In these nine years of UK living, we've settled into the place where we believe God has called us to be, using our gifts in the service of a Christian community. Our children, now 10, 7, and 5, have known no other home.
But also over these nine years, the British government has determined to cut drastically the number of immigrants allowed to work and settle in this country. As salary minimums for immigrants continue to rise, negatively affecting those of us working in nonprofit/charity fields, we were nearly deported two years ago. We are required this autumn either to apply for Leave to Remain or to leave the country. ('Leave to Remain' means permanent legal status in the UK.) Immigrants also unfortunately face dramatically increasing application fees.
I wish so much that somehow permission to remain in this country could spring from us being able to prove all the ways in which we've changed and grown through our experience of living here. How reflexively we apologise for no apparent reason. How skilled we've become in commenting on British weather. How my children were born into the hands of Scottish midwives, and have grown up finding conkers in autumn and watching pantos at Christmastime. How I crave Pimms on a hot day, and Justin finds himself at B&Q on a bank holiday Monday. How we've sought to queue appropriately in every aspect of life. How proud we were of ourselves to earn our British driver's licenses. How I tell my children to be 'sensible' without thinking twice, and how very much we love the relationships we have built in this place.
We will be required to pay £12,000-£15,000 for our family's application this October, in addition to a few thousand pounds in lawyer's fees to ensure the application is processed correctly.
I am horrible at asking for help. It is an embarrassing and humbling endeavour. But the anticipated summer work which we'd hoped would cover some of this has fallen through, and we are feeling the weight of these costs on our family--so we ask that any of our friends and family who would like to support our continued lives and ministry in this country, which IS now our home, would consider giving to help off-set our costs.
Thanks for your time, and for any help you might be able to give. May God supply what we need.
- Claire Gerard
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