I am the immigrant you want.
I didn’t come to this country to work. Or get free education. Or free health care (gods – I’d rather bleed to death in the street than go to a NHS emergency room again and that’s a whole other post). Or for any sort of benefit other than the opportunity to steal away from some Scottish girl the greatest, sexiest, hardest working, responsible, funny, dead smart, sexiest (sorry, but I really have to put that in there twice) man in the whole world. Tough luck, girls – you had your chance.
I came here to get married to a guy who even though he was a poor law student at the time was destined to become a high rate taxpayer for all of his working life. On this, our 18th wedding anniversary — while a bottle of Paxton (McLaren Vale) ’07 cellar door release Shiraz/Pinot Gris decants — I will waffle on a bit about this subject. Why? ‘Cause I have watched the immigration changes over the past two decades and it makes me sick, given what I had to go through to make sure I was not a drain on this society.
Believe me when I say that if it were not for the guy described above I would be out of this time zone on the first available plane.
Let’s set the scene first: This happy event – the marriage of a not yet fully grown Scotsman and an Irish-American with a bucket of since flung out feminist views — took place back in the days of student grants: something for which people like my husband are going to be paying back for the rest of his working life via the top rate tax bracket so don’t be thinkin’ it was all THAT great.
Before my first one-way trip across the pond I had to apply for a marriage visa and go to New York City to be looked over by the people at the British Embassy. I wore a very tight dress so they could see I was not up the spout. I borrowed a diamond solitaire so I would have the outward socially accepted sign of being engaged (which is why I wouldn’t wear an engagement ring now for all the tea in China). I had to prove up, down and sideways that I would not be claiming any sort of benefits once I got the UK. My future father in law had to write a letter saying that he would let me live with him until my husband finished university and got a job (at this point we did not have the married student grant yet but given my future husband’s grades we knew he’d get that plus a married student subsidized flat to rent). The minister performing the ceremony had to write confirming the date of the wedding.
Blah, blah, Roslin Chapel, blah, blah, deed done. Monday following the wedding? There we were on the step of the local registry office to get the paperwork sorted. Many raised eyebrows in Dalkieth that day. I think you have a month to get the paperwork sorted for the official license – according to them nobody had ever shown up in person so soon after the wedding.
Lovely scenic Croyden was our honeymoon location so I could get my one year temporary residency sorted out at Lunar House ASAP. They considered it suspicious that we were there with the marriage license less than a week after we tied the knot. They were obsessed with the fact we had no pictures. Himself had to sign a piece of paper (at a separate window) that said he was not compelled to marry me. He had to show his married student grant confirmation letter and I had copies of my USA credit card statements to show that we had back-up if we were not able to live on the grant for a year. I showed them my bank statements with three year’s worth of savings made in our three years of long distance dating – as well as the three years worth of letters between us.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that most people with wedding worries aren’t thinking ‘I could marry this guy and be sent home next week if somebody in UK Immigration doesn’t like the look of me’.
As regular readers know, my main job is and always has been looking after Himself and spending our money in a frugal fashion. We never planned that I would work outside the home. A change in career plans meant my Better Half wound up needing a bit more education (a Master’s degree) and training (three years while working at a Big Six Firm to become an accountant), which meant living in London. I simply could not let him shoulder all that on his own. So, yes, IWOM the legal immigrant – and by that time permanent resident — has worked in the UK, but only part time outside the home and only after asking each and every one of my future employers if they had looked for British people to fill the job first. Most of my work has been as a self-employed person – author, seamstress and teacher of obscure arts. My specialist niches (17th century raised embroidery anyone?) made it right in my head. Since nobody else was offering the services or goods I was, I was not taking a job away from a British person.
When I go shopping during the week (when hitching a ride to work with Himself because we chose to have one car) I can go the whole day without being served BY A SINGLE BRITISH PERSON. Our extremely high taxes go in a large part to supporting out of work British people who could be doing these jobs. The whole ‘we need immigrants’ attitude of the Government just does not hold. ‘We could use a few immigrants’ should be what they consider AFTER FULL BRITISH EMPLOYMENT. British people can work in retail or be janitors, hotel cleaners and any number of minimum wage jobs. Maybe you’ll need to work 60, 70 hours a week. If I hear one more person say they can’t live on what you make and they ‘have’ to claim benefits I might burst a vein somewhere. It. Can. Be. Done.
Yes, there is that whole sticky EU thing. But, British employers could make it tough for all these people BY HIRING BRITISH PEOPLE. If the EU people who come here find out how tough it is to get work, they will stop coming and more jobs would be available to British people. I have had many conversations about this with many of the good, salt of the earth native born people I am fortunate to count among my friends and they agree, though would never say lest it be considered ‘racist’. A lovely girl of my acquaintance who is a former worker for the local council says this IS a nation of scroungers despite what the lofty woolly-minded liberals who run most of them think. She was infantry – I believe them more than the generals.
I fed us on fifteen pounds a week for two years. We did not have all sorts of nice electronic gadgets, cable, go out to eat or buy new clothes. Sure it was unpleasant. Sure it was hard. Sure we piled up some debt and spent the first few years of Himself’s working life living very simply so it could be eliminated. (Insert appropriate for the day mushy sentiment here: we lived on love because that’s all we needed). He worked overtime. That life led to us wanting to better ourselves. I don’t really care that I sound like a pensioner when I say people today think they must have ‘things’ or are ‘entitled’ to things and fully expect somebody else to take care of it. You need food. You need shelter. That’s all you NEED.
This new Pix-n-Mix government talks tough but they will never be as harsh as they need to be to sort these problems in order that the hard-working people like my husband can stop supporting those who lack his work ethic and long-term thinking.
If you will excuse me, that’s the Paxton ready for pouring.