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I would like to inquire as to what kind of assistance is available for voluntary repatriation to my country, Nigeria?

I’ve spent 14 years in the UK, worked-studied and even started a family here. Unfortunately due to a failed relationship and other factors such as my current homelessness (convictions... nothing serious, never been to prison but was fined and did a whole bunch of community sentences) I was issued a one stop deportation order by the Home Office. It said I could appeal but I have 28 days to leave the country voluntarily.

In light of everything that has happened to me within the last year and up to this point, I don’t even want to appeal it, I simply just want to leave and start afresh at home. The current hostile environment, the anti-immigrant bias Brexit has brought, my so-called criminal record, lack of financial status, etc. are key hindrances to any progression I could possibly hope for if I stay here. I had a dream, 14 years it’s not a reality and with that bitterness I just rather leave than continue to fight to stay in the uk. Long story short, I would like to leave on my own accord and simply can’t afford to do so. I was wondering what assistance programs might be available?

I have tried contacting airlines directly to see if they can “charitable spare” a seat on any flight heading towards Nigeria within the next 28 days. Nothing has come of this. I really don’t have friends or family I can rely on either here or in Nigeria and would need some kind of help to leave and perhaps something financial to help me the first month I’m there to have a roof over my head so one is not aimlessly walking the streets.

I really don’t want to be “deported” or have an enforced deportation process where my liberty is curtailed. May I kindly ask, what may be the solution/s? Please at this stage, nothing would sound outlandish and I am willing to try anything, I just want to leave peaceful with some iota of dignity. Any suggestions? I am extremely grateful for any input.

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    I have to say, I'm not sure that leaving is the right decision for you or your child(ren). Do check that you aren't clinically depressed before you make an irrevocable decision. – Martin Bonner Feb 6 at 15:41
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    @MartinBonner Many African countries are not th P’s hellhole they are portrayed to be. Being a west African immigrant myself I can say many times self deportation is a better option (particularly for educated persons) in the long term and preferable to the misery, uncertainty, hopelessness an undocumented immigrant with an order of deportation feels in the west. The west is no longer what it was thirty years ago for most African immigrants. – user 56513 Feb 6 at 15:45
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    @HonoraryWorldCitizen I'd say the same if the OP was talking about returning to Australia or America. The point is that both countries are not the country his family lives in. Losing that contact is a major loss. – Martin Bonner Feb 6 at 15:50
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    Have you talked to the Nigerian government? I also come from an oil exporting democracy with a corrupt government, and our state department has a program to fly citizens home when needed. – Harper Feb 6 at 17:46
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I'm sorry to hear this, and hope you find a way to rebuild in Nigeria.

The UK government has a scheme to help in just this situation: see https://www.gov.uk/return-home-voluntarily

Even if you think you do not meet the criteria on the website, I strongly suggest getting in contact with them, as they likely have some degree of discretion. Buying you a plane ticket will be less expensive than paying a security contractor to remove you.

  • This looks helpful! – Hanky Panky Feb 6 at 17:11
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    Thank you for your time and input. I came across this program as well while searching online. I have made an “application” to the home office and would hear from them soon (I believe). On the face of it, I don’t qualify as I wasn’t here illegally nor do I fit into any of the categories they listed. Having said that, it’s worth a shot and I applied. Let’s see how it pans out. I promise to keep all posted. – Martin Feb 6 at 18:58
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    If your stay is not illegal why are they telling you to leave? – Hanky Panky Feb 7 at 4:08
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    @HankyPanky if I invite you to my house, can I not tell you to leave if you behave badly? – DonQuiKong Feb 7 at 7:54
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    @HankyPanky It seems the OP has been convicted of a criminal offence. The UK may deport people under such circumstances. – Gremlin Feb 7 at 10:48
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I'm sorry to hear about your troubles.

This answer has a list of how long bans last. Two of the options are: "if they left the UK voluntarily, not at public expense" (I have reworded slightly), and "if they left UK voluntarily, at public expense". Hence it is clearly possible to get the Home Office to pay for your return flight.

I suggest you get in contact with them, there are probably contact details on the letter you received. Say something like "I am happy to leave, but I can't afford to buy a ticket. Can you help?" (I suspect they will be keen to help because it is a lot cheaper to buy you a ticket on a commercial flight than it is to charter a deportation flight, and both count as "one unwanted immigrant removed" to add to their total for bonuses/promotion.)

If you do this, you should ask about what impact accepting such assistance would have if you were to apply for a visitor's visa in the future (for example to visit your family).

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    The gentleman prefers to leave voluntarily without being detained and shackles and thrown on a plane like is normally done. – user 56513 Feb 6 at 15:42
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    @HonoraryWorldCitizen Further down the list of options is "Removed" and "Deported". I think you will find those are the ones where shackles are involved. – Martin Bonner Feb 6 at 15:51
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    Is the OP considered an "illegal immigrant"? I'm not even sure he's there unlawfully at the moment – Azor Ahai Feb 6 at 17:38
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    Martin, thank you very much for your very detailed response. While this whole event is life changing, I have carefully considered the alternatives. As I said earlier, I’ve been here 14 years, it’s no easy decision to just pack up and leave. Yes, there might be a “desperation” element to it but honestly speaking, on the scale of balance, maybe it for the best. Only time can tell. My mental health has been scared by this issue but no way am I going to be victimised by it. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have been here But sadly, Europe (uk) dint work for me, might for others. – Martin Feb 6 at 19:08
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    For clarity, I am NOT illegal in the UK. I am here legally, hence why I wasn’t arrested and given the opportunity to appeal my “one stop notice”. – Martin Feb 6 at 19:33
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You can get a one way ticket from London to Lagos for under £200.

Google Flights

You can try gofundme.com or the version you have in the uk.

https://www.gofundme.com/

I’ve seen gofundme raise significant funds for some ridiculous proposals way more outlandish than yours.

Being Nigerian unfortunately many people might default to thinking it’s a scam so you may want to get a non-Nigerian friend to post the gofundme appeal on your behalf.

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    Homestly, I would think "help me comply with immigration law and leave UK" should be cheerfully supported by the Brexit crowd. – Harper Feb 6 at 17:40
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    @Harper That's what I think. However many will think this is another Nigerian scam. – user 56513 Feb 6 at 17:50
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    The answer says you can get a ticket for 200 pounds, but the go.fund.me stated goal is 3000 pounds. Either the answer is very wrong or that could lead some people to suspect that it's a Nigerian scam. – Pere Feb 6 at 23:49
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    @Pere I don’t think it’s unreasonable. £3000 is not a lot of money to start life somewhere after 14 years away. – user 56513 Feb 7 at 0:49
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    @Martin, do NOT post you 'fund me' here. We are not a site that allows asking for money. It will be deleted and can get flagged as spam. – Willeke Feb 7 at 11:24

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