This project started out from curiosity about a form of Amnesty Act, the 14-year rule, in the UK.
The 14-year rule allowed overstayers to legalise their stay in the UK as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after a certain number of years,
which applied to a categorie of illegal overstayers. As I researched the topic, I found that there are multiple views on the rule.
In terms of ex-illegal immigrants, some are now satisfied with the rule but would never recommend it to anyone. In terms of British people,
almost all are against illegal immigration but do not know about the rule. The UK government, meanwhile, respects human rights but never
ignores illegal people. The topic is controversial due to its roots (human rights) and associated social problems.
There are two sides to this one subject. I attempted to explore this through presswork with transparency and reverse printing in my book,
and I tried to convey the hidden and real stories of the people who had been granted ILR under the 14-year rule as visual language.
I wanted to express the reality of the shadows and the other sides of the issue that are never mentioned through the media.
So, are illegal overstayers satisfied with their circumstances after being granted ILR in the UK? Which reasons make them stay illegally?
Could they be called ‘dreamers’, not ‘illegals’? Do they deserve rights and freedoms? Is the change to 20 years from 14 years reasonable?
Also, why should millions of illegal immigrants be given amnesty to stay in the UK? Why should millions of illegal immigrants be able to
continue to live and work in the shadows? What is the UK government’s and the people’s stance on illegality?
In order to conduct deep research into this, I met several solicitors and lawyers, and seven ex-illegal immigrants who had been granted
ILR via the 14-year rule. The seven people were asked to write down or draw anything based on my questions during interviews
in order to express themselves metaphorically. These interviews were held anonymously and some parts relating to the interviewees’
identities were deleted. Thus, all the following images, including the handwriting and drawings, were made by the interviewees themselves.
I neither support illegal immigration nor disagree with abolishing the amnesty in this book.
I would like to explore how effective the rule was as a form of amnesty in the UK, and how far the illegal immigrants who were granted
ILR under this rule were satisfied afterwards.