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UK Denies Qualified Zim Woman Permanent Residence 22 Times

By Diplomatic Correspondent- The British government has denied permanent residence to a 45-year-old Zimbabwean woman living in the United Kingdom (UK) since 2001 despite qualifying for that status.

The woman has reportedly spent £12 000 on applications to stay in the European country, but she keeps getting refused.

Patience Jamela moved from Zimbabwe 23 years ago to train as a teacher in the UK. She said she was drawn to studying in England because of the “state-of-the-art” teaching.

Jamela told the Bristol Post that she had planned to return to Zimbabwe but ended up making Britain her home after meeting a man.

She has reportedly applied to become a permanent citizen four times over the years – at £3k each time. She said she did not know why each time her application was turned down by the Home Office.

Jamela, a mother of three, said she wants residency as she struggles to get a mortgage and has, at points, had her travel restricted. She 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.

Jamela left Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, to study for a PGCE at Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent.

She had planned to return to Zimbabwe after finishing her studies, but in 2004 she met her former partner through online dating.

Jamela became pregnant and the pair went on to have three children. Charlotte, now 18, Alissa, 17, and Jaden, 11.

She initially applied for permanent residence in 2012 but was turned away by the Home Office. She reapplied in 2015, 2018, and 2021, and is now preparing to submit another application this month.

However, 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. Said Jamela:

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. 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.

Zimbabweans face significant challenges when seeking permanent residence in Britain, mainly because the UK has implemented strict immigration policies that include high fees, lengthy application processes, and stringent eligibility criteria.

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