Tuesday, 7 November 2017
EU citizens' myths that should finally die a slow and painful death
As the tag on Twitter #500DaysInLimbo became our war-cry last night, I intend to repost (from my old blog) an article that has aged well, as in nothing has basically changed from when it was written 7 months ago up until now.
* * *
I had meant to write a list of this sort for a long time. Surely, it should be shared a lot online to actually make an impact, I hope my followers will give me a hand for this task. Many Leavers who are quite happy in continuing to be wilfully ignorant won't even bother to read it. However, some of them who have been genuinely misinformed should take note that they have been conned.
Because the Daily Mail, Express, May/Johnson/Gove/Davis/etc., have ALL an interest to make you believe otherwise. They don't want British readers to know. They want you TO REMAIN IGNORANT.
Remember something about history, now and forever: the elites have always used 'media' available at their time to convince the 'lower' classes that what the elites were doing was something right. This lasting long enough to allow them to get richer/more powerful until the lower classes are under too much strain and tired to be fooled, then they rebel. Many revolutions and wars started this way, just for your information.
So here's the list of myths about EU migration that should die, as quickly as possible:
"You're married to a British citizen, you'll be fine"
This has been a huge pile of nonsense paraded since the referendum. It makes me furious and unfortunately I haven't seen many trying to dismiss it.
British citizenship is a ius soli type of citizenship. It can be acquired by being born on UK soil (with some conditions, as nationality of the parents) or by naturalisation (there's also regulation for overseas territories but I won't go there as it is off topic).
Here are the main points cause of major misinformation:
a) "British citizenship cannot be transmitted to spouses of any nationality" (EU citizens included).
b) "The marriage to a British citizen does not offer protection of any kind nor it can confer a right to reside".
A EU citizen married to a British citizen need to obtain a Permanent Residence card as well as all the others in order to acquire British citizenship. Right to reside based on being the spouse of a British citizen DOES NOT EXIST (since 2012, courtesy of Theresa May's rule at the Home Office)
c) "British citizens are NOT included as valid sponsors in PR cards forms (the infamous 85-page form EU citizens are required to fill in if they want to get the Permanent Residence card)".
This point could likely change but there's even disagreement between lawyers about it.
d) "Being married to a British citizen offers a reduction of time to acquire British citizenship". This was the case until November 2015, when the immigration regulation for us changed. It's not 3 years anymore, it's 5 years; EU citizens also need to have Permanent Residence cards before applying for British Citizenship.
"You should get British citizenship, that should have been easy for you, you're educated and speak English well"
Apart from the fact that many countries do not allow for dual citizenship and many would lose their birth citizenship if they were naturalising as British citizens, I'm a citizen of a country (Italy) that allows it. However, the process to acquire British citizenship in the recent years has been so terribly disorganised and very expensive, that unless you are a professional who worked for many years in UK you will likely be rejected. I passed the Life in the UK test in October 2014, because I had been a UK resident for more than 3 years (at that time it was still possible to have the reduction for spouses of Brits). My application never went ahead because I was missing the second referee, meaning a 'reference from a person of social standing knowing me personally for more than 3 years'; the reference had also to be in English so lawyers or engineers I've known in Italy for more than 20 years didn't fit the bill if they could only speak Italian. Here the only people I know of social standing are all my husband's relatives and they are excluded from it (no relatives on each side can be used).
Since then, the Home Office moved so much the goalposts to obtain British citizenship that at present I'm even ineligible for it, as well as being ineligible for a permanent residence card.
This without even mentioning that you need about 1,500 pounds for a PR card plus British citizenship papers.
"You've been here for more than 5 years, you will have acquired permanent residence already"
There's no such a thing in UK, unless you have been continuously working for all the 5 years without a day off as unemployed (CSI requirement would cause your application to be rejected retroactively). I wish they were stopping to spread this nonsense on TV too.
If you refer to the 'big con' appearing on the government website, that's a ruse for EU citizens who just don't bother to read the PDFs of the forms and the guides. I've even written to MEPs highlighting this. It's there to fool people. EU citizens automatically acquire permanent residence in countries where they are registered from the start. In UK a register of that kind NEVER existed. Thus, the burden of proof of entrance and all that entails is on the EU citizen, not the Home Office as it is in other countries. If you haven't kept all records/papers during your permanence in UK (that could even be 20-30 years), you are not eligible to acquire permanent residence because you cannot prove it........
"You're self-employed, you will be easily confirmed as a permanent resident"
Eh, the Home Office doesn't give any guidelines for that in terms of income. Surely, if your income is about 100k a year, I'd say you won't have any problems. Many lower incomes won't be considered as providing self-sufficiency. It is advisable that anyone who's self-employed should consult a lawyer before even attempting to fill the forms in.
"You're not a EU low skilled worker, you will be welcome to stay" or "we didn't mean 'you' when we were speaking about 'those' EU citizens"
Ugh. ALL EU CITIZENS ARE EQUAL. Immigration laws are the same for everyone from all the 27 countries in EU. We are all bargaining chips, no matter if you are a surgeon on a 200k yearly wage or a minimum wage worker. Anyone who thinks differently (whether a EU citizen, Leaver or Remainer) needs to come down from Cloud Cuckoo. There are no EU citizens with special powers and unicorns and others without them. We will be all part of the negotiations on equal footing.
"Once you pay for CSI (Comprehensive Sickness Insurance) you'll be fine, right?"
CSI, the requirement actually blocking a lot of EU students/self-sufficient/stay-at-home mums and carers, has two issues connected with it: 1) if you take it out now, it doesn't cover you retroactively 2) the definition CSI is not very clear, meaning that unlike many other countries, Home Office doesn't provide list of official health cover insurers or things that should be included in the cover. Therefore, I'm currently covered by a health insurance for inpatient/outpatient treatment and I will get health treatment if necessary, but it doesn't allow me to apply for a permanent residence card because I was not covered in the past whilst I was studying.
"We don't want open borders like you enjoyed in coming here" or "many only come for benefits or to scrounge"
There's no such thing as open borders anywhere, those are just lies peddled to confuse uninformed people. Free movement has rules as well and if you don't find a job in a country, you either have money to survive or you go home.
I've also not spoken to many EU citizens who had to claim benefits. Sorry but all the people on benefits I have known in 7 years and a half were British born and bred. It needs to be added (thanks to Craig on Twitter!) that not claiming benefits has also meant for many EU citizens a rejection after applying for a permanent card. Because one of the requirements for a PR card is to 'genuinely seek employment' and that can only be demonstrated through registration at a job centre; but people who do not seek to claim benefits cannot register! Therefore, at the epitome of ridiculousness, anyone who has been on benefits has more chances to get a permanent residence card than someone who never claimed a penny from DWP.
"Many of the EU citizens in UK are a burden on schools/housing/NHS/etc."
Another stupid lie, this one also conflating EU citizens with illegals. If you are a Brit working in Italy you get access to schools, housing and Italian NHS as well. So? Just say you're xenophobic and hate forriners at that point, at least you're being honest.
"If you already got Permanent Residence, you will be fine"
This is tricky and not necessarily true. There is no indication, at present, that the Permanent Residence card, based on EU law, will be actually passed into UK law. Please take note that this will be subject to negotiations as all the rest concerning EU citizens. The fact that many are rushing to do it is of value only if it leads to the path of British naturalisation. In any other case, there's no guarantee of anything even if you have the card.
"If you don't like it, you can always leave and go home"
When someone tells this to an immigrant, it says more about him/her than the immigrant. There's no such a thing as upping sticks and going.... Anyone who prepares for a move or migration knows that it takes a long time to settle things and move, whether you are doing it from city to city within the same country or abroad. Things can also get quite complicated if you've a house, family, children, etc. etc.
It's stupid to suggest that people can realistically only have clothes to put in a suitcase and fly away unless they have just arrived somewhere. Plus, many immigrants in UK considered this country as 'their home'. Where the heck would they be sent back to, after 20 or 30 years? Unrealistic xenophobic rubbish!
If anyone has suggestions or anything to add to this post, please let me know. I'd say this is a 'work-in-progress' post where I want to address all the misinformation and nonsense about EU migrants (not refugees, another issue altogether!).
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