I’ve been seeing a lot of Twitter posts and the like from EU nationals who have been struggling with the horrors of navigating the UK immigration system, trying to obtain their permanent residence permits after decades of enjoying (largely) restriction-free stay in this country.
I am sympathetic to their stress and the torment of waiting for months without a passport for a response that may or may not bring relief. But there is another, less magnanimous, part of me that is thinking, “Welcome to the world the rest of us immigrants have been experiencing for years.” The stack of paper I submitted to the UK Border Agency from 2004 to 2013 probably fills an entire filing cabinet drawer, not to mention the ~£6000 they received from me for the pleasure of applying for visas, visa renewals, permanent residency, and naturalisation. Yes, those latter two are separate and have gigantic fees attached. Did you know you have to wait a year after submitting your permanent residency application before you can again have the pleasure of submitting your naturalisation application, which isn’t any shorter and is also even more expensive? Doesn’t that sound like fun?
I suggest*, therefore, the UKBA replace all of this absurd bureaucracy with some simple, realistic questions and a thirty-minute interview with a border agent. And so I give you:Immigration Tests, The Microlit Version
Refugee/asylum seeker: "Have you suffered enough for us to let you in?"
Entrepreneur/investor: “Are you rich enough for us to let you in?”
Highly-skilled worker: "Has someone else paid for your education so that we can reap the benefits?"
Low-skilled worker: “Sorry, no.”
Spouse: "Can you and/or your partner afford to pay for your love to exist?"
Aged family member of immigrant: “Can you or your children afford to support you? Actually, even if you/they can, the answer’s still no.
”* with a heavy dose of sarcasm