If you really care to know about immigration, ask an “immigrant”

Apologies for the soapbox, this isn’t about politics, but about people – people like so many of our great-grandparents who came through Ellis Island or other ports of entry. Hopefully some of this immigrant’s experiences can help to dispel some myths:

The mindset which demonises immigration is so destabilising to everything democracy stands for.
Being one of those “immigrants”, I feel it important to share the experience and hopefully dispel some myths:
My wife is from the UK, I am from the US. We moved here 4 1/2 years ago to support/assist with her family and her ageing parents. Every 30 months, we have to re-apply for my family visa. The cost for each 30-month re-application process is roughly £5000 to £8000 with a substantial part of that fee an NHS surcharge (this is in addition to PAYE deductions). The application is 70+ pages (it grows every time) and requires a massive amount of supportive documentation (requiring all originals and often 20+ years old). We cheerfully accept all of this as a consequence of our commitment of our lives together as we’d lived in the US for 10 years prior and had a somewhat similar process there for my wife’s. We respect the overall process, we accept its costs and its complexities.

Our business brings quite a lot of money into the UK, we don’t displace UK workers, we don’t claim benefits, yet literally every day my wife and I live in fear of the next visa application being rejected because someone behind a desk is having a “bad day”. This results in working doubly hard to integrate oneself into society and to invest oneself completely into this adopted place now called “home”.
Ironically, it’s a human necessity that we all take the definition of home for granted as it is our lives and our harbour from life’s occasional stormier days. Yet, if someone knocks on our door and says “you have to leave …….” (and I ask that you please think very deeply about this and really take the time to truly imagine it), imagine becoming completely divested of your home, your business, family pets, automobiles, furnishings, tools and most of all, your family. And if you and your spouse are of different nationalities, what are they to do? What are they left with?

So this is my family’s personal example and I apologize for the details, but feel they are relevant to illustrate an “immigrants” experience. On one hand, these people from away are working doubly hard to integrate themselves, but on the other hand, the goal posts are shifting so fast with callous and frequently deceitful indifference based mostly on easily marketed, political hot-topics.

We must recognise the lies and demonising for the evil that the attached posting reflects and combat it with facts starting with our shared experiences as the most genuine validation of truth:

For example, as Family Leave to Remain visas state directly on the document;

“NO RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS” (though I personally never have in my life and never would never seek them anyway).

Again, we went through this as well with my wife’s processing in the US and although the forms and protocols are different, the policies share similarities, so unless fraud is being committed (and I believe that most people who undertake such a massive upheaval, are trying hard to build new lives and be productive contributors to society), the majority of crimes to be most watchful of are those of misinformation and ignorance.

So again apologies for the soapbox, but ask that you be wary and be truly informed before closing your door to others.

And if you really care to know, ignore the hyperbole, go to the source and ask an immigrant.

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