It’s not just Paddington bear who faces a tougher time hanging out on the island that is Great Britain. Another BBC article, another list of immigration “reforms” meant to keep the non-English out of England. Highlights include:
- Shortening the visitor visa from six months to three months
- Requiring payment of one thousand pounds (GBP) for family members who wish to visit loved ones in Britain.
- Note that these are in addition to previously announced “reforms” (quote from the BBC article):
- The government has already announced other changes to the visa system which Mr Byrne described as the “biggest shake-up of the immigration system in history”. They included a points-based system for economic migrants and the tightening of procedures for people bringing spouses into the country.
It’s not just me, right? This really reeks of xenophobia. I know I have complained previously along these lines as I have discovered the many ridiculous rules for non-EU persons living in the UK; my favorite is still the one where I would have to get home office permission to marry. I guess based on the point mentioned above, I would also have to do some fast-talking to marry back in America and then bring a spouse back “home” with me to the UK.
I know that immigration law and reform are hot topics in many countries, my own native America included. There are many places in the world that people would like to leave for very good reasons, and there is certainly no question that wealthy, developed countries cannot afford to take in all of the potential refugees and migrants who would like to enter their countries. That said, I really do feel a substantial difference in my experiences in the UK and America. In the US, even though I was from the midwest, I had friends of many races and cultural backgrounds, truly representing the great “melting pot” that is America. In the UK, at least where I have been for the last year and some change, I know mostly English, Irish, continental EU types (especially French and German), and other Americans. I find that in general the diversity is underwhelming, and it’s becoming something that I miss about America–even about Minnesota. Continuing BBC reports on the clamping down of immigration policy (for political reasons, apparently) is a hint at the greater problem of poor integration of the non-English already in Britain. It’s hard to see how things could improve any time soon.