Fury at Border Agency over case of the Australian NHS therapist given just a few days to leave Britain

Mariam Miller has two masters degrees, and has lived and worked here for nine years

An Australian woman facing deportation after spending nine years in Britain working with vulnerable children for the NHS has become an online pin-up for the shambolic state of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) after sharing her experiences online.

Mariam “Harley” Miller, a 48-year-old specialised therapist who lives in south London, was given 28 days’ notice to leave the country by the UKBA after waiting years for a response to an application to stay. 

Despite the Home Office saying it wants to encourage highly skilled migrants in the UK, Ms Miller, who is a qualified systemic therapist with two masters degrees, has had her application to stay refused.

A posting about her experience on Facebook over the weekend already has more than 1,700 likes and been shared around the world.

She wrote: “I have been in this country for nine years. In the whole of that time I have worked for the NHS, in the child and adolescent mental health sector, helping young people of this country through sometimes quite severe mental health problems.”

She added: “I have also contributed in taxes that whole time. I have never been unemployed, I don’t have children and I don’t have a disability. In other words, I have paid my taxes but have never required, thankfully, to draw on benefits for anything. Ever.

“As of Friday, I was given just 28 days to pack up my house, my home, my life and leave. As of Friday, I am no longer allowed to work. Yesterday, I was formally dismissed from my job without notice or severance pay, after nine years’ dedicated to the UK National Health Service, reaching a senior position in which I was held in high esteem.”

Ms Miller did not want to publish the name of the NHS trust she last worked for while she has legal action pending, but a spokeswoman for it confirmed that she was no longer employed by them.

Born in Sydney, she now has only one relative in Australia: her 80-year-old mother. Speaking to The Independent, Ms Miller said: “I’m an only child, and my friends are my family and very important to me. That’s the hardest thing for me. I’ve been away from Australia a very long time. I’ve loved living in London and love the people here.”

Ms Miller’s real name is Mariam, but she is known to friends and online as Harley.

She came to Britain on a spousal visa with her Italian husband nine years ago, but when her marriage broke up in 2008, she told the UKBA what had happened and it wrote to her confirming she could stay until the end of that visa, which ran out in 2011.

She then applied for discretionary leave to remain, but when the UKBA got back to her two years later, it claimed she should never have stayed after the marriage ended.

Her solicitor, Christopher Bilmes, said: “I don’t think anyone at the UKBA has engaged their brain to deal with this; they’ve made decisions which are perverse. She’s been here a long time, is part of the community and is an asset to the NHS in a pretty specialised field.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “All applications are considered on their  individual merits and in line with the EU rules.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Reception Teacher

£120 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: An excellent three form entry scho...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher

£120 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A lovely primary school in the bor...

The Green Recruitment Company: Mechanical Maintenance Engineer

£11 - £18 Per Hour: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Mechanical Maint...

The Green Recruitment Company: Commercial Construction Manager

£65000 Per Annum bonus & benefits package: The Green Recruitment Company: The ...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'