We have spoken with one holidaymaker who has an interesting experience to share with regard to her exit and entry to the United Kingdom, via the UK Border Agency! This is a young woman with 2 children, one of whom was borne out of an earlier relationship. She advises that the earlier relationship was abusive which resulted in her having to move to a different part of the UK. She has endeavoured through her solicitor to create a legal basis for the relationship with her child and father, which he has apparently completely ignored. Her child retains her Father’s surname; she retains her ‘maiden’ name. In her own words, life moves on and she feels that she must create a ‘normal’ existence for her little girl. To that end she has been keen to ensure that her daughter enjoys the delights of having a holiday abroad.
It is interesting to note her recent experience of leaving and re-entering the UK. On leaving the UK on a recent holiday, she booked in for their flight online and on arrival at the airport; she deposited her bags via the ‘bag-drop’ facility. She was not questioned by the airline as to her movements with her child, nor was she questioned by security as they passed through; there was no sign of the Border Agency.
For her journey she ensured that she carried all the solicitors’ documentation, their passports and the child’s birth certificate. She was never asked for any such documentation on the outward journey, or in fairness, by the country to which they were travelling!
On their return to the UK, they passed through the Border Agency at the airport. For the first time they were quizzed about the child’s identity:
- Why has your child got a different surname to you?
- Is this your daughter?
- What is your daughter’s date of birth?
- Do you have permission from the father for her to travel out of the country?
- Where are you travelling to in the UK?
- Where do you live and who lives with you?
- Where is the Father?
Bizarre Questions? There has been much written about children disappearing or transported to foreign destinations – never to be seen again! But hang on, this is a holidaymaker who lives in the UK and has responsibly tried to deal legally with the issues relating to her daughter. These are UK citizens! It is clear from her experience that little or no checks were carried out on her departure from the UK, but on their return, they are subjected to the third degree! This was an interrogation of UK citizens entering the UK; surely this process should have been carried out during the outward journey?
My view is simple, if the UK is serious about protecting UK citizen children’s rights, then surely the correct way to deal with concerns that UK children are being spirited away from these shores, is to check the validity of their exit, rather than subject parents to an ‘interrogation’ when they return!
I am sure that there will be contrary arguments, but perhaps this is the time to recognise the contradictions and the difficult role of the Borders Agency!
I suspect that there are many ‘single’ parents with a similar tale to tell!
If you have been affected by these issues and require further assistance, then please contact us.