2 February 2021: Yesterday, a representative from one the organisations that are a part of the Status Now Network told the Network’s regular Monday night Reference Group meeting about how they were trying to comfort someone whose friend has just died from Covid-19, and whose entire community is reeling with the depth and scale of their losses.
The person who died is in her late fifties. She came to UK about 20 years ago as a domestic worker leaving her child behind so that she could financially support him from a distance, which is common in situations of profound poverty back home. People become undocumented for many reasons and she too became undocumented.
Sadly she became infected with the Covid-19 virus whilst working as a live-in carer in December 2020, and moved to stay with friends because she was ill, until they took her to hospital in early January 2021 when she was becoming very sick. They have not been able to visit because of the restrictions in place due to the virus.
The news of her death was a shock to her family, friends and community.
What does this mean:
• a child has lost his mother, rarely seen but always supportive, and they have had no way of saying goodbye;
• the family back home is left bereft of a loved one;
• they have lost the income she was working to send them;
• back home, her body would be taken with dignity from the hospital back home, however far that was, but she died in UK, with no family nearby;
• people who have died of the virus are not allowed to be repatriated for burial or cremation and so she will be cremated in UK, and her ashes sent home;
• in all likelihood, the people she was looking after will be looking for another undocumented worker to take her place;
• communities are losing so many members, fearful of coming forward for testing or treatment because, as undocumented people they could be indefinitely detained in an immigration removal centre, or returned to their country;
• her friends in the UK are reminded – again – of how vulnerable undocumented workers are in the UK.
This is the StatusNow4All call:
We call upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in *Leave to Remain. In this way every human, irrespective of their nationality or citizenship can access healthcare, housing, food and the same sources of income from the State as everyone else.
*Specifically we are calling for Indefinite Leave to Remain /settled status, which, if granted, would stop this carnage.
This report was written by members of StatusNow4All Reference Group