|thesilverspear ||07-05-2012 03:13 PM |
Proposed nasty changes to UK immigration laws
I am an international student here in Britain and have graduated with my PhD this year. I came intending to stay, all things going well, and even brought my horse across from the States. Over the course of my studies here, I have sadly watched the government become increasingly anti-immigrant and start treating international students as nothing more than disposable cash cows. When I started my PhD, there was a two year visa one could apply for after their studies which would give you two years to find a "proper" job or a spouse/civil partner. It was all pretty friendly. This scheme disappeared in April of this year. Now they want international students to pay exorbitant fees and then just bugger off afterwards. International students and academics bring diversity, money, and prestige to UK unis.
Then, to add insult to injury, in June the government announced that it would be changing the family immigration rules on July 9th. Under these proposed changes, a UK citizen cannot bring in a non-EU spouse or civil partner unless he or she makes over £18,600 per year. This disqualifies 47% of British people generally and 58% of British people aged 20-30 from settling in the UK with the partner of their choice. You think this might not affect you, but then it might. What if you or your son or daughter falls in love with one of your or their foreign classmates while at uni? I doubt he or she will make the income threshold as a fresh graduate. Or what if they are studying or travelling abroad and wish to marry a citizen of that country and then come back here? The right to a family and privacy should not belong only to the rich. "Immigrants" are not this dirty underclass looking to suck the life out of the British welfare state, no matter what rubbish Theresa May and the Daily Mail may spout. We are graduates, hard workers, we have come to love this country (for some reason; it doesn't seem to care much for us) and in some cases, the people in it. It's heartless. After six years of studying in the UK, I have developed a life here; friends, my husband, my pony.... Many others will be in similar situations or even have children.
This is going to create a "brain drain" and isn't going to help the country in the long run. Probably the opposite, as the smart people trained in British unis leave and perhaps, their British partners will have to leave, to go into exile with them.
As for me, my British husband does not make the income threshold but we have sent in our visa application, which will be reviewed under the old rules. So we should, fingers crossed, be okay. But thousands of people will be unable to do this. Should they be denied the right to have their families or worse, be separated from their families, due to Coalition's attempts to score political points against what is, lets face it, a pretty voiceless group?
The change hasn't happened yet. It will be discussed and probably (unless a big enough fuss is kicked up) implemented on July 9th. I'm just raising awareness however I can, as the media isn't. But if you think it matters, or if it effects you, write to your MP or post about it on Facebook or whatever. This is ridiculous, mean, not to mention in possible violation of EU law, and I am hoping someone in Westminster sees sense.