Borderline

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Selda Shamloo is taking the Home Office to court. Her mother, who’s Iranian, has been repeatedly denied a simple tourist visa to visit her. This is life on an ostracized passport.

Show Notes

Selda Shamloo is taking the Home Office to court. Her mother, who’s Iranian, has been repeatedly denied a simple tourist visa to visit her. This is life on an ostracized passport.

For many of us, our passport is a symbol of our wanderlust, a badge of our freedom. It’s been gathering dust for the past year and we can’t wait to get it out. But if you’re Iranian or from any other country at the bottom of the passport power rankings, pandemic or not, it won’t get you anywhere. The Passport Index ranks Iran 193rd, ahead of just Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Only four countries let Iranians in without visas at the moment, and those who require them, often simply don’t grant them. For ordinary families caught in the politics, it can mean years of anguish and administrative complications simply to spend a few days together. Shirin Shamloo hasn’t been allowed to set foot in the UK, where her daughter is a citizen, since 2007. And she can’t see why. 

00:00 Intro
01:36 A Tehran childhood
05:22 Leaving Iran and becoming British
09:37 A father’s visit to London
13:09 How to become a Borderline member
14:10 The first visa rejection
18:45 Reapply at your own risk
21:06 Taking the Home Office to court
29:50 The emotional impact of family separation
34:13 "Going back to Iran would be a second immigration" 
36:26 "A lot more people can understand my story now."

👀 Read the full transcript at borderlinepod.com
🎧 Related episode: Colin Yeo on the UK’s hostile environment policy
🎶 Music by Ofshane 

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What is Borderline?

Borderline is a podcast for defiant global citizens. It believes in openness, discovery and compassion. It resists outrage and seeks wonder. Prosaically, the podcast discusses geopolitics, immigration and lives that straddle borders. If you leave home to get home, Borderline is for you.