In November 2008 I met the man who, to my surprise, turned out to be the love of my life. I was sitting on the floor at a party, probably slightly tipsy, probably chatting about something inconsequential to someone I recognised, when a tall, skinny man with a mess of curly black hair and extraordinary cheekbones came and sat on the wicker chair next to me, and said nothing. I spent the next three hours or so haranguing this quiet, bony man about what he was thinking and what kind of music he played on the accordion, and within eight months we were married.Ahhhh, isn’t young love grand?
Last week, soaking wet and waiting for a friend at Great Portland Street station, I got a message from my mum saying that the government are introducing English tests for non-EU nationals wanting to join their spouses in the UK. Panicked, I looked up the story on my phone. "I believe being able to speak English should be a prerequisite for anyone who wants to settle here," Theresa May stated. But it was when I read the words "it is a privilege to come to the UK, and that is why I am committed to raising the bar for migrants" that I felt myself starting to cry.Oh, and why is tha…
Basel is Palestinian and lives in Syria, where I was studying when we met. After our wedding last summer I moved back to the UK to complete my degree, thinking he would join me soon afterwards. However after three months of waiting, we learned that his visa application had been refused because although, as a student, I was financially supported by my family, I wasn't earning a wage.Well, how unfair!
In February we made a new application, and are still waiting to hear the outcome. We have now been living apart for almost a year.Somehow, my heart sdoesn't bleed like it should for this spoiled little madam...
The reason I got teary about coming to the UK being called a "privilege", is that throughout this whole ordeal, my right to be with my husband has been ignored.You don't have any such right. Not when you marry a foreign national. How did you manage to get through college (even such a one as SOAS) without learning that?
Contrary to what most people think, bringing a non-EU spouse to the UK is already very difficult.Oh, indeed. DK and Bella Gerens have recent experience of it, and it's not easy.
And nor should it be.
Seemingly reasonable criteria regarding income and housing are pedantically applied in an effort to, as the nice lady from immigration advisory service told me, "discourage foreign marriages". I proved that I had sufficient regular income, but this was rejected because it was from a third party.It's part of growing up, sweetie. Try getting a bank loan on the basis of 'It's OK, Mummy and Daddy give me pocket money'...
Requiring non-EU spouses to do a pre-entry English test will only make this painfully long process even longer.But there's good reason for it. And no, it isn't because the State is out to 'get' you and your man...
If integration is really the issue, then why not make English lessons mandatory once the spouse arrives in Britain? Extending subsidised English lessons (as Daniel Trilling suggested on Cif) may cost the taxpayer, but so does maintaining such a restrictive immigration system, a fact that no one ever seems to mention.And who's going to check up? The Language Police? I suspect that that would be just as expensive.
I can see Emily didn't major in economics. Just advanced foot stamping.
Such responses to Daniel's article as "a country has the right to choose the type of migrants it wants" lump married couples' pursuit of a life together with economic immigration. The latter may or may not be a "privilege", but the former is a right. I have the right to live in my country with the man I have chosen to marry, and the fact that we speak Arabic together, and that he isn't rich, and doesn't have a university degree, is no one else's business.Sadly, you don't have such rights, and it IS our business who comes through our doors.
After all, it doesn't sound very much as if your husband is one of those 'highly skilled immigrants' we are always being told we need, does it?
I am stunned that it is now seemingly OK to refer to "importing foreign wives/husbands", as if they were cows.I had to bite my tongue at that one. The retort I wanted to make would bnever have gotten through CiF's moderation...
The simple fact is that if Basel were British or Italian, we would not be apart. Our immigration system punishes people for falling in love outside of the EU, which raises profound questions about a society that claims to be modern, tolerant, and anti-racist.Oh, get over yourself!
If you wanted to be with your spouse, why didn't you move to Syria?
What a pukefest of an article, like a lefty Mills & Boon, there are some great comments though. My favourite ends like this.
"Why don't YOU move to Syria?".
Brilliant, that's nailed the argument.
She's going to have a shock when he eventually wangles a UK passport and she wakes up in an empty bed, as Basel is 'sampling' the other delights of British culture.
Immigration is a long drawn out process, and if you can't pay your way.......
As someone who is following the path trodden by other members of my family to Canada, I feel no such sense of entitlement. Just frustration at how long it takes because all the freeloaders have got in the way.
Oh, how nasty the state is for not supporting her and her husband. I was almost moved to crocodile tears.
I suppose the thought that if her husband becomes fluent in English he has a better chance of getting a job and thus be able to support himself (and perhaps her?) didn't cross her mind?
Or was she expecting him to live here at the taxpayers expense? Silly question!
This story much laughter make fall from my lips.
I am Palestinian also and lasso soup from when bed I get up to sleep time at the hour of stars.
Truly you are thinking like many things run free in our lands. Peace be near your navel and let you joyness light your face wrinkles.
Of course Miss Churchill could try living in Syria or Palestine - love conquers all after all!
While I can sympathise, I'd have to say that her life does not seem to have more than a smattering of reality intruding into the worldview.
Wait till she finds out the eye-watering sums of money involved as well.
What makes me want to puke is she was'commisioned' to write that article, I presume that means 'paid'!!!
If the daft bint wants to be with her curly haired lovehunk then I, as others here, suggest she mve to Syria!
All the way through reading that article I was planning to comment, "Simple, you move to Syria". Then I got to the end and found you'd already said that, along with everyone else.
Kinda sucks. I'll just have to go with, "Shut the F**k up little girl".
"If you wanted to be with your spouse, why didn't you move to Syria?"
Exactly Julia, exactly, could not have put it better myself. Possibly the best one line put-down since "Tell me what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?" if you don't mind me saying...
but he did have fabulous cheekbones and curly hair you beastly rotters. She sounds like a 21st Century Violet Elizabeth Bott
Syria. Go there. Of course it's in the Middle East, but you'd be willing to suffer that kind of hell for love, right? Think of this asshole's fabulous cheekbones.
EV, if she wakes up with only an empty bed, she'll be the lucky one. They usually find the handbag, jewellery box and bank account are also empty, but the credit card is unaccountably full.
Curly hair and fabulous cheekbones? No work or qualifications? Surprisingly without a current girlfriend? Yes, well, I suppose it happens but I can think of at least two other explanations.
I have a certain amount of sympathy for her because migration is not a casual process and it's not unheard for the immigration mob to move the bloody goalposts when you're in the process of applying for a particular type of visa, forcing you back to square one. At least, it happens here and I'd be surprised if it doesn't in the UK too. And I tend to agree about language requirements - if she wants to be both wife and translator because her husband hasn't bothered to learn the lingo for the country he's settling in... well, forgive me if I don't buy a silver wedding present now, eh. But otherwise the only issue is that his lack of English will give him problems getting work and mean he's more likely to have to live off the taxpayer. That is what the English requirement is supposed to help prevent, though as long as the UK will take anyone who's learned the word 'asylum' and will accept piss weak claims that the asylum seeker was once threatened with a Chinese burn stopping a handful of migrants with poor English is going to be like stopping a flood by throwing a small sachet of desiccant into the stream.
Anyway, if you could remove the issue of him being a potential drain on the taxpayer his language skills would be irrelevant. If visa applicants were told that the border was open but the benefits office was shut, and would remain shut to them for, say, five years or after they've paid tax for a certain time, then really, who'd give a rip? If he wants to come and learn English among natives, then fine. And if he wants to come and sit on his arse, also fine. Either way he's got to finance it himself. I suspect, as I've said many times, that when potential migrants all hear that the money taps have been turned off and turned off forever only the ones willing to chip in and fit in will still be interested. These are the ones a country should want to import regardless of their skills, because it's their desire to come and contribute that makes them valuable. You could leave the door wide open and very few of the rest will be inclined to come to where they can't survive and won't be spoon fed by the state.
Sadly the Libertive Conservocrat coalition doesn't seem any more interested in turning the money taps off than the morons who opened them in the first place. Until that penny drops language tests and other crude migrant barriers (Jesus, don't get me started on the idiocy of fucking quotas) are here to stay.
"She's going to have a shock when he eventually wangles a UK passport and she wakes up in an empty bed..."
I can't see this marriage lasting, personally. No doubt if it doesn't, that'll be the fault of the UK government too.
"As someone who is following the path trodden by other members of my family to Canada, I feel no such sense of entitlement."
I suspect Emily would. I think 'massive sense of entitlement' is her default state.
"Or was she expecting him to live here at the taxpayers expense? "
Perhaps she was expecting the Bank of Mummy & Daddy to finance that too?
"...I suppose it happens but I can think of at least two other explanations."
Oh, we're a cynical bunch! Or maybe we just have more world experience than the divine Mrs C?
"If visa applicants were told that the border was open but the benefits office was shut, and would remain shut to them for, say, five years or after they've paid tax for a certain time, then really, who'd give a rip?"
I think we'd still be an attractive prospect for those currently working for less than pennies per day.
"These are the ones a country should want to import regardless of their skills, because it's their desire to come and contribute that makes them valuable."
Unfortunately, that then ensures that our home-grown population of workshy have a cast-iron excuse of 'there's no jobs'.
Still not sure how you'd square that circle.
"I think we'd still be an attractive prospect for those currently working for less than pennies per day."
Yep, which is the point of the exercise. That they used to get by on pennies is only possible because the cost of living would have been pennies a day. You can't live on that in the UK. Nothing wrong with bringing in people who want to work for 50-60 quid a day in England instead of pennies in some third would hellhole... as long as they do want to work. The lack of free money combined with the high living costs of an industrialised country would make it very unattractive for those who intend to step off the plane with their hand out.
"...our home-grown population of workshy have a cast-iron excuse of 'there's no jobs'.
Still not sure how you'd square that circle."The excellent news for them is that a position has just become vacant in a third world hellhole. Only pennies a day but the cost of living is fucking cheap.
And I'm only half joking. But to be serious they say that anyway, so nothing's changed. Long term the ideal would be to do away with handouts for just about everybody who just wants to sit on their arses.
You also need to bear in mind the effect on the third would hellhole that's losing its pennies a day workforce to other countries with open borders. They'll have to pay better to ensure retention which will make staying put more attractive. Eventually there would be little to choose between the two countries in terms of the wages:living costs ratio and the net movement between them will fluctuate around zero. The caveat is that open borders must be reciprocal. Country A can be open to movement of people to country B if the same applies in reverse, but not country C if they're preventing it.
Why don't we instigate a work exchange system, where we send them some of our workshy, to work at the local wage plus say amonthly alowance from their 'old' benefits of ooooo...say £20, meanwhile we take on some of the ones who want to come here and we guarantee thema a place to live (the work shy's house) plus a monthly allowance of say oooo...half the weekly benefits the workshy would have got as long as they are in work as well earning a proper wage, for a year!
If after that time the employer can vouch for them and state that they have learnt English then they could be sent home, bringing our workshy back,with the promise that if their 'host' workshy did not get a job and off benefits within a year, then we would permanently swap them...sounds like a reasonable plan to me!!!!
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