My experience as a migrant in the UK was not easy because there're a lot of issues around settling down as an immigrant. One, it is expensive to settle down and the income I get as a nurse does not match what I must pay for my family to get settled in this country. Every job you do goes towards that settlement.
The UK law changes every year. Every April, there is a difference in the law. When I came here and started as a nurse doing my adaptation, the law said after 4 years’ you can get your Indefinite leave to remain, but within the 4 years’, the law changed to 5 years’. I was lucky because my work permit was 5 years’. Some of my colleagues had a 4 years’ work permit, and they had to renew their visa with their family for another year which cost money because the money increases every year. It had increased when I was going to get indefinite leave with my family. It increased to £1350 per person, and at that time I had two adult children above 13. That was £1350 each plus myself and two dependents who pay half of what I pay so it was over £5400 then and it is non-refundable. You are also not sure you will get the Indefinite. It was stressful and emotionally draining. Apart from that, after a year you want to apply to get naturalized. That costs more money and then you get your British passport.
I understand that when you move from a place to another place, the saying "when you’re In Rome, behave like the Romans. Yes, we try to behave and adapt to the country. But we also expect the indigenes to try and incorporate us into the system. But all we hear is that there's equality and diversity, but they don’t respect our culture. Our culture is different. For most of us relocating at an older age, we may be set in our ways. We are termed as aggressive and confrontational when we speak. There is a clause that says "it is not what you say, it is how you say it" but they do not understand this is you, this is how you are as a person. We are passionate when we talk, we gesture and use facial expressions but then it is perceived negatively. You feel subdued and at some point, you just want to let it be even when things are not favourable to you because you do not want to be stereotyped. We feel discriminated against, but we must survive.
If you ask anyone that is a nurse, that has relocated as I have, their experience will be similar. Some of us have qualified for years and years back in our country but when we come here, they do not respect the skills we have. I work within the NHS; I can say that categorically. Rather than help us progress in our career, they give it to somebody who just qualified a year ago. We see all of it and just let it be.
We have families from where we come from so, we have to make it work in this country to do what we can to help our people back home.