Saturday, July 17, 2010

Living in the UK

I was browsing Google today, looking for a government website that would show UK visa requirements. In view of the recent decrease in the percentage of "traditional" British in the UK, I wasn't sure if you actually required visas, but I looked.

I found a site that specialized in helping people emigrate from other lands to the UK, and it said it could help with visa knowledge, so I perused the front page of the site and here is how it started out:

"The United Kingdom is an exciting country which you can truly enjoy for a short visit or for a longer period if you decide to enroll in a course of study, work or even settle here."

Well, ok. I guess becoming a student is a pretty broad hint on how to stay, and, since the author used the word "here," I am assuming the article in question was written by someone who lives "here" in the UK. It continues:

"The country is experiencing a booming economy and has built a strong reputation for its diversified and cosmopolitan life attracting people from all over the world. There is a mix and match of cultures with more than 50 nationalities and as many as 300 different languages. As such one cannot help but feel welcome to live there!"

Here, I began to sense the author's main audience was perhaps not your average protestant descended from William the Conqueror. Also, the last word was "there!" so I began to lose my confidence the author lives in the UK after all. I have resisted the urge to add any punctuation in the quoted parts. After all, it would be American punctuation, anyway.

Here I must admit candidly that a lump was rising in my throat as I considered the 50 nationalities and 300 languages, and I began to consider starting a petition drive to move the Statue of Liberty over to Canvey Island or environs: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse from your teeming shore..." Like that. Especially with the booming economy, don't you know.

As I still hadn't been edified as to how wretched refuse obtain a visa, I continued to read on:

"Population Growth Led by UK Immigration" was the next subject heading. "Really?," I thought.

"... the population has grown by 394,000 in the span of one year. It seems that growing birth rates within the UK have been... due to a larger amount of migrant mothers are of child-bearing years and are already established enough to start a family. At the same time births to UK born mothers continues to fall... "

Once again, I think, thank GOD for that booming economy.

Okay, let's just pause a moment between visa prelude tidbits to indulge our cynical and sarcastic American self, says I. Let's run some of that through my auto-skeptic translator:

"... migrant mothers are of child-bearing years..." (Over age 12, eh?) "... and are already established enough to start a family..." I am guessing this means that "migrant" mothers have denied themselves until they have finished university and have an executive employment. In the U.S.A., "established enough" would mean they own their own cardboard box under the bridge and have signed up for food stamps. Not so in the booming economy that is the UK today. I had always thought "migrant" meant they move around seasonally and might leave the country again, well-established or not. Silly me. No, they don't ever leave.


"The United Kingdom Government is set to change immigration policies in order to better sustain both UK nationals and future immigrants."

Well, golly. Is that a pretty sentence, or what? Let this poor blogger translate this into base Americanese for you:

1. "The United Kingdom Government" means "MPs who are scared shitless of being voted out of office."

2. "Change immigration policies" means "cut off immigration, and cut it off damn fast."

3. "Better sustain UK nationals (that's you) and future immigrants" means "appease the masses until we can come up with a real idea but you can forget about the future immigrants part in any event." Comprende?

Here old Max leans back against the doggie wall and takes a couple laps of beer from his dish and conjures up an image of England having Mexico on its border instead of Wales. But it probably wouldn't matter, what with the booming economy.

FINALLY, the article begins to talk about visas, although I think they have been preparing me for the worst.

"The UK government is currently working on setting up a quota to cap annual immigration to the UK from April 2011 onwards. The cap would affect those skilled workers coming from outside the European Union. In the interim, a temporary, smaller cap is proposed to come in to effect on July 19, 2010."

Obviously, I am not going to learn about visa requirements on the website, so I give up. But right underneath that last paragraph, I swear to God, is a wide banner advert that says, "Skilled Workers Wanted: Live and Work in Sunny Australia." And it shows scuba divers exploring an undersea reef.

Sometimes you can't make this stuff up.

Update: After reading this post over again, I can see where some readers would take the opinion that I am anti-immigration, and generally a smartass curmudgeon. The latter is probably true, but I am not anti-immigration. I am in favor of controlled immigration. I only want to point out the irony of the ineptness of most governments (not just the UK's) in handling the issue of immigration fairly and sanely.


  1. Brilliant!
    The internet and facts!

  2. Afraid I won't make the cap in time. It'll still take me years to convince the hubby to move to Great Britain, and by then I doubt they'll let me in.

    Unless, of course, I'm rich. I'm already too old to be a migrant worker. Better get working on the rich part.

  3. It's interesting that you chose that particular map, and not one slightly further south showing Dover which must be one of the main points of entry after the main airports. There is an "Immigration Removal Centre" in Dover, housed in a historic fortress owned by English Heritage. I keep wondering if they do guided tours.

    Did you hear the story of the people arrested for trying to smuggle two illegal immigrants OUT of the UK? They thought the economic situation was too bad to stay here.

    But your map does remind me that once upon a time I was working with an organisation which placed students with companies for a year's work. I can remember one company on the Isle of Sheppey, where few students were enthusiastic to go because of its bleak location. On one fairly horrific occasion, one of the students was arrested at dawn on that very Island. Apparently her papers were not all they seemed.

    I'm not surprised the article you read was vague because quite frankly the rules were incredibly difficult to interpret, kept changing, and if you phoned the authorities to for clarification, they were often unhelpful at best.

    So there you have it, my post within a comment. Sorry.

  4. @Adullamite - I am. It was. Thank you. :)

    @Shakespeare - They'll let you in. They let everybody in. They would even let your sister in. :)

    @A. - Well, I chose that map because ti is the Thames Estuary and it shows the island I am sending the Statue of Liberty to. It would be ever so great if you would read some of my posts. :)

    Well, I'm not really trying to get a visa, only trying to find out how to get a visa and got sidetracked. But I may change my mind, what with your booming economy and all. Actually, I have a feeling this website was really a place for would-be immigrants to contact for help for money. Like that. The seemed pretty happy about the 300 languages, anyway.

    And there is your post within a comment post. :)

    It's great to see you typing again.

  5. @A. - I AM sorry I cropped the map too far north.

    Dover - the Ellis Island of Kent, eh?

  6. The Statue of Liberty would look splendid on top of the White Cliffs. Canvey Island would sink, plus it's many a long year since any immigrants have sailed up the Thames. Or paddled. Or anything. It might be even better at Heathrow, between the runways or on top of the control tower.

  7. The Statue of Liberty should be placed at oh..... all over England, at motorway service areas, roadside parking spots, everywhere that the determined folk, who've concealed themselves in trucks that have passed through Calais, disembark, and run.

  8. Yes, that was the point, though tongue-in-cheek, that the UK has supplanted the U.S. as the haven for the wretched refuse yearning to breathe free. The statue is not really as easy to transport as you seem to think, though, so I'll just put it in the Thames estuary. :)



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