“I’ve been asked for my ID and I haven’t got an ID to show because I haven’t got my driver’s licence. I haven’t got a passport. It’s not fair. Why do I have to go though it?”
These are the words of Mayowa, an 18-year-old aspiring architect from south London, who spent over a year waiting for an answer on his application for leave to remain in the UK.
He was brought to the UK from Nigeria aged 10 by his mum, who abandoned him shortly after. Having not seen her in the last eight years, Mayowa was looked after by a family friend.
“I wouldn’t wish this lifestyle that I live upon anybody because it’s stressful,” he told legal charity Just For Kids Law, describing life as an undocumented person in the UK.
Without leave to remain, Mayowa cannot work, nor can he claim any student finance for a degree in architecture, or travel outside of the country.
There are around 120,000 undocumented children in the UK, according to an Oxford University study released in 2012.
“Whether I get a yes or a no [on my immigration status application] – it’s like climbing Mount Everest.”
Listen to Mayowa’s story in full here:
Just For Kids Law has launched a new podcast series called This Young Life, sharing the stories of young people struggling to stand up for their rights.
Future episodes are set to cover issues including the housing of families in independent accommodation, children in care, and school exclusions.