"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

BritCits bulletin 6th July 2013

This is the Sunday morning update that has been shared with our mailing list.  The BritCits bulletins are authored by Sonel, who tweets at https://twitter.com/BritCits

Good morning and happy sunny weekend to all, wherever in the world you are.

Request to please fill in this yourself, and share with others..for results to be more meaningful need as large a sample size as possible.
9th July - HUGE DAY. See earlier email and email to come tomorrow.
Pack - will be updated this weekend. If you want your story and photo included please send it in today.

(Note from Steve : our collection of 'protest art', i.e. examples of flyers etc., is here : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/flyers . Use and modify as you wish!
More on the divided families day of action is here : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/divided-families-day-of-action.html . Be there!!! ).

Family migration debate in the House of Lords was well attended by various campaign and ethnic groups and those affected by the rules personally, on 4th July.  There was overwhelming support for the rules to be amended in the interest of fairness..more below from my frantically written notes.

Baroness Hamwee started the debate further to the APPG on Migration report
She specified that the route for adult dependants was blocked and asked for the nature of the ONE visa granted under the new rules.  (I spoke with her and Lord Avebury after the debate and they feel that its likely no further adult dependant visas have been issue as the rules are impossible as they read them, AND the one visa issued is likely to have been an error or under the previous rules).
The message she has received from the govt is that the rules are working as intended.  She pushed for the inclusion of non-cash assets in the financial threshold and made a joke that holding high amounts of liquid cash (i.e. £62,500) is a sign of not handling assets very well, as well as allowing help from family.

Lord Parekh
Completely in against the new rules..I found him difficult to understand though, so recommend you read the Hansard for his words..essentially along the lines of the adult dependant rules are forcing us to outsource ensuring the well-being of our parents to third parties, and how skilled NHS staff being forced into exile...
Lord Teverson
Fab, booming voice. He provided lots of interesting stats to especially highlight that British citizens are also migrants in other countries..it’s not just UK receiving migrants:  5 million British citizens live abroad. Every year, 100,000 Brits migrate overseas for 1 year or longer; of these 90% are of working age, and 66% are single when they leave the UK..so its not unexpected if they fall in love when overseas.
He cited examples from his own extended family where people had done so and spoke about people he had personally met who were marriage exiles.. with british kids unable to have a british upbringing; british grandparents unable to nurture and spend time with their grandchildren,
 He quoted from the 2010 election manifesto that families were to be an important part of ALL govt policies..(so including immigration) and that this also in the coalition agreement.

 Lord Kilclooney (Northern Ireland)
 Spoke of migrants in NI, especially from Poland, Lithuanie and Portugal..how several years ago they didn’t have one visa applicant, and how times had changed (in a favourable way).
 He spoke of the delay in visa processing, that he was aware of an application made in February 2012, with the decision only received in May 2013.  Spoke of one case he knew, of an Australian working in a nursing home in NI, who had married a Brit there. The Brit had a family firm of which he was the 3rd generation, which employs 25 people. However even they had the visa denied by the Secretary of State, who said as the couple both speak English, there was nothing insurmountable in their moving to Australia.  (My thought here was, not welcome if you speak English, not welcome if you don’t!)

 Lord Judd
He said to allow doctors to be at their best, important to allow their family values to apply.. this was being denied to them by the current rules. He said it was important to include grandparents in the family as often this enabled mums to go to work..they ran the kids to and from school..
Spoke of the impact on kids not having been taken into account..and it was in fact, cynical neglect.
Britain was a pioneer on UN convention rights of the child and therefore it is right for children to be central to our considerations.

Lord Avebury
He said that the current immigration rules have weakened family community.  The prevention of legal aid is not for economic reasons (and bulls eye here) but just because of the net migration target.  Stellar quote: The current rules are 'Tories balmiest policy'.  He also asked for numbers on the adult dependant visas issued under the new rules, which until October 2012, was apparently just one.  (I spoke with Lord Avebury and Baroness Hamwee afterwards - their view is that no further adult dependant visas will have been issued; the govt being silent on the nature of the one visa issued is likely because it was a mistake or in fact, under the old rules..scandalous!)

Lord Taylor of Warwick
No blacks, no Irish, no dogs..was the message in the 1840s, he said (I was under the impression this was policy even later than that).  His dad grew up in Jamaica, and after moving to the UK, played cricket for Warwickshire. He was known as the Jamaican immigration...until he scored a century, after which the papers lauded him as the local Brummie hero.
His view on the APPG report is not that its an enquiry into minority groups, but more an enquiry into the Britain of the future. He said it is easier to bring up a strong child and repair a broken man.  He referred to the Home Office report, also dated 4/7/13, citing the negative impact from immigration.  (If anyone has seen this, views welcome.) 

Bear in mind, this is a guy who is a Conservative, he also went on to say, that removing immigration from NHS and the public service, would result in chaos...we need a society that comes together.  He supported David Cameron's view that Britain needs good not mass immigration but also went on to say that we should have good and fair immigration rules.. rules to be firm but also fair.

Lord Roberts of Llanduno
British hospitality is becoming British hostility.  "We are all immigrants".  Some further interesting stats from him: 13% of UK taxpayers claim benefits. 7% immigrants claim benefits. According to the British Medical Journal, more Brits seek medical advice overseas than vice versa, so when it comes to the NHS, there is clearly scaremongering going on.
Asylum seekers must survive on £35.63 per week. and they are not allowed to work...processing their application could be in the years rather than months, so its not easy for them to live on this amount.
Life in the UK test..more a pub quiz really, with questions in there that even the peers themselves havent been able to answer. Random questions like the height of London Eye..
All these are just making the door to entry narrower, with higher and higher barriers being erected.

Earl of Listowel
Message revolved around the welfare of kids. Financial requirements are so onerous that they're pushing women onto dependency on the State; often as single parents, they cant work full-time while also depriving kids of their father.
Research shows that the outcome of kids who grow up without their fathers is very poor...denying a child contact with both parents is not in their interest, affecting even the kid's confidence.

Lord Rosser
Immigrants have built and developed some of our biggest businesses. They have developed the health service, helped us win Nobel prizes.
The income requirement is splitting up families; even where the non-EEA spouse is a middle or high income earner, because the spouse's income does not count towards the qualification.
Commented on the revised rules for Armed Forces personnel, who now are not exempt from the migration rules..he noted this was in marked contrast to a decision on 3rd July to exempt the reserves when it came to things like employment tribunal.

Respondent: Lord Taylor of Holbeach
Lord Taylor of Holbeach for the most part provided the standard spiel of those wishing to live here to ensure its not at the expense of the taxpayer. In response to the number of adult dependant visas issued under the new rules, he claimed to not have the figure, but gave a larger figure reflecting the total number of visas issued – whether this was for spouses, family visits, etc..we don’t know..but very telling that he did not provide the adult dependants figure..and unsurprising he gave a higher figure in a very transparent attempt to mislead.
What was most remarkable though was in his response, he admitted there is a dichotomy between the current immigration rules and families forming the bedrock of society. The first time ever I am aware of, we have received this kind of admission from the government.

You can find a link to the Hansard for the full text, and Steve's overview, here: http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/lords-debate.html?spref=tw

- Sonel 

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