complex immigration processes.

Speaking to the BBC as part of the documentary Gary commented, “…if a person said to me ‘the immigration system is too lax’ I’d say ‘well you have a go and see how you get on.’ It’s really not. If you are complying with the rules and playing by the rules you will quickly understand that there are a lot of hoops to jump through and you’ve got to get your evidence exactly right.”

The human impact

For the last 17 years Doaa has been married to Martin, but upon arrival at Manchester airport to start their life in Britain, Doaa discovered she had the wrong visa and was detained.

Doaa and her husband Martin have two young children and, due to an error in her original visa application, were faced with the family having to separate for months, taking the children out of school and living apart whilst they went through the process to resolve Doaa’s visa.

Speaking about the experience Martin commented “It must be an incredibly difficult job for the Home Office. They need to be sensitive and of course they need to protect our borders. But I just wish they could be a little bit more human and not split families up who are clearly a family. Keep the families together.”

Doaa and her family were finally reunited with a successful result and it will be 30 months before she will need to renew her spousal visa.

Getting the right advice

Onyi, and husband Craig live in Manchester. After ten years in the UK, Onyi, found herself still without permanent status and has been faced with a series of hurdles and complex decisions during a process that, so far, has spanned ten years.

Gary McIndoe spoke to the BBC about the recent Home Office decision for Onyi  “Onyi is eligible for settlement now but they’re saying that she should start her ten years again which is just ridiculous and it is surprising really because Onyi has already got leave to remain as Craig’s partner.”

One of the issues in the spotlight on last night’s feature is the host of legal and documentation factors that need to be taken into account when helping a client navigate the process. And all this while helping support the client through a difficult phase impacting relationships, families and children. Providing clear advice around the options available is crucial.

Onyi explained “Gary explained the pros and cons and is going to send me more information so I can make a well informed decision.”

Speaking with her husband Craig, Onyi was finally able to share the good news “We took Gary’s advice to reapply for indefinite leave to remain as a spouse of a British citizen and we’re pleased to say that the Home Office just got back to us, granting me indefinite leave to remain in the UK.”

Behind the scenes

The documentary shows the fantastic positive impact that the successful outcomes have given our clients Doaa and her family and Onyi and Craig. But also the hard work and often heartache for all involved.

Gary also live tweeted throughout the documentary, providing further insights and background to the client’s experiences and details of the legal options available. Visit the Latitude Law Twitter account to see more and join in the conversation.

Click here to view the episode on BBC iPlayer if you missed it. Gary is featured in the third episode of the three part documentary series and the full series is informative, thought provoking and well worth watching.

If you have any questions arising from the documentary or the issues our clients above have faced then please get in touch with our team here at Latitude on info@latitudelaw.com or via our contact page.