Sunday 17 May 2020 1:20 AM UTC
By A Staff Reporter
LONDON May 17: The Covid pandemic has exposed the underbelly of “illegal migration” by exploiting the Visit Visa norms to bring people from Kerala to the UK. With the recent Covid pandemic at its hilt it has also exposed some very ugly truths about illegal immigration within the community.
It is unfortunate times for those stranded Indian students who have caught in a situation where they are unable to continue the education they sought for and also unable to find work to fund for their studies.
However, another group of people from Kerala too has been caught up in this perilous situation.
Reports say that there are thousands of migrants from Kerala who are overstaying in the London following their Visit Visas running out.
With jobs drying out even for those who are here legally this is definitely going to throw up several challenges to the Malayalee organisations who are at present providing the much needed support to those stranded students unable to return to India.
On speaking to a person from London, who is here on Visit Visa and his visa run out, who asked us to keep his name anonymous, revealed the dirty underbelly of illegal immigration within the UK Malayalee community. We can call him Santhosh.
Apart from speaking to us about his individual story, Santhosh was able to share with us about the situation of other hundreds of visit visa overstayers, who have paid more than Rs5 lakhs to agents back in Kerala.
Santhosh, after a long stint in the Gulf countries returned to his home in Thrissur. With jobs starting to dry up in the Gulf there was an exodus of Malayalees back home.
However, Malayalees being explorers with their passion for seeking pasture new abroad they always kept an option open of flying out at the next available opportunity.
The Gulf returnees and those who were not able to go to Gulf became an ideal fodder for those predatory agents prying with their eagle eyes. These agents started to advertise without any hesitancy. Many fell for it.
Santhosh, through his acquaintances from previous jobs came to know that there is a agency in Haripad in Alappuzha who are able to help people to get to the UK.
Santhosh makes contacts with the agent in Haripad and pays them Rs 5 Lakh to obtain a visit visa with the promise that he will be able to obtain a job here and will be able to survive by doing cash in hand jobs. On being asked why he didn’t check the visa status Santhosh told this website that he believed that once you are in the UK you will be able to get naturalised and get settled here permanently. He was lead to believe by several of those who were here for several years.
Santhosh had to bring in another 2 Lakhs rupees to pay for the first two months rent and paid another 600 pounds paid to the sponsors for other fees.
Santhosh soon starts to realises that he will not be able to move from the visit visa to another job and the fact that he has to return at the end of the six month period. He realises that those who are here in the UK are actually overstayers and not permanently settled as stated by his agents initially.
Caught between the devil and deep the sea he decides to do cash in hand works with a few firms which paid him less than the national average pay.
With the Coronavirus situation Santhosh lost his job which came as an end road for him. With no further legal rights to approach anyone he faces the stark truth of complying with the government guidelines and taking a flight home at the earliest opportunity.
This website had reported in the past years about several Keralites who were here on visit visa who have died here without fulfilling their desires to achieve more monetary benefits for their families back home. It was then the Malayalee organisations who secured some urgent funds to get their bodies repatriated.
It is time to stop this mad rush for monetary benefits using this loophole as with joblessness as a result of Coronavirus things are not looking favourable at all.
Santhosh is flying out on 19th May at the first available opportunity with help from the community to fund for his return ticket. He is returning empty handed.
Therefore, this is a message for all those in Kerala who are looking to fly to the UK using the Visit Visa route to settle here. Let better sense prevail.
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