When I came to the UK for the first time in July 2002, I meant to stay for a three weeks’ holiday but fell in love there with a boy from my home town that I’d known for years as just a friend. We’ve been together ever since – married for six years with a 4 year old son.
I was still at uni in Poland when I first came here so was travelling a lot back and forth till 2006 when I came for longer but I was on the Work Registration Scheme straight away in 2004 and was always employed when living here.
I decided to leave the UK permanently (thinking I’d never come back) in December 2008 but came running back in January 2011 as I couldn’t stay away much longer – I loved London so much and my (then) boyfriend refused to move back home. I found a job in early May 2011 and worked full time till 31st of Jan 2013, which was the start of my maternity leave. I took one full year of ‘mat leave’ and then asked my boss if I could take an additional unpaid year of mat due to problems with both my son’s and my health. He agreed. He kept me on payroll without wages but thanks to that, my employment continued – I had no idea then that for this year to count towards Permanent Residency (PR), I should’ve bought Comprehensive Sickness Insurance. I had and still have private health insurance but it’s not comprehensive. When I went back to work in Feb 2015, I worked three days a week till the end of March 2016. I then terminated my employment for various reasons and decided to stay home with my son until the 24th of Feb this year.
So although I’ve been here, living and working and as a stay-at-home-mum for nearly six years continuously, I can’t apply for PR. My husband can’t either, for different reasons, but I don’t have his permission to share his story so we’ll leave it at that.
My heart got broken on the day of the referendum results – I had never thought this catastrophe would really happen.
Still I hope it can be stopped somehow or that we will be leaving by summer 2018.