1. The weather in the UK is pretty awful.
2. The cost of living is very high.
3. The public services range from well-intentioned but poorly executed (NHS) to hell-on-earth (transport.)
4. Population growth in the UK is relatively low, and there is a large funding gap in the pension system.
5. There is also a large hole in the budget.
6. On and off for the last ten and a half years, I have paid more tax into HM Treasury than bears thinking about.
Given these points, but particularly 5 and 6 above, WHY THE F*&(^ DO YOU MAKE IT SO HARD TO GET PERMANENT RESIDENCY?!?!?!?!?!
Consider, Gordon, that your humble scribe is the spouse of a UK national and has resided (and paid tax) continuously in the UK since late 2003 (and from 1997 - 2000 before that.) The immigration rules state that the spouse of a UK national can obtain permanent residency after two years of living together in the UK, subject to certain proofs.
Although you are a politician, I am confident that even you can deduce that 2008 - 2003 > 2. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when upon calling for an appointment to obtain permanent residency I was informed that this would be impossible because I had the "wrong kind of residence permit."
Imagine my chagrin when I found that I now have to apply for a further temporary residence permit for another two years before obtaining permanent residency. I acknowledge that any sympathy you may feel is probably compromised given the prospect of charging me £595 this week, and then £950 (plus inflation) in two years' time, simply for the pleasure of being a host to your parasitic taxation policy.
Let's put this in perspective, Gordon. My ultimate intent is to obtain a UK passport, given that much of my family (hint: they are Guardian readers!), my friends, and my professional life are centred (note: I've spelled it wrong, just for you!) in the UK. I am doing so for all the "right reasons", and not to be a leech to society. Hell, I even passed the "Life in the UK" test in less than three minutes, which must be some sort of record.
Yet under the cackhanded policies of the Border and Immigration Agency, I cannot even obtain permanent residency by the time that someone else, who moved to the UK on the same day as me and with no familial ties to the UK whatsoever can obtain a full UK passport!
Even more bizarrely, I observe from the BIA website that by virtue of my being married to my wife for more than four years, were we to move to the UK today from foreign parts, I could obtain permanent residency immediately. Savour, if you will, the irony:
I CANNOT OBTAIN PERMANENT RESIDENCY BY VIRTUE OF THE FACT THAT I LIVE HERE!!!!
Tempting as it is to up sticks and relocate to a more welcoming country, as noted above my personal and professional lives are located firmly in the United Kingdom. So I beseech you Gordon: find the kindness in your cold, cold heart to turn your eye to the Border and Immigration Agency and hire somebody who has a triple-digit IQ and isn't in league with Satan.
P.S. Next time you see him, tell Mohamed al-Fayed that the reason he can't get a passport isn't down to racism, Diana, or his dealings with the Khashoggi family; most likely, it's down to bureaucratic incompetence.
P.P.S. To regular readers expecting market and economic musings, normal service will resume tomorrow. But what's the point of having a blog if you can't vent some steam every so often?
Tuesday, February 05, 2008