I Want My £1500 Back!!!

December 9, 2008

The Queen’s Speech last week contained the government’s proposals regarding yet another new immigration bill.  Apparently, immigrants must now “earn” citizenship, and if we volunteer and don’t have a criminal record, we can get citizenship in as little as 6 years.  If you don’t volunteer, it may take as long as 10 years.  At the moment, people on work permits have to be here for 5 years to qualify for citizenship.  People on spousal visas have to be here for two years to qualify for unlimited leave to remain and after an additional three years can apply for citizenship.
And after you are a citizen, you STILL can’t access benefits for another 1 – 5 years.

Also, there was a suggestion that people who are here on family visas, whose relationships have broken down will be asked to leave.  Right now, if your marriage breaks up during the two-year limited leave period, you have to leave, but not if it breaks up after you have unlimited leave (hence the use of the term “unlimited”).  I wonder if this means that you  now will be deported if you divorce during this period.  This would mean that you would have to be married for up to 10 years before you’re “safe”.  Now, I intend to be married forever (touch wood) but a lot of marriages break up within 10 years, and often these marriages have produced children.   How is that custody arrangement going to work, if Mom lives in the UK and Dad lives in Australia?   What happened to the “family-friendly” Labour government? 

Plus, how is this going to impact the No Recourse campaign – it sounds like there might now be No Recourse for up to a decade!! (But Jacqui Smith is a feminist!!  Really she is!)

Interestingly, this is NOT what last year’s green paper said.  The idea of “earning” citizenship was in there, but the government was actually going to force people to apply for citizenship after three years.  Obviously there were serious issues with this plan as well – what would people from countries that forbid dual nationality do?  Plus, it was pretty obvious from the paper that the government was hoping that holding citizenship would make people feel “British” (whatever that means) rather than having to make an actual effort to improve social cohesion, say by not appointing an immigration minister who manages to say something racist every time he opens his mouth.  I can only imagine the recession meant that scapegoats were needed, fast, and the spectre of immigrants stealing “our benefits” was impossible to resist.

Finally, the government is going to raise a “levy” on migrants to pay for our impact on local services.

  • It cost me £135 to apply for permission to get married – yes, you need government permission to marry a non-national in the UK.
  • It cost me £500 to apply for limited leave to remain at the Liverpool office.  I could have applied via post for the “low” price of £350, but that takes 4 – 14 weeks, and the government holds your passport during that time, and if they lose your application it’s your fault.
  • It will cost me between £500 – £750 pounds to apply for unlimited leave to remain when I am eligible in 2009.
  • Additionally, if there is a charge for the “life in Britain” test, I will have to pay that.
  • I will have to pay the cost of a “national identity” card.
  • When I apply for citizenship, I will have to pay the fee for that, which is currently £750, and will undoubtedly be more by the time I can actually apply.
  • In addition to all this, I pay taxes on my income, and I pay council tax. 
  • I am not eligible for benefits, so while everyone is worried about the credit crunch, I do wake up nights terrified of losing my job.  We can’t live on my partner’s income alone, and the government is quite literally happy to see me starve.

There is no way that the hour I spent in the Liverpool office cost the government £500.  So, I have to ask:


Even if I never apply for citizenship, it will have cost me upwards of £1500 to marry my partner and for us to live in the same country.  And the government is already getting all of my tax money as well.  Study after study has shown that the average immigrant actually contributes more money to the government than the government spends on her.  So the government is already profiting from immigration.

I want my money back!


One Response to “I Want My £1500 Back!!!”

  1. […] weighed and the fact that changes are being enforced across the board is a mere coincidence. Gwen outlines some of the cases: Apparently, immigrants must now “earn” citizenship, and if […]

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