Published by Daily Mail
Any right-minded person will be robustly in favour of the Government’s measures to reduce illegal immigration. Our resources are stretched, community cohesion is fraught, and our infrastructure is creaking, especially in the south-east. Some of the Government’s policies are frustratingly measured and incrementally tedious, but any workable policy which can help stem the tide of the thousands of foreign murderers, rapists and thieves who freely walk our streets is to be welcomed, especially if it can eradicate the formulaic appeals to ‘human rights’, and specifically those to the ‘right to a family life’.
Parliament is, of course, no longer entirely sovereign in these matters, and cannot be as long as there is cross-party consensus on the infinite beneficence of the European Convention on Human Rights, and blind obeisance to the activist judges who meet in conclave to dispense their infallible judgments as though they were discerning and developing sacred writ.
The Convention was incorporated into UK law by Tony Blair by virtue (or vice) of the Human Rights Act 1998. So now British judges are mindful that an Italian rapist with a British girlfriend is tied by ‘family’, and so on. And they are free to remain indefinitely in the UK, at Her Majesty’s luxurious pleasure and the taxpayers’ obscene expense.
Home Secretary Theresa May is doubtless trying her hardest within these meddling statutory confines and legal limitations. She is clearly very much in favour of policies which foster British allegiance, encourage greater integration, and which ensure that immigrants can speak a Year-6 level of English. But her latest proposal to limit the number of non-EU nationals is arbitrary, banal and embarrassing.
She intends to prevent British nationals from bringing their foreign spouses and children into the UK unless they have an income of precisely £18,600 or more. The threshold rises as children are involved – to sums in excess of £30,000. Her reasoning, quite simply, is that non-EU immigration should limited, thereby mitigating claims for income-related benefits.
Setting aside for the moment those millions of EU nationals who will remain perfectly free to come and go and marry as they please, what of the British nationals who fall in love with a Russian bear or Thai belle but are unable to establish that they earn above the necessary threshold? Is the Home Secretary really proposing that the love of a wealthy stockbroker in Gerrards Cross is of greater worth than to that of a shelf-stacker in Hull? Perhaps it is economically, but since when did Mammon trump the God of love? Under the proposals, if either the stockbroker or shelf-stacker were to marry their foreign-born partners, both would be given the choice of indefinite ‘exile’ (presumably in Russia or Thailand), or face a life of loneliness. Except, of course, that your average resident of Gerrards Cross would be more than capable of finding the necessary sum; remortgaging their million-pound house if necessary. So we have a Conservative-LibDem immigration policy which actively reserves love for the wealthy.
And what if you’re earning £18,600 on the day you apply for your spouse to join you, but happen to lose your job the following day, week, month or year? Is the right to residency then withdrawn? Can it be retrospectively revoked? And what if you’re self-employed? Will you have to provide three years of audited accounts? Audited by whom? Accredited by what financial body? Is this process not manifestly vulnerable to fraud? It must surely be as easy to find and bribe an obliging short-term employer as it is to find a Church of England vicar who is prepared to preside over a sham wedding in exchange for a generous donation to the church roof fund.
Presently, some 53,000 family visas are issued annually by the UK Border Agency. It is estimated that between 45% and 60% of these do not earn above the requisite minimum income requirement proposed. These will include ‘high-value’ migrants – those with exceptional talents like entrepreneurial skills or whatever other categories are occasionally deemed necessary to the economy. While the ‘white collar’ employee is likely to be earning well above the national average income, others will be unjustly separated from their wives or husbands until they’ve reached the magic £18,600; and their children won’t be able to join them until their salary has soared. It’s not very family-friendly, is it?
And low pay is one thing, but what of the British graduate studying in Syria who falls in love with a disabled man or woman? What of the British soldier who falls in love with an Iraqi woman with three orphaned children? What of unplanned pregnancy or other unforeseen circumstances which might suddenly tear a family apart?
Will not the effect of this absurd bureaucratic policy be to force low-paid Britons to emigrate if they want to live with a non-EU loved one? Does that not constitute some sort of socio-economic cleansing? And what of the bankrupt Greeks? The impoverished Irish? The indolent Spanish? What on earth is this Government hoping to achieve by telling Pakistanis and Indians that their spouses are not welcome, while the back door is left open to those thousands of continentals about to flood in as the euro collapses? Is love amongst EU nationals really of greater moral worth and ethical validity than love amongst Asians?