Travel service: Claude’s story

Claude arrived in the UK seeking asylum in 2002 but was only granted leave to remain (ILR) in 2010 as part of the case resolution directorate. He had not seen his daughter, Marielle, for 10 years by the time she was finally able to join him in the UK.

Claude started to work in 2010 as a security guard. It took him a long time to save enough money to be able to pay for the visa fees for Marielle to join him and they had to go through an appeal process. When the visa came through Claude did not have enough money to be able to pay for her airfare. It was high season and tickets were very expensive, around $1,300 (£810) to travel from Kinshasa.

He came to the British Red Cross and he was referred to our travel service. We were able to get Marielle a ticket for £374 just under half the price of a commercial fare. Claude says “I ask for other people with cases like me to come to the Refugee Welcome Trust. When she got the visa, Marielle said, “When will I come?” She had to wait for me to get money. I missed her for 10 years.”

Now Marielle is settling into life in Birmingham; “I was overjoyed when I heard I had the visa. I had to wait to come over. It was great when I heard I would be coming. The flight was easy. I was overjoyed to see my dad because so much time had passed. “