Okay, I am going to preface this one with the assertion that most people have no reason to know anything about immigration. After all, it’s not like they’re immigrants. Or migrants. Or refugees. However, as someone who has fallen under one of those categories (the first one), I am significantly less stupid about it than most people, at least, as relates to the United Kingdom (and a lesser degree, the United States and Canada).
However, the Average Joe is a complete fucking moron fuelled on lies and fear. After I moved here, I had people back in the States ask me why I still had a passport when I was no longer an American citizen. Um, yeah, moving to another country doesn’t magically grant you (or relieve you of) citizenship. It takes time and money; between my marriage visa, further leave to remain, indefinite leave to remain, residency, and citizenship, we were out several thousand pounds. And while the UK has a super-quick turnaround time (3 years resident for marriage, 5 for other reasons as compared to
10 for marriage in the US( see * at end) and longer otherwise), this was before I obtained my dual nationality. As for my American citizenship? I can only get rid of it by paying an asston of money. I’ve already paid an asston of money to get my British citizenship, but the American logic is ‘oh well there is high demand for it, so people need to pay a lot for it’. MAYBE there wouldn’t be demand if the US didn’t tax its citizens regardless of where they live in addition to whatever taxes they pay there. But yanno, as we’re all just traitors for leaving… ¬¬ *cough* I don’t want to get rid of it, but man… the current situation means that I can’t really innovate. I’ve got novels I can’t sell, I’ve got projects I want to make money on that I can’t, and I just… it sucks, yo.
But anyways, stepping aside from the cost of it all, and from the yawning empty stretch of the United States. Back to the United Kingdom. I was standing in line at the doctor’s office when I heard two old people in front of me chatting. Their subject came around to immigrants and them getting on benefits (welfare, for y’all in the States), and wasn’t that just a shame. I actually called them the fuck out for it, because hrmm… immigrants have no recourse to benefits. Hell, my British spouse didn’t claim things he could of before I was a citizen — just in case. As much money and time as it takes to get to the point of citizenship, folks in my shoes weren’t going to risk messing it up. Now, EU migrants have -some- access to things… the same sort of things that Brits can claim when living and working elsewhere. As for refugees, I don’t know much, but this looks to cover the basic information well.
You see, the government here is a pile of shit, and it got even shittier back in May when a bunch of fuckwits voted the Conservative party in as a majority to ‘punish’ their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats. Because Great Britain is an island, politicians go on and on about how there is no room when there is (mind, I like the Green belt, so I’m all about this instead), how immigrants are turning parts of the country into no-go zones (oh teh noes, only 87% white!!!!), and any other number of assorted piles of bullshit to punch down at people who don’t deserve it. I’m pretty fucking ashamed it took a dead boy on a beach to get people to change their tune on refugees, who yanno… they’re coming here because they have nowhere else to go. And don’t even get me started on the back of the line bullshit that Cameron is pushing for with only bringing in refugees who are still in Syria. It’s such a load of crap.
So anyways, the tl;dr — people aren’t coming to get on benefits and live posh lifestyles on the back of peoples’ tax
dollars pounds money. Compassion is a good thing, as is doing incredibly basic googling to find out just how much bullshit politicians have been feeding you (seriously y’all, most of the links I’ve included here took me seconds to find). In general, just… don’t be a fucking dick.
* I have been reliably informed that the path to citizenship via marriage to a US citizenship resident in the United States is shorter than 10 years. It takes somewhere between 8 and 12 months to get a Green Card (permanent residency), and then one is eligible for citizenship three years after that as long as they meet the requirements. So that’s four years, give or take for the quickest route.