The impact on young people, whose parents are not allowed to work

The impact on young people, whose parents are not allowed to work

The agenda for the Government on young people is that ‘Every Child Matters’, but the problem is the ground is not level for every child in this country. Because for young people whose parents are not allowed to work it means they have limitations on providing for their families which means that the choices for these young people are also limited. It means that those young people cannot develop to their full. Even their social development is affected as well because, in the back of their mind, when they play with other kids or other young people they know they are not as equal as them. I think this has a negative effect on young people as they grow up. So to say that every child matters is not true, because some young people are being denied certain resources because their parents can’t work to provide for their children. They are having to depend on state handouts and the handouts are limited as well.

As soon as they finish A levels or college, regardless of how they have excelled in their studies, the law is you cannot access any university course because of the status of your parents. A typical example would be if a young asylum seeker wanted to do a course in say medicine, nursing, or physiotherapy. They can’t access that because the policy is that they can’t do that unless their parents have got the right to work here. While they are not accessing courses they want to do, they cannot work either, so they are just hanging there, doing what? That’s where the problem is. So what is the future for this child? What are they going to be doing for their future? Most of them are just forced to wait until the Home Office makes a decision about where their parents are going, either deported back or granted some status to live here or work here. Then the lives of these young people, which was on a limbo, they start thinking of moving on in terms of accessing university. But by the time they are going to university they are already behind, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years behind their age group, so their lives are affected for the rest of their lives. At the age of 16, 17, 18 the young person is quite mature to understand what is happening. It is very, very painful. Towards the end of A levels the friends that have been supporting them all along will not become very relevant to their lives now because the language will change, their aspirations are going to be changing because the rest of their friends will be talking about which university they are going to. They will become uncomfortable in that environment so they withdraw. They can’t be seen to be as happy as everybody else when things are not alright with their future. If they were used to socialising going to cinemas going say to the pub or just to enjoying themselves, I think it will take someone who is very strong to continue doing this under the circumstances which are unfolding that, whether you like it or not, you are going separate ways, you are not going to university. Academically you might be a good performer but you are not going to university because of the situation of your family. It means that they will also have to start looking for friends who are sharing the same scenario like themselves and sometimes that does not bring any solace at all.

I think it is a time bomb because a young person who is angry about their situation, they can easily blame it on others, and who knows hat they can do next. I think when we have a lot of young people whose future has been destroyed by the fact that they had no choice, they can easily turn against the system and they can easily turn against all institutions and that brings hatred in our communities. I think the system is not helping those young people to grow up as responsible adults in their communities, but it is actually alienating them from their communities and sooner or later the consequences will be felt, and they will be negative, and I think we will have problems in our communities, once we have young people who are being affected by a system negatively not to perform and achieve their life aspirations.

When a young person is growing they are emulating, they are learning quite a lot from their parents. I don’t know what lesson they will be getting when they see their parent is not working, is not providing for the family, but they just go to the post office to collect vouchers to buy food. Everything is being provided for by the state – accommodation and health care. I don’t think that is a very good example to any young person. If you are talking about hard work, being hard working and being responsible for yourself, if you are not allowed to do that, how then is the child going to learn about the importance of working hard to support yourself and sustain yourself?. So there are some lessons which these young people are learning and they are not happy with that as well because I think every child is proud of their parents providing, working hard to provide food on the table, not to be given for free. It is disempowering, not only to the parents it is also disempowering to the young people because they are not learning anything from what they see happening in the home. So there is no role model there. We hear a lot of scholars saying we get a lot of problem in the streets because certain ethnic groups have no role models. If the role models are supposed to be say parents or adults who are supposed to be working hard to show how it is done, and if their hands are tied, they can’t do anything, how are they going to be role models?. I don’t think when we talk of role models we are talking of role models in the streets. Its in the family. Role models start from within the family. I think it is important to start from the home, and if the home is broken because the family is not allowed to work, the family is not providing, the family is not allowed to excel, they are not allowed to use their skills to bring food on the table, the young people are not learning anything at all except that it perpetuates the dependence syndrome. Who knows how they are going to be these young people when they grow up?

The problems of drugs and drinking, they are all coming. They can actually be encouraged within this group because of this system of not allowing their parents to work. They are spending their time at home, doing what? Someone is going to say “Oh why don’t you try this to get over your stress?” Who can blame them for trying it when they are stressed day in day out?

I have been working with young people from all backgrounds in Teesside and I have seen how young asylum seekers whose parents are not allowed to work suffer because of the difference which they have compared to all the other young people, and this is what makes me, to be honest, angry because I see some young people being destroyed, their future being destroyed by a policy which I think is very, very unfair.

Once dignity has been stripped away from the parents, they cannot have control over their own children, especially when they are teenagers. They cannot provide for them and we see a whole host of consequences that we have to deal with.

There is untold suffering. Some of this, I am sorry to say, is now leading to some undesirable consequences for the entire community i.e there is a young man who has now drifted into drugs and picked up by police for ship-lifting on a number of occasions and it is going to take a lot of money maybe to bring him straight into the line.

So people will react in some cases in unacceptable manners. For example I have seen two young men who are in the hands of police now. Physically able bodied people who could have the right to work and work, but because they cannot do that they have been caught up by the police doing the wrong things. That is a problem in the community.