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
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders