Speaking for Ourselves

Campaign to keep Grandma in the UK

Campaign to keep Grandma in the UK

Althia Barnett

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - Campaign to keep Grandma in the UK

An elderly grandma will be ripped from her adopted family and friends and be deported back to India if she is not given ‘Leave to Remain’ in the UK.

A community in Smethwick, West Midlands, has jumped to the aid of 75-year-old Mrs Gurmit Kaur, who is threatened with deportation by the Home Office.

In 2013, the grandmother received letters from agencies representing the Home Office for her removal from the UK back to India where she says she has no family. Seven years on, she is still fearful of being removed.

Mrs Kaur said: “Being here in Smethwick is my true home, it’s where I work to help the community, it’s where I know and love the people who have become my family. This is the place I have made my home.”

Mrs Kaur has been living in her Sandwell home for nearly 11 years since arriving in the UK in 2009. She is much loved and is very active in the community, but she does not have documents. Undocumented migrants in the UK are unable to work or register with relevant authorities and have no recourse to public funds.

Campaigners are gathering signatures on a petition for Mrs Kaur to remain in the UK indefinitely, which has so far gathered nearly 60,000 signatures.

Salman Mirza from Migrant Voice, the organisation spearheading the campaign, said: “Our concern is that her status remains that she can and may be ‘forcibly removed’. Though we do not condone it, it is understandable that after such threats, people then do not pursue the Home Office.”

According to Mrs Kaur, she has no family to return to in India and has made her home in Smethwick, including many friends within the Sikh community and temple, where she helps out with cooking and serving food to visitors on a daily basis. She goes on to say, “In India, I have nobody, absolutely nobody. I fear loneliness and the impact on my mental health if I go to India all alone.”

Mrs Kaur’s plight was aired on the BBC on 25 July, in the hope that it will highlight the struggles this elderly lady is facing to get the relevant authorities to take note of what is happening, not only to her, but to undocumented migrants across the UK. 


Althia Barnett is a Migrant Voice member and a participant in the Migrant Voice Newsroom, part of the MiFriendly Cities project.


TOP IMAGE: Migrant Voice members supporting the #WeAreAllGurmitKaur campaign