Making Home Away

So I sat them down and told them: the five of us are here, me, you and your father, wherever the five of us are, that place should be your heaven.
Discover their stories


Current 'Home' West Midlands, UK

Sabiha, a Syrian refugee in Coventry, reflects on the passing of time and the five years that she has been granted to stay as a refugee in the UK with her young children.  Beyond this time, they will have to go through the further process of applying for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain), which is one step closer to British Citizenship.

"For me, I don't think about the future. I can’t because you know, now nearly 5 years finish for me (since) I came here. They told me “Ok you will stay here five years” but now (it has been) four years.  Before five years (seemed like a) long time but the years are coming quickly quickly.  (In another) Five years I hope for a house for me (laughs).  Maybe... I don’t know.  I'd like it if my English coming grow, maybe my children coming everyday coming bigger, maybe (they will) start work with me, and we will have (our own) house and not (have to) rent from anyone. I hope... but for me I don't think where I can live (in future) because I am now confused. Syria is not safe, and Lebanon as well is not safe. Where we can go?"

This 'Right to Remain Toolkit' aims to help asylum seekers and refugees understand the complex set of legal and bureaucratic procedures that they must navigate in order to legally remain in the UK.  Organisations campaigning for refugee rights in the UK have criticised Home Office decisions to revoke the previous policy of automatic settlement of refugees after five years.  Under current 'hostile environment' policies concerning ILR, refugees in the UK must undergo a protracted period of uncertainty which extents even beyond their initial claim for asylum is granted, leaving them unable to build a life in their new homes.


This extract is from an interview conducted in 2020 by Kalwinder Sandhu with supervision by Vicki Squire, as part of the British Academy funded ‘Lost and Found: A Digital Archive of Migration, Displacement and Resettlement’ project’s Making Home Away archive.


Current 'Home'
West Midlands, UK


Current 'Home'
West Midlands, UK