Kaden and Alima's story

Kaden last saw his daughter Alima when she was 12 years old. Their life in Iran was very different to the situation they find themselves in now. Kaden lives in the UK and is studying English, he’s been here for 6 years and hopes that soon it will be good enough for him to find work as a fitness instructor. He currently lives in a small carefully decorated flat on a quiet suburban road. It won’t be big enough for both of them but he’s making arrangements to move. In readiness for Alima’s arrival everywhere has been cleaned and there are fruit and sweets laid out on the coffee table. He’s prepared a meal of traditional Iranian dishes for her when they get back from the airport.

They’ve kept in touch through Skype and messaging. It sounds like there have been a lot of tearful phone calls in anticipation of her journey. He hasn’t slept all week in excitement and anxiousness about her trip. ‘There’s lots to do for Alima when she arrives’ he tells me ‘She’s very clever’. She’s finished school in Iran and he plans to enrol her in the college he attends so she can begin learning English quickly. She wants to study Graphics, a course not available for her in their home town but one she should be able to access in the UK.

Children lose their status as a ‘dependent’ family members at 18 and Alima was granted her visa four months before her 18th birthday. If it hadn’t been granted this time she would have lost her right to come to the UK via the family reunion route permanently.

Kaden’s friend joins him for the trip to the airport. They met when she first came to the UK and didn’t have enough English to enroll onto her language course. Kaden was called to come and interpret for her. She’s very excited and comments on the changes he’s been making to the flat.

At the airport we wait nervously by what turns out to be the wrong arrivals exit. Kaden’s friend takes lots of photos and videos of him waiting and he gets embarrassed and pretends to hide behind the flowers he’s brought for Alima. When we spot her there’s a short pause and he approaches her. She immediately starts to cry and they share a long hug. Kaden introduces her to us and she smiles, looking a bit overwhelmed. On the journey back home there’s lots of excited chatting and phone calls being made to friends and relatives.

“I don’t know how to say or what to say because it’s really really helpful and so kind of you.’

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