Danielle Duchesne is a Kiwi who has recently been booted out of the UK after her two-year visa ran out. Her friend Louise Baker, also from New Zealand, is still in the UK but only has a year left. “The past year has gone by so quickly and I know the upcoming one will go even faster…” she laments (see over the page for her story).

They are desperate to gather as much support as they can for Boris’s campaign, even starting a Facebook page under ‘Support UK Visa Changes for Kiwis and Aussies’. They are looking to get as much support as they can, hoping the united voices of Australiasians backing Boris’s policy will help make it happen. 

“Not going to lie, it feels like I’m going through a bad break-up. Sorry if that sounds dramatic, but it does,” says Danielle, who was forced to return to New Zealand in October this year.  

A contemporary dancer, she moved to London as soon as she finished school having visited the city alone during a summer break travelling Europe. “I fell in love with the city, the dance, and the energy. So on October 14, 2012, a friend and I flew out ready for an adventure. The moment we landed, I knew this was the right thing.”

Danielle did however struggle with progressing her dance career at first, instead taking reception, restaurant and marketing jobs before qualifying as a personal trainer. After a rollercoaster two years, she really started to feel settled.

“In my last few months, I found myself in the right head space to really push forth with my aspirations to dance, while maintaining a role in the fitness industry. I had also connected with so many wonderful people, and was in no way ready to say goodbye. Most of all, though, I had fallen completely in love with the city. I had a life in London that I was not ready to let go of. Leaving when the choice isn’t yours is a whole different ballgame, and I don’t think I’ll ever really let go of London.” 

Indeed, it’s only been just over a month since she’s left and Danielle is already longing to get her old life back: “There are so many little things that I miss about London: pockets of beauty in and among a big and crazy mess; I miss the energy of the city, the beauty of it, the parks, the cheeky picnics and drinking; the dance classes, my fitness classes, the bustling way of life; tapping my Oyster in and out of Tube stations, the Hammersmith river, the night buses home; Shoreditch cafes, Southbank, the moments when you realise you’re living in this amazing city… the list could go on.”

So when Danielle heard about the new push for bilateral visa mobility zones, she knew she couldn’t just sit back, wishing she was back in London and waiting for something to happen. “Even though we are just two people, it feels good to try to do something. I have reached out to radio stations, a few magazines, and we are now in the process of presenting a report to MPs in London asking for their support so we can then push forth if we get a good percentage backing this. 

“I feel my usual fire coming back to me, with the idea that the more positive energy we put out regarding this, the better our chances of getting that positive bounce right back – it’s only physics!” 

And if their hard work pays off, Danielle will be the first on the plane back to the UK: “I can’t wait for the moment that I can feel the wheels touchdown in London, but this time without an expiration date.”

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If you would like to share your view or personal story, get in touch with the editor at caroline.garnar@tntmagazine.com

Louise Baker arrived in the UK last October and is already desperate to extend her stay…

“When I made the big move it was definitely a tough one, and London living was far more expensive, busy and overwhelming than I ever could have expected. It took me at least six months to settle in and find my feet, with lots of challenges popping up along the way. 

“I am currently living with an awesome couple, also from New Zealand, in a lovely flat (finally) and making the most of everything London has to offer including very convenient travel opportunities. As with many of my peers I am finding myself falling more in love with London every day and I  can’t see myself being ready to leave when my two year visa expires. I’m not looking forward to having to move somewhere and start fresh again when I have worked, and still am working so hard to establish myself here.

“I am a dancer and my primary reason for moving to London was to take dance classes, attend auditions and experience the dance/arts culture. Ideally I want to land a dance job, however it isn’t easy to break into this field, similar to other jobs in the arts.  It is often about who you know, not what you know. By the time I have built up my contacts and attended a sufficient number of auditions, it will be time to leave!

 “The past year has gone by so quickly and I know the upcoming one will go even faster! Dance is my life and although I still have another year here, it is very upsetting to think about going home and no longer having the same opportunities as others in the UK, to take classes, live my dream, and contribute back to the culture which is currently inspiring my passion!”

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If you would like to share your view or personal story, get in touch with the editor at caroline.garnar@tntmagazine.com

Peter Geddes is trying to help an Australian family with a profitable UK-based business from being deported…

If they are deported, they will lose the bussines and the employees will lose their jobs. They have invested many hundreds of thousands of pounds already into the business and the UK economy, so it makes no sense to deport them.

“The official reason the Home Office has given for them to be deported is that Andrew Puchy, the business owner, was late in filing for Permanent Residence Visa. The reason he was late in filing was because he had to go to Australia to recruit a new General Manager for his factory and buy new tooling. While Andrew was out there he had an accident and broke his kneecap, which needed surgery. Andrew was told he had to be in the UK to make the application for Permanent Residence. Although he was heavily medicated and in a great deal of pain, Andrew flew the long journey back to the UK against his doctor’s orders to apply for the Visa but was too late.

“Andrew and his family have lived here since 2008, running a business during the worst recession in UK history and just as they are starting to be profitable they face deportation. This is happening because David Cameron and Theresa May are trying to get the immigration numbers down. I really don’t think that investors into the UK from the Commonwealth is the right target, and I’m sure your readers don’t either.”

If you would like to share your view or personal story, get in touch with the editor at caroline.garnar@tntmagazine.com

One Aussie, who wishes to remain anonymous, is being forced to choose between leaving a man she loves or staying in a job she hates because of visa issues…

“I arrived in London 3.5 years ago, on the two-year youth mobility visa with the intention of staying 18 months to two years in the UK. After spending the standard six months or so settling in, I really started to get into the London lifestyle: Europe on your doorstep for weekends away with very little planning felt like such a luxury after living at home where trips had to be planned so far in advance due to travel times and cost etc.

“I loved the social life in London, everyone keen to go out for drinks and meals after work, the impromptu nights out knowing that no matter what, you could always get home on public transport somehow! It become addictive living in a city where you know there is always something to do, and always someone willing to do it, no matter what night of the week it is.

“From going to see Book of Mormon in the West End on a Monday night, to visiting Portobello, Greenwich or Borough markets on the weekend. I’ve loved the atmosphere, the busyness, the vibe, the shopping, the friends I’ve made (sadly many of whom have been forced to return home) and the moments when you start to feel like an actual Londoner. 

“From about a year in, I decided that I wanted to look for employee sponsorship, after a long story of a redundancy from one division of my company, I was sponsored by a different division, the holy grail to many a youth mobility visa holder. The sponsorship itself was a costly and time-consuming ordeal and it’s a rare find to come across a company willing to undertake it. In the time leading up to getting my sponsorship visa, I was thinking that I’d just like to spend another 18 months to two years in London, travel more of Europe and then head home, so it didn’t really matter that I didn’t particularly like my job. 

“Fast forward 18 months, throw in an English man that I’ve managed to fall very much in love with, plus multiple changes for the worse in my company and I find myself in a massive dilemma. The sponsorship visa is totally restrictive and effectively ties me to my employer as long as I want to remain in the UK, which is now a lot longer now than originally intended. Faced with the decision of remaining happy in my relationship but very much unhappy in my job, or giving that up to pursue a different career back home where I would have freedom to apply for any job, Boris Johnson’s proposed bilateral mobility zone between the UK and Australia/New Zealand would very much be a life changer for me.”