My housemate D moved to the UK from South Africa a year ago, and moved into our house at the end of March. He’s a great bloke, a good friend, and hilariously funny. So you can imagine how gutted we all were when D came home tonight to announce that he’s probably going to have to leave the country in a few months. And then you can imagine how gutted he is.
D has fallen foul of the new immigration laws. He can’t stay without a visa; he needs the support of his employer to get the visa; his employer has said they can’t help. This seems really sucky to me, as they’ve been really supportive of him in the past, and he’s had several promotions and commendations from his managers (I would boycott the employer in protest, but I don’t use their product in the first place, so that would be even more pointless) . Barring a sudden whirlwind romance and wedding (and he’s not the kind of guy who’d fake that stuff just so he could stay), he would have to leave by this time next year – but he wouldn’t be allowed to work past the end of February, so in practical terms he’d have to leave then.
What’s also sad is that, while D is clearly proud of his heritage (as he reminded me following the rugby the other day) he really feels at home in the UK, and most of his close family are actually here rather than in South Africa. He’s involved in loads of stuff in his church, including leading worship and youth work, and it’s clearly going to be heartbreaking for him if he has to turn his back on it all.
We’re all rather shocked and saddened. It’s not a happy evening in our house.