Monique's Story

Monique is a single mum who came to the UK in 2007 to train and work as a nurse. However, her health has since deteriorated and she is no longer able to work. She has human rights grounds for her leave to remain in the UK, and the right to claim benefits. She claims Personal Independence Payment, a benefit for people with long-term health conditions that make it difficult for them to do certain everyday tasks. However, every few years she has to apply for her leave to remain to be extended, which includes paying expensive fees. Once she has had leave to remain continuously for ten years, she will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain, which will give her most of the same rights as a British citizen.

Monique got in touch with Citizens Advice Barnet because her leave to remain was due to

expire and she couldn’t afford the fees to apply for it to be extended. She has no savings, her income is barely enough for her and her son to live on, and the fees total £2,612.20. She has already had to restart her ten year route once before because she couldn’t afford the fees to extend her leave.

“I came to the UK in 2007 to pursue a degree and career in nursing. Then I met my son’s dad and got pregnant. I’m on a ten year route to indefinite leave to remain, but I don’t have the money to pay the home office fee.

“A couple of years ago I had a lot of issues with pain in my legs and joints and depression and anxiety, and I couldn’t work. I started receiving benefits – PIP, which is a disability benefit, and I still rely on them now so I obviously don’t have the money – it’s a lot of money to dish out.”

Our Immigration Caseworker, Harshida, supported her to apply for a fee waiver so she can apply for further leave to remain without having to pay the fees.

“If you hadn’t helped me I would have had to do the fee waiver application on my own, which would be tricky as I don’t have any experience, and it changes all the time – the law changes. I’d have had to do a lot of research. I couldn’t have handled it, myself – I was suffering from depression at the time.”

This application was successful, and Harshida has now supported her to submit her free application for further leave to remain.

“It will be a relief to get my leave to remain extended because it takes a lot. If you don’t get the application in before the expiration date it can cause a lot of problems. There’s a penalty for a late application – they could put you back to the start of the ten year route, which has already happened to me.

“I’m on my way again now.”