My life

An 18-year-old woman describes how it feels to be prevented from
working because of immigration rules.

My name is Jennifer. I live with my mum, dad and brother. I am
from Nigeria, and came to the UK when I was nine years old. I left
behind my two older brothers, my only sister, all my friends and
the rest of my family.

From when I was very young I wanted to work in the health
profession. After doing a GNVQ at college and working in a care
home I finally got my dream job in a hospital as a health care
assistant. It was everything I wanted and more. I always dreamed
about working in a hospital with real doctors and nurses. My mum
and dad were so proud of me that by my first day all our friends
and family knew about it. I didn’t mind because I was also
very proud of myself.

My first day was great. All the nurses told me that it was going
to be hard because I didn’t know the patients and where
things were kept. But this meant I had to talk to the patients and
find out about them. By the end of my shift I didn’t want to
go home. It was everything I thought it would be. The next day was
even better.

I was there for four days until I got a call from human
resources saying that I’m not supposed to be working in the
UK. I couldn’t believe it. I told them that I had been
working from the age of 16, but they didn’t want to listen.
They then asked to speak to the nurse-in-charge. Ten minutes later
she came off the phone and told me that I had to go home
straightaway because they could get in trouble with the Home

When I got home my dad called up our solicitor who said it was
going to take a long time to sort out. I didn’t know that
when I turn 18 I will have to apply for my own stay. I didn’t
understand what and why this was happening to me, I just knew that
I had to leave my job.

After the weekend I went back to the hospital. The
nurse-in-charge was very understanding and said when I’m
allowed to come back they will be happy to take me back. That made
me feel so much better.

My mum thinks that I should go back to college and that I am
just wasting my life but I don’t want to do anything else
because what I want to do I can’t do.

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