BBC two presents ‘Who Should Get to Stay in the UK’, a frustrating yet enlightening programme reflecting the trials of 700,000 people applying to remain in the UK indefinitely for differing reasons. The show presents a complex net of rules and regulations those from outside the E.U must follow in order to leave or remain.

These individuals from outside the E.U, are applying for VISA’s with the help of immigration lawyers, though some lawyers are paid for upfront, and others are working free of charge to help such people with no money and significant health issues. The first episode for example, presents Rasheed, a Bangladeshi homeless man with Crohns disease whose student visa has run out five years ago. He requires a lawyer and a doctor to argue his need for the NHS, and therefore his need to stay in the UK on medical grounds. Rasheed appeals through the means of a lawyer who is fighting his case for free, on humanitarian grounds. Other cases are poles apart. We meet Valeriya, a student on her fifth student visa, whose father gifts £200,000 to fund her new entrepreneur visa as requested by the Home Office and her fancy lawyer. She struggles however, to put together a business plan for her fashion company, one that will satisfy the requirements of the Home Office.  There’s also a Scottish man called Ajmal who requires three work visas for chefs he’d like to bring in from India to work for and expand his business, but he is faced with the absurd issue of his successful takeaway business, not being seen as priority or needed even in the eyes of the Home Office, even though, he projects it will create fifty local jobs.

This show is rife with facts of frustration through experts and scrutiny of the UK Home office, weaved in with personal journeys filled with potential political issues, financial burdens and losses, and pure human decency. In this way, a softer side to immigration is exhibited. There is less of the hateful tone toward immigrants stealing from the land as such, rather a theme that they are adding to the country. The show also reflects the intricate reason that such personal stories were presented, which is that each story was just that; personal. And in the eyes of immigration law, this is critical.

By Idman Omar