"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.

Friday 31 May 2013

An update from Francisca

Francisca's story : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/barry-francisca-and-millie-francisca.html

'Hi everyone!

'Just a quick note to let you all know that our tribunal hearing on Monday 3rd will not go ahead now. The reason being is that our legal representative had communication from the UKBA today, stating that they wished to withdrawn their decision and reconsidered it.
'We do not have a time scale for their new decision, however this means that we wont need to go through the stress of Tribunal hearings.
'We are very thankful of your support, prayers and good wishes. We will let you know of any changes in the meantime.
'Please all have a good weekend.

Save Millie and her mum from deportation - support group :

More from the comments

'My Chinese wife paid over 800 GDP for a Multi Entry Family Visit Visa, only to have it revoked on 6 th May 2013 on her second visit. She made the mistake of applying for the wrong visa back in November 2012 which cost 900 GDP. Instead of giving her a refund they detained her overnight on 6 th May at Heathrow, accusing her among other things of not really being married and treated her like a criminal, taking her fingerprints and photos. We are appealing against this decision in the First Tier Court, this has already cost 140 GBP. My wife is honest, its the UKBA who are criminals, not her.' 

This was in response to http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/from-comments-again-i-understand-your.html , http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/clyde-and-xudan-our-family-is.html

It's worth noting the complex and constantly-changing nature of UK immigration laws, for example in this case -

'In his letter Mr Rawlings cites the 97 changes to immigration laws since 1994 as indicative of how immigration case law regularly causes confusion, with policy changes introduced so rapidly that even officials cannot keep up. '

Previously - http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/hidden-lives-life-in-uk-comedy-gold.html
1/ ... there have been in the region of 97 changes to immigration laws since 1994 already. Yet another change - and these changes, when they come, tend to be both fast and fundamental - is extremely onerous to the applicant, as well as the expense of investing in new study materials. It creates a bad feeling, to say the least.

2/ No doubt this poor change control contributes to the massive backlogs at UKBA which are constantly being uncovered : http://www.channel4.com/news/inspector-uncovers-huge-ukba-immigrant-backlog , http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21178405 , http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2013/jan/24/uk-border-agency-backlog-video?mobile-redirect=false , ad nauseam, ad infinitum.
The Independent Chief Inspector's recent report on the marriage/partnership backlog is here : http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/decisions-in-marriage-applications-are-reasonable-but-chief-inspector-raises-concerns-about-backlogs-and-a-lack-of-consideration-of-the-best-interests-of-children/
.. and here is a devastating report on legacy asylum cases : http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/UK-Border-Agencys-handling-of-legacy-asylum-and-migration-cases-22.11.2012.pdf
Quote via http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20436013 - 'At one point there were 150 boxes of unopened mail from asylum applicants, their lawyers and constituency MPs stored in a room at the agency's Liverpool offices. '
More reports : http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/inspections/inspection-reports/2012-inspection-reports-2/
The Independent Chief Inspector on Twitter : https://twitter.com/ICIBIVine

Very happy also to hear that John Vine, an excellent public servant, is to continue in his role as Chief Inspector of Borders :
From now til 2015 - winning the debate on immigration.


With Lee Jasper (Respect), Zrinka Bralo (Migrant and Refugee Community Forum), Don Flynn (Migrants Rights Network), Chair: Guy Taylor (JCWI)

Saturday, June 1, 14:00-15:15

From now until the General Election, immigration is going to be in the firing line. With the mainstream political parties essentially agreeing on being tough on immigration and Ukip pressurising them all to be tougher, it is down to progressive activists, as ever, to take a stand on this pivotal issue. The demonisation of Romanians and Bulgarians is raging and immigration raids on workplaces are stepping up to unprecedented levels. JCWI has pulled together a powerful platform to launch the offensive against the bigotry, intolerance and racism of the mainstream.


Sign our letter to the Daily Mirror to stand against the EDL
Update: More than 28,000 people have already signed today!


Today, the violent English Defence League will hold demonstrations in towns and cities across our country, trying to spread their message of hate. By blaming all Muslims for the terrible murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, the EDL will attempt to whip up a climate of fear and violence towards the Muslim community in Britain.

But the EDL will fail. They will fail because we, the British people, reject their ignorance.

The EDL and Islamic extremists are more similar to each other than to us. They share a violent, hate-fuelled desire for conflict and war, and we will not let either group tear our country apart.


Let's give back the right to volunteer.


Asylum seekers are legally allowed to volunteer in the UK.  But misleading Home Office guidelines are holding them back.  This needs to change.

Refugee Action is calling on the Home Office to urgently draw up straightforward guidance on asylum seeker volunteering.  It's their chance to show volunteer-involving organisations that they can welcome and include asylum seekers.


Today I was spat on because I looked different.


I met with my friend and contemplated what had actually happened. The more I thought about it the more I got the courage to act. This was the time to do something, anything, to tackle the closemindedness of a nation who prided themselves on being ‘welcoming.’ There and then it truly was a lie.

Is it true that migrants are less likely to claim benefits than UK nationals?


https://twitter.com/jdportes tweets :
Yes, Vince Cable is right about the economic damage resulting from government immigration policy:

Overly bureaucratic immigration rules are preventing world-class researchers from coming to the UK, even when they are funded by European research grants, a group of leading engineers has said.

The Engineering Professors’ Council, which represents engineering departments at 78 universities, is calling on the Home Office to be more flexible in granting visas to young researchers wishing to visit the UK for training purposes or to work short-term contracts.


https://twitter.com/migrants_rights tweets :
How attractive is Britain to ‘benefit tourists’? Great article on what's behind the EU - UK spat

Britain's poorest city: The struggle to make ends meet.


A large banner by the shopping centre proclaims that the Meadows, against all odds, is a finalist in this year's Britain in Bloom competition.

If the herbs planted out there prove as hardy as some of its residents, and if roses can flourish here, among the concrete and despair, then the Meadows will surely win that challenge outright.


Disaster highlights Roma's struggle for human rights in France.


A violent fire destroyed an abandoned factory in the eastern French city of Lyon squatted by families from the Roma community, killing two women and 12-year-old child. In the aftermath of the tragedy on May 13, 2013, the survivors relocated into a school open only in the evenings, leaving them outside in the rain during the day.

http://www.immigrantx.org/ is fascinating.

Immigrant X is our communication and plan for a better future, we Blog, Tweet and use social media to push our ideas. Immigrant X is faction. It is what has happened, could happen, will happen or is happening now somewhere close or on the other side of the world. Immigrant X is communicating the truth. All you have to do to see Immigrant X is open your eyes and see those standing in the shadows and hear a whisper that injustice reigns in a world of plenty, that lives are torn apart by the passive acceptance of those with their accidental citizenship in a western democracy.

China's pollution problem.


"[Peer Steinbrück, the chancellor-candidate] is a good man, with quite a bold programme for ‘social justice’. Tax increases for the better-off, a proper minimum wage, dual citizenship for immigrants, less elbowing individualism and more solidarity in a society where das Wir entscheidet – ‘it’s the we that counts.’ The German public, surprisingly, mostly agree that increasing taxes is a sound idea. What they resent is that the idea comes from the SPD. In the same way, the Augsburg programme is widely thought to make sense, but the voters don’t fancy Peer Steinbrück. They are pissed off with Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, but reluctant to let go of Mutti’s hand. In short, the public are in one of those sullen, unreasonable moods which make politicians despair."


"This morning, Turkish police surrounded protesters in Taksim Gezi park, the central square in Istanbul, blocked all exits and attacked them with chemical sprays and teargas. An Occupy-style movement has taken off in Istanbul."


Northern Ireland town fakes prosperity for G8.


Why are so many people moving to Texas?


Earth pics :

Iowa clouds.

Bay blues.

Thursday 30 May 2013

Spain investigated after hospitals refuse EHIC.


The European Commission has launched legal action after holidaymakers were refused free treatment at Spanish hospitals despite carrying a European health insurance card (EHIC).

https://twitter.com/donflynnmrn tweets :
So, the EU Commission is taking Spain to Court for refusing healthcare to Brits! Aren't things already too confusing for poor Lab leftties?

https://twitter.com/MigrantVoiceUK tweets :
Immigrants' Benefits: Europe Believes Britain Flouting Rules By Not Allowing Migrants Same Access http://huff.to/12QrJCP

Migration Watch under scrutiny in the LRB.


Via https://twitter.com/donflynnmrn , https://twitter.com/MigrantVoiceUK

Predicting migration flows is not an easy game. But for a self-styled watcher’s estimate to be out by around 20 per cent purely on documentary or arithmetical grounds must raise questions. It is disheartening to see an organisation with no clear accredited expertise being accorded so much authority.

“How am I supposed to be Home Secretary after this?”


https://twitter.com/JCWInews tweets :
Many ill-informed tweets on EU court case over migrants' rights to benefits just now. A decent & robust explanation:

The arrest of lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa - a new low for lawyers in Zimbabwe.

We should remember the price lawyers sometimes pay for the courageous defence of their clients.


https://twitter.com/richmondbridge tweets :
Well, *this* is helpful, isn't it? UKBA refusing visas to some non-EU engineering researchers on Marie Curie schemes

Overly bureaucratic immigration rules are preventing world-class researchers from coming to the UK, even when they are funded by European research grants, a group of leading engineers has said.

https://twitter.com/ChrisDYork tweets :
What has immigration ever done for us? Eleven cultural icons Britain wouldn't have without it http://huff.to/18uftOt

Freud, James, Jonsson, Chang, Handel, Ishiguro, Kapoor, Eliot, Marx, Brunel, Hadid.

Getting to Grips with EU citizenship: understanding the friction between EU free movement law and UK immigration law.


Via https://twitter.com/patelsmie

Credit to Beijing Cream for introducing me to the The 党 Dynasty, westside China’s latest laowai talent. Made up of friends Bro西来 (Matt Allen) and 他马特老外 (Matt Sheehan), the duo produced the following “We livin in Xi’an” video, which is as ridiculous as it is fun.


Racist attacks since Woolwich.


Woolwich murder: 200 Islamophobic incidents since Lee Rigby's killing.


https://twitter.com/SalmaYaqoob tweets :
Grimsby mosque petrol bombed : Two soldiers charged with arson. Note not terrorism. And v little media coverage.

Trouble in Paradise? What the riots mean for Sweden.


https://twitter.com/DanSilverSARF tweets :
Sweden recently became OECD country with highest difference in unemployment between foreign-born & native-born Swedes

Blackout mapping in Cambodia.


Cambodian refugee finds American dream in a donut shop.


(Moscow) – Russian authorities should ensure that the investigation into the murder of a young man in southern Russia includes whether he was murdered because his killers believed or claimed he was gay. Investigative authorities should examine all possible motives for the killing, including homophobia, due to the sadistic homophobic aspects of the crime.

Human Rights Watch :

Refugee becomes Air Force nurse.


Amish teens and Facebook.


Wednesday 29 May 2013

Research on family migration rules

Ana Macouzet is writing a disseration on the new family reunification rules and is looking for people affected who may be willing to share their stories. She explains :

'First, I want to examine the context in which the rules were formulated and constructed (especially ‘the immigration cap’). Second, I will analyze and question how the rules imply that the rights to family life and to migrate are reserved to those who can afford it, although they were created allegedly to secure the benefits of British citizens. Finally, I am interested in the implications that the rules have for the debates about citizenship and migration.

'In order to do this, I am analyzing speeches and newspapers, following some blogs and forums, and will conduct interviews with affected families, as well as some organizations that have been involved. I hope that I can publish part of the research results in some manner to support the campaigns against the rules.

'In this context, I would like to ask whether it would be possible to publish a small ad on your website so the affected families know about this research, and if interested, share their stories with me during June or July. All the stories would be treated anonymously if so desired. I am also flexible in any other requests, including that I travel outside of London to conduct the interviews if necessary. My research has benefitted enormously from your website, as well as the APPG on Migration sessions, but the interviews would help to reflect a more in depth analysis of the consequences of the rules.'

She can be emailed at ana.menendez.12@ucl.ac.uk , or tweeted at https://twitter.com/annamacouzet
'A mosque has been praised for serving tea and biscuits to English Defence League supporters after the far-right group arranged a demonstration there.

'About six people turned up to protest at the mosque in Bull Lane, York, on Sunday and were invited inside to play football with worshippers.


https://twitter.com/BritCits tweets :
Oh gosh...more incompetence from #UKBA. Any words from https://twitter.com/NUSISCampaign on this welcome.

'Some students have received letters from the UK Border Agency which incorrectly state that the student’s leave has been shortened, and the student must leave the UK soon. If you receive a letter like this, please book a drop-in urgently with an International Adviser at Student Services Reception. We can help you contact UKBA to resolve the situation.'


UK minister: Immigration debate deterring foreign students.


Vince Cable has said any sense of “triumph” over new figures showing a decline in student immigration is “absurd”, as he issued a strong defence of international student movement.


Indian students think Britain doesn't want them due to 'absurd' immigration policy, warns Vince Cable.


https://twitter.com/compassion4rose - Support Roseline Akhalu on Twitter.

Rose came to the UK from Nigeria.She had a transplant after renal failure.Her application for leave to remain was refused.If deported & denied meds she will die.



Michael Markieta's images depicting flight paths across the planet attracted huge interest from our readers. What do the maps reveal? We asked five experts to give their interpretation.


https://twitter.com/Tweetlawfeet tweets :
A rather apt and funny short film about the loss of legal aid on UK justice and very grave consequences.

https://twitter.com/4refugeewomen tweets :
Read our new blog 'Diary of a refugee chef' charting the highs and lows of starting up a catering company

Scottish Disco Lovers.


The kilted cousin of English Disco Lovers :

https://twitter.com/LaurieMGayle tweets :
Everyone talks about #immigration hurting the economy but what about #emigration? No one's outraged about that?

German town which once drew neo-Nazi pilgrims turns to immigrants to secure its future.


Elderly women once forced to work in Japan's military brothels live out their days in a unusual retirement home next to a museum that records their suffering. Their numbers dwindling, the former "comfort women" feel they have never had a full and sincere apology - and are still waiting.


Somalia-bound? Retracing Woolwich suspect's steps in Kenya.


https://twitter.com/janbrulc tweets :
Prince Philip asks Polish scientist: 'Did you come here to pick raspberries?'
And we should find this charming?

https://twitter.com/AmnestyUK tweets :
Europe cannot keep ignoring Roma families left to live with no water, sanitation, or worse. Tell the EU to act

Films about immigration.


https://twitter.com/ncadc tweets :
Great video from #asylum seekers in Bristol about experience of signing/reporting & fear of #detention

After learning that Korean child actor Hwang Min-woo or Little PSY of Gangnam Style fame has been receiving hate messages for being half-Vietnamese, James Bao wrote him a letter urging him to be proud of his Vietnamese roots:


The campaign for the liberation of Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar López Rivera has intensified. During 32 years López Rivera has been imprisoned in the United States charged with “seditious conspiracy” and “conspiracy to escape” for which he received a 70 year sentence. He is now 70 years old. The objective of the campaign is for Barack Obama to pardon him and put a stop to an unjust incarceration.


As Croatia prepares to enter the European Union officially on July 1 of this year, and Serbia awaits to finally receive a date to begin talks about EU entry, citizens of both countries express mixed feelings about European Union (EU) integration.


The 'brave democrats' of Russia's growing civil society.

From the comments, again

'I understand your sadness perfectly. I married my Chinese wife four years ago and she was also refused a visitors visa and the chance to meet my mum who died last year without seeing her apart from on a web cam. thanks to this present governments new family immigration laws. it makes me angry that I had to give up everything in the UK to be with my wife in China. needless to say there must be thousands of more sad stories of people denied the chance to live with their loved ones in their own country. it stains the image of the UK and everything about human rights we are supposed to stand for.'

In response to Clyde and XuDan's story : http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/clyde-and-xudan-our-family-is.html

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Campaigns update

The next month or so leading up to 9th July is going to be full of events leading up to the anniversary.

In fact, I don't know how we're going to fit it all in, but it'd be good for anyone who can to try and get involved in at least some of these (as well as making some new friends).

Campaign for the right to family life - next steps :

'So what can be done now?

'Here's a heads-up on some of the opportunities over the coming months to make your voices heard:

   ' Launch of the APPG Family Migration inquiry report on 10th June - the final report of the APPG family migration inquiry will be available for download from the APPG website from 10 June. As an informal inquiry this report will not carry the weight of a Select Committee report. However it will provide an important evidence base to build further scrutiny of the rules.

   ' Parliamentary debates on family migration, June/July - as a result of widespread concerns among parliamentarians about these rules, there are now plans to debate the rules on the floor of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords over the next two months. As soon as we know the dates for those debates, we will let groups and affected families know how to feed in.
  '  Divided Families Day on 9th July - the most important way of supporting parliamentarians who want to debate these rules is to show that there is a groundswell of concern from many corners. MRN, JCWI, BritCits, the Family Immigration Alliance and many others will be working together over the coming weeks to organise a series of activities around Parliament from 4pm on 9th July. All details will be circulated nearer the time, but the date should be put in your diary now! Activities will include:
        Demonstration outside the Home Office - 4pm
        Meet your MP session
        Public parliamentary meeting with high profile speakers - 6pm'


Additionally there will be

    - key allies (and friends) from https://twitter.com/JCWInews , https://twitter.com/migrants_rights and https://twitter.com/MRCF_london are at the Festival for Dangerous Ideas - 'Winning the debate on immigration' - this weekend - http://www.migrantsrights.org.uk/events/2013/festival-dangerous-ideas-session-now-until-2015-winning-debate-immigration
 (short notice I know but a good opportunity for a meetup : http://www.meetup.com/BritCits/events/121674372/ )

    - a public meeting in Hackney on 26th June, hosted by the Hackney and Refugee Migrant Support Group (we'll share more information on this closer to the time)

    - the People's Assembly also in late June may be an opportunity to spread the word

Happy campaigning!

From the comments ii

'This story is so heartbreaking. Clyde's mother's description of what they've all been through had me in tears. My husband is Costa Rican and so we had to go through some of this, but as we started it all a few years ago, we managed to escape the worst of it. I simply cannot believe that they've made it so much harder and more complicated - it was hellish enough when we did it. And I really recognise Joyce's description of everyone's disbelief of how difficult it is. So, I can't say much except that I'm signing and sharing all the petitions, and keeping my fingers crossed for all of the couples whose stories you're sharing.'

Via http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/clyde-and-xudan-our-family-is.html
Today's links

https://twitter.com/FascismWatchUK tweets :
Why should British citizens put up with being told who, in effect, they can or cannot marry?


Cumbrian family continues fights for dad to live in UK.


A heartbroken family have said a tearful goodbye for a second time as they continue their fight to overturn a decision to ban a father from Britain.

Plans to force millions of private landlords to vouch safe for the immigration status of their tenants are to be watered down, with the new rules only applying to certain problem areas in the country.


This was and is, of course, a really bad idea :

Festival of Dangerous Ideas session: 'From now until 2015 - Winning the debate on immigration'.


Afghan interpreter deal will fail to protect enough, says David Davis.


In a letter published in today’s Times newspaper (paywall link), former foreign minister and shadow home secretary David Davis, major general Timothy Cross and the head of the refugee charity Refugee Action are among those to warn that the government’s recent decision to offer a settlement package to some Afghan interpreters risks excluding many of those who served British troops in Afghanistan. The letter comes from a group containing parliamentary, military and campaigning voices, who welcome the government’s commitment to offer asylum to some of the interpreters, but are concerned that the terms will arbitrarily deny protection to many who need it.

The Times news report notes that several of the translators who have been prominent in public campaigns on this issue would be excluded by the narrow terms of the deal. Afghan interpreter Rafi Hottak said he would be among those excluded by the proposed terms. Hottak did have his own asylum claim accepted, after its initial refusal, once the case came to public attention. Another interpreter, 27-year-old Abdul, who began an online petition with the campaign group Avaaz which has generated over 80,o00 signatures, would also fall outside the mooted terms.


We’re good thanks, England tells EDL.


The ancient nation is embarrassed that other countries think it needs the help of some scrawny, misspelled tattoo carriers who reek of chip fat.

England said: “Having mosques built on you actually feels quite nice – when they all kneel to pray it’s like having a back massage.

“And at my age you’re glad of the company, so immigration doesn’t bother me. The more the merrier as long as they’re not French.”


Woolwich backlash: Ten attacks on mosques since murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.


https://twitter.com/MigrantVoiceUK tweets :

Migrant hero. Good. Strange took media so long to note hero's heritage not so long to ascribe others..

Transpondia has a great section for (specifically non-visa) visitors to the UK :

The piece on 'bounces' is especially illuminating.

Short of skilled hands, Germany looks south.


https://twitter.com/gabiquevedo78 tweets :
29 May, 5pm Launch SOAS Justice4Cleaners Film,Campaign Updates,music&more! pic.twitter.com/9URf4UJCvQ

'Sweden, like the rest of Europe, was never an exception to anything'.

On the Husby riots.


British visas 'should be easier' for Chinese tourists.


MRN's weekly migration update.


Link-rich post on African coins found in Australia :
From the comments

'I'm in the same boat. I'm Canadian, my husband is British. While he would make the aforementioned amount. We both quite our jobs for an extended honeymoon. I thought we had enough money based upon the old laws. The laws changed while we were backpacking through SE Asia. Because of this, I came to Canada to apply, and was hit with the new laws. I've now been in Canada for 5 months and haven't seen my husband since our honeymoon. Thanks to the UKBA for robbing us of our first year of marriage.'

Via http://britcits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/clyde-and-xudan-our-family-is.html

Monday 27 May 2013

APPG on Migration to publish report on the impact of the rules changes to family migration.


Via https://twitter.com/APPGMigration

More bits and pieces on the APPG and other work going on in Parliament here :

https://twitter.com/migrants_rights tweets :
Archbishop of https://twitter.com/RCWestminster speaks out against the new family immigration rules that put a price on love

Today I express a particular concern for the well-being of families. Economic and time-period thresholds recently established for non-EU families to be united here are putting great strain on the vital unit of the family and could be seen as actually putting a price-tag on the value of family unity. Given the proven importance of the family for social stability, surely it is for the common good that immigration policies must be more sensitively shaped in such matters.

Save Roseline Akhalu - weblog.


Roseline arrived in the UK in September 2004 from Nigeria on a student visa, to study for a Masters Degree at Leeds University.

She unexpectedly developed end stage renal failure in 2005 and remained on dialysis until she was fortunate enough to receive a kidney transplant at St. James Hospital, Leeds in July 2009.

Roseline has applied for leave to remain in the UK but has been refused. Roseline’s consultant has stated that unless Roseline is able to continue taking immunosuppressant drugs which are costly and unavailable in parts of Nigeria, her transplanted kidney will fail and she would have to resort to dialysis again –a treatment she could not afford. Without this she will die.

Roseline has never been allowed to work and has been supported since 2007 by parishioners from St Augustine’s RC Church, Harehills and the St Vincent de Paul Society. Roseline is loved and respected by her fellow parishioners and many people in the wider community who have formed close friendships with her. In spite of her health problems, Roseline has volunteered tirelessly in the parish and is actively involved in a number of community based groups.

Please sign the petition at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-deportation-of-transplant-patient-roseline-ak/sign.html#se calling on the government to grant Roseline Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.



Quintessentially English | The visa application saga.


For those of you who read my post Another Two Years, you know that on 4 April I sent off my application for an extension of stay in the UK. Then on the second of May I went down to the Post Office to give my biometric data (fingerprints and photo). On 9 May, I was delighted to find a thick parcel from the UK Border Agency sitting in my post box. Could this actually be my passport and biometric residence permit back?! 

Well I did receive my passport back but for all the wrong reasons. Unfortunately my application had been deemed invalid because I, like a complete and utter moron, didn't tick a box saying that I hadn't committed any war crimes. This meant that my application was incomplete and could not be approved. Not only that, but the application forms and fees had changed on 6 April meaning I needed a completely new application and to pay an additional higher fee than the one I had already paid.


Homeless in London? Here's a train ticket for Birmingham


The plight of a mother and daughter forced to live in a hotel room 127 miles from their former home in the capital.

English Disco Lovers. Pro-disco.


https://twitter.com/emmabmoussa tweets :
yBeen with my lovely https://twitter.com/londrisso 4 years, married neally 2, we have a beautiful baby boy plz UKBA stop this worry nd let us b a family :-(


https://twitter.com/EricAvebury tweets :
Victims in informal relationships who leave abusive partners with UK residence don't qualify for leave to remain http://bit.ly/12Exjbl

https://twitter.com/bimadew tweets :
Still confused about this new way of describing people as "British-born Nigerian" when they mean "British person".

https://twitter.com/DipoFaloyin tweets :
as my mum just said, they'd probably leave off the Nigerian part if those two boys had just won an Olympic gold medal.

https://twitter.com/donflynnmrn tweets :
Gordon Sq centre of Woolwich. Sunny day, bouncy castle, ethnic foodstalls. Praise be - life goes on as normal
Just been stopped by burly white guy handing out leaflets. Save Woolwich Fire Station they say. All the way pal.
Now the Greenwich filipino community is parading around wiyh a Virgin Mary. Same old Woolwich folks!


https://twitter.com/helenpidd tweets :
Makes me proud to be British. York mosque counters EDL protest with tea, biscuits and football http://gu.com/p/3g64j/tw

https://twitter.com/AdamWagner1 tweets :
Deprivation of British nationality following terrorist allegations didn't leave man stateless, rules CoA

The UK's immigration crackdown will lead to a loss of international talent.


Help for Heroes 'not accepting EDL donations'.


EDL make themselves look stupid... again.


Amnesty slams EU human rights protection over migrants and minorities.


https://twitter.com/FifeMigrants - Fife Migrants Forum.

https://twitter.com/GuidoTallman tweets :
Seems the organisers of Hay Festival have called it right over Goodhart's sensationalist and dubious book. Hurrah!

American wins Gloucestershire cheese-rolling race, despite health and safety warnings.


Great train journeys of the world. Free movement!


Thursday 23 May 2013

'Londoners need to stand together after the horrific attack in our city. Let our hearts be with the murdered man, and for peace. '
- https://twitter.com/19pst


The government’s drive to cut immigration risks splitting up families.


In two weeks time the daughter of one of my friends will get married. This happy occasion will be marred by the fact that soon after the wedding her new husband may have to leave the UK. Despite his high earning potential, new rules about family migration, introduced in July 2012, will exclude him from obtaining a spouse’s visa.

All of us drew little comfort today from the latest immigration statistics. This data show a 23 per cent fall in family migration in the year to September 2012, compared with the year to September 2011.


Questions about the EU? Europe Direct can help.


I'm moving abroad in Europe – how do I get a residence permit? What are the rules on roaming charges? My flight's been cancelled - what are my rights?

BBC poll: Germany most popular country in the world.


https://twitter.com/dc_stevens tweets :
Net migration down again due to *shock surprise* continued fall in international student numbers by 56k

Reddit users attempt to shame Sikh woman, get righteously schooled.


Addicted to Hate - the twisted story of the Westboro Baptist Church.


https://twitter.com/19pst tweets :
"My identity? I am grounded in white middle-class England, and your museum has made me think more of other souls" U3A visitor today.

https://twitter.com/19pst tweets :
Holocaust survivors, Catholic rescuers, Muslim faith leaders together in Poland


'The Boston Marathon bombings may be fading from the front pages, but the numerous conspiracy theories that sprang up in the wake of the incident continue to rage on, spurred by professional conspiracists such as Alex Jones. Book reviewer and skeptic Anita Dalton (previously), at her new website devoted to skeptical examinations of conspiracy theories and paranormal claims, has kicked off a meticulous and in-depth series of posts comprehensively debunking the Boston Marathon conspiracy theories. '


Eurovision storm in a teacup.


'At a joint press conference [ru] with his counterpart from Azerbaijan, Lavrov denounced supposed voting irregularities surrounding Russia's representative, Dina Garipova, whom he believes should have earned another ten points from Azerbaijan's voters. Claiming that the points were “stolen,” Russia's chief diplomat called the anomaly “an outrageous act” and promised Russian retaliation.'

Discover Somalia is a cultural and photography blog dedicated to Somalia. The blog aims at promoting a more accurate media image of Somalia and the potential of its people, beauty and natural resources.


'Blogger and anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny is often considered the unofficial leader of the Russian opposition. While he has generally been coy about officially assuming such a role, he has indeed recently announced that he would be interested in running for President as an opposition candidate [ru]. But how many people would support him in such an endeavor? How large is the core of his followers?'


Divided memories: History textbooks and the wars in Asia.


Japanese history textbooks and their treatment of the wartime era has become an almost constant subject of international dispute in the last three decades. For critics, both inside and outside Japan, the content of those textbooks is evidence of a failure to take responsibility for the outbreak of the Asia-Pacific War or to acknowledge the suffering the Japanese military imposed on conquered Asian nations and the crimes committed in combat with the Allies. The decision of the Japanese education authorities to approve certain textbooks for use, or to reshape the content and language of the books, is presented as evidence of a nationalist tilt in Japan.

Astronauts snap dramatic photos of Alaska's erupting volcano.


Astronauts living on board the International Space Station managed to get these dramatic pictures of the Pavlof Volcano as it erupted over the weekend. The volcano began acting up last Monday, the 13th, its first eruption since 2007.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Clarification demanded over Afghan interpreters UK visas.


Many Afghan interpreters who worked with the British army could be excluded from a scheme to give them refuge in the UK, a lawyer and campaigners say.

The Foreign Office said the scheme will apply to more than 1,000 Afghan staff made redundant in January 2013.

But campaigners are concerned at the government's "limited" criteria.

https://twitter.com/rmw tweets :
If 94% of Afghan interpreters have received threats, why are only 50% being offered protection in the UK?


https://twitter.com/britishfuture tweets :
A rare chance to read pro-immigration comments below the line @mailonline as commenters welcome Afghan u-turn

https://twitter.com/JCWInews tweets :
Now til 2015 - wining the debate on immigration. With https://twitter.com/LeeJasper https://twitter.com/donflynnmrn https://twitter.com/ZrileB https://twitter.com/GuidoTallman
2pm Sat 1 June http://dangerousideas.org.uk

Private landlords as immigration informants.


A few weeks ago David Cameron suggested that private landlords should be required to check the immigration status of tenants. Now, lo and behold, the measure is to be included in a new Immigration Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech. This such a Bad Idea it is difficult to know where to start to explain why. Perhaps the clearest way to put it is to say that it is Good News for we immigration lawyers, and therefore Very Bad News for everyone else.

https://twitter.com/bmagnanti tweets :
I am a foreign national. No rental agent or landlord ever asked about my migration status, ever.

David Laws vetoes plan to force schools to check immigrant status of pupils.

Liberal Democrat schools minister tells Michael Gove, the education secretary, the proposal is a 'non-flyer'.


https://twitter.com/ASIRT1 tweets :
Laws calls Gove's plans to check children's immigration status 'difficult to implement.' As opposed to just wrong.

Both Houses of Parliament to debate international students on 6th June. Coincidence?


In one hard-knock British city, a secret Muslim donor helps save a synagogue.

The Bradford Synagogue in northern England was facing a dwindling population and serious financial woes when the local Muslim community reached into its pockets to save the day.


South Asians and the Shaping of Britain: 1870-1950, edited by Ruvani Ranasinha et al, review.

Sarfraz Manzoor salutes a fine anthology documenting the hidden lives of Indians in the UK.


Japanese woman found guilty of murder after refusing to accept welfare.


Tigipko: Ukraine has to pass two difficult laws to introduce visa-free travel with EU.


https://twitter.com/neilbradfordtv tweets :
On @BBCLookEast (Cambs) the Peterborough family living 5,000 miles apart. Dave can't get a US visa his American wife can't get a UK Visa.

Sweden riots continue after police shooting.


Jane's Jihad: the new face of terrorism.


On March 9, 2010 – the day U.S. authorities announced terrorism charges against a blonde, white American woman who called herself Jihad Jane – senior government officials repeatedly described the arrest as a seminal event in the war on terror. The case was so serious, authorities said, that they charged the woman, Colleen LaRose, with crimes that could keep her in prison for the rest of her life. Now, as she awaits sentencing, a months-long Reuters review of confidential documents and interviews with sources in Europe and the United States -- including the first and only interview with Jihad Jane herself -- reveals a far less menacing and, in some ways, more preposterous undertaking than what the U.S. government asserted.

The eccentrics and the women who run for president in Iran.


Hundreds of hopeful Iranians, including thirty women, have registered as candidates to replace President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the forthcoming election on June 14, 2013 even though they have no chance whatsoever of being elected.


Mapping North Korea.


Bahamas: Haitians are our brothers.


One of the most dastardly parts of the Atlantic slave trade was how fellow human beings were treated as as if they less than men and women. And it seems that many of us feel the same way about illegal Haitians here in The Bahamas.

Ai Weiwei's latest music video.


Tuesday 21 May 2013

'Shame on you, Theresa May: Ethnography of the UKBA.'

An academic project on the rules, and the response to the rules from BritCits and others.


When the changes were announced on the 9th of July 2012 many gathered outside of the Home Office to voice their protest against these unfair policies. As the crowd chanted “Theresa May, Shame on you!” individuals spoke, demonstrated and voiced their disbelief and unwillingness to accept migration policies that directly violate Human Rights. Since that day several grassroots campaigns have sprung up in reaction to the measures being implemented by the current government. Alongside these grassroots organizations, many already established organizations directly involved with the plight of migrants have lent their expertise and support. These draconian policies are being met with voices and action. These communities are bringing the stress, despair and depression that these measures are causing to light...

The grassroots campaign, known as BritCits, illustrates how people are coming together and using collective agency to resist power structures that are imposing significant and damaging structural change. The main goal of BritCits is “defending the rights of international families, documenting the plight of the divided families” (BritCits 2013.)

'Where there is power, there is resistance.' - Foucault.
How friendly is your country to migrants? Make the comparison with Migrant Policy Index.


The MIPEX includes 34 countries in order to provide a view of integration policies across a broad range of differing environments.

For a long time North America was cited as the continent of immigration, while Europe was largely a continent of emigration. Some European countries still are (including many in Central Europe and the Baltics). Now a great many European countries are established countries of immigration (Nordic countries, Western Europe, Southern Europe), where every year many people come into the country, often more than leave.

For some countries, immigration is a very recent phenomenon (including Southern Europe, Czech Republic, Finland and Ireland), while many attract migrant workers.

Via https://twitter.com/PhilWood11

Sittingbourne student Najibullah Hashimi has lost his appeal to stay in the UK after fleeing his homeland of Afghanistan.


Despite a campaign backing the Sittingbourne Community College student, a judge ruled he must be deported back to Kabul.

The news was broken to the 19-year-old by his solicitor over the phone.

He said: "They are playing with my life. I'm not sure what the future holds for me."


https://twitter.com/Windrush1948 is on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/migrants_rights tweets :
We've been mapping some of the census data. Here's an a map of London with Latin American community #CoolMaps

On the streets with Hungary's far-right.


In Hungary an extremist nationalist party linked to paramilitary-style militias is making huge gains. Brian Whelan reports on his encounters with Jobbik.


http://www.freemovement.org.uk/2013/05/21/round-up-2/ round up!

https://twitter.com/JCWInews tweets :
Sometimes you wish all politicians were as honest but not as intolerant as Earl Attlee

Tory peer Earl Attlee: Don't encourage asylum seekers to integrate.

Asylum seekers should not be encouraged to integrate into British society so it is easier for them to return to their home countries, a Government spokesman in the House of Lords has said.

Immigration Man, by Graham Nash.


Apocalypse soon? The UK without the European Convention on Human Rights.


Last night, lawyers, academics, NGOs and even the President of the Supreme Court gathered in a basement conference room in central London.  Their purpose was to discuss the UK “without Convention Rights”, a possible future that some might view as post-apocalyptic, and others as utopia.  Either way, given recent political developments, the event could not, in the words of the Chair, Lord Dyson, “be more timely or topical.”

https://twitter.com/BritCits immigrant of the day :
 Former @Arsenal & #LeedsUnited footballer, John Lukic of Yugoslavian descent

Metafilter thread on the Greenwich Village bias shooting.


Personal interest. I used to walk past that intersection as part of my Saturday morning routine walk through Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park, and SoHo en when I lived in New York. (Followed by a film at the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelika_Film_Center ).

It's really shocking that something like this could happen in such a liberal neighbourhood. (But then again, I shouldn't really be shocked any more - it seems everywhere one turns, there's hate and intolerance beneath the surface, even in the safest places. As, I suspect, this blog is testament to).

An interesting thread on the Barnes and Noble which closed at the end of last year :

Ireland's top economic crisis blogger calls it quits.


69th anniversary of Crimean Tatar deportations.


On May 18, some 30,000 people gathered at a rally in Crimea‘s capital Simferopol to honor the memory of the victims of the 1944 Crimean Tatar deportations and to demand the immediate resignation of Anatoly Mogilev, the former Ukrainian Interior Minister who is now the chairman of Crimea's Council of Ministers.


X marks the spot: The find that could rewrite Australian history.


According to the records, Australia was first discovered by Dutch explorers in the early 17th century. So how did 1,000-year-old copper coins from a former African sultanate end up on a remote Australian beach?

Trade routes in the ancient world : http://www.public.iastate.edu/~cfford/342TradeRoutes.gif

Not hard to see how items could be traded from civilisation to civilisation.

Monday 20 May 2013

How a house fire 20 years ago threatens Anne-Marie’s right to stay in the only country she knows.


Anne-Marie came to the UK to join her family in 1974 when she was 17. A decade later, her Jamaican passport was destroyed in a fire, but as Anne-Marie had no plans to travel abroad, she wasn't unduly concerned and didn't try to replace it. It was only later she discovered that, along with her passport, proof of her immigration status had also gone up in smoke. The Home Office claimed to have no record of her. As a result, Anne-Marie is now unable to claim state benefits and it is only help from her family - including her mother, now in her 80s - and church friends, that has saved her from destitution.

Marc was at university and planning to go travelling when he first discovered he didn't have a passport. Although his mother was an immigrant, Marc had lived here all his life and when his passport application was rejected, he just assumed the office had made a mistake and reapplied. By the time his fourth application was refused, he began to feel intensely insecure and as if he didn't belong anywhere. It was only after Marc sought legal advice that he was able to provide the proof the authorities needed in order to be granted a passport. But while his immigration status is now regularised, the damage to his wellbeing and sense of identity has been less easy to resolve.

https://twitter.com/emmabmoussa tweets :
Wish I could wake up tmw and the arthritis is gone, my Hubbie Is allowed to stay with my son and I and we can start a normal family life


Factcheck : Will London be mostly foreign by 2031?


British-born Londoners (present Mayor excepted) reading this morning's Sun were greeted with the prospect of being in a minority in less than 20 years. According to the paper, by 2031 the capital will be populated by more foreigners than British-born people.

The subheading reads: "Oxford University population research prediction", referring to Oxford University's Migration Observatory research group. They released a briefing this morning on London's population statistics as revealed by the 2011 Census.

However, a look at the briefing note itself reveals no such prediction was made by the Observatory - the document presents an account of the current population profile of London and compares this to 2001. No attempt is made at a projection into the future.


Afghanistan civilians : April 2013.


One of the most desperately poor, war-torn nations on earth, Afghanistan attracts our attention mostly for the wrong reasons. Well over 30 percent of the population lives in absolute poverty, with as many clinging to their places just barely above the poverty line. While Afghanistan is the world's leader in opium exports, domestic consumption afflicts almost a quarter of a million, with an additional 150,000 addicted to heroin, triple the number from 2005. Violence against women and girls continues. But rich cultural traditions abound, and Afghan society is making progress. Gathered here are images of the colorful yet troubled lives of Afghan civilians.

Greco-Buddhist art.

If people could immigrate anywhere, would poverty be eliminated?


What if there was a program that would cost nothing, improve the lives of millions of people from poorer nations, and double world GDP? At least one economist says that increased mobility of people is by far the biggest missed opportunity in development. And an informally aligned group of advocates is doing its best to make the world aware of the "open borders" movement, which suggests that individuals should be able to move between countries at will.

Vipul Naik is the face, or at least the voice, of open borders on the Internet. In March 2012, he launched Open Borders: The Case, a website dedicated to the idea. Naik, a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at the University of Chicago, is striving for "a world where there is a strong presumption in favor of allowing people to migrate and where this presumption can be overridden or curtailed only under exceptional circumstances." Naik and his two primary co-writers, Nathan Smith and John Lee, parse research into immigration impacts, answering claims by those they call "restrictionists"--people who argue against open borders--and deconstructing writings on migration by economists, politicians, journalists, and philosophers.





27% of Spaniards are out of work. Yet in one town everyone has a job.

Special Report: Marinaleda is run along the lines of a communist Utopia and boasts collectivised lands.


As Spanish unemployment reaches another record high, the residents of rural Marinaleda could be forgiven for feeling a little smug.

In the small village in deepest Andalusia, the joblessness remains firmly – and almost certainly uniquely within Spain – at zero. With one set of traffic lights, two bars (one jammed with football paraphernalia for the First Division side Seville) and one central avenue lined with of low terraced houses, Marinaleda looks like many villages in western Andalusia.

 Flag of Republican Spain.

Photography of China | Migrant workers.


Thereafter and over the course of five-years period, he devoted himself to the depiction of miners (Miners I, Miners II), their families (Miners’ Families), their surroundings (The Landscape of Coal-mine), and the people whose occupations are connected with the mines (Coal-Mine Community). Together, these photographs offer an intuitive, personal and powerful portrait of the impact of mining on a small community.

His two recent series Migrant workers and Hold tackle with the influx of immigrants in China by using the same touch: straightforward yet powerful black and white portrait. This at first anonymous miner quickly achieved fame since nowadays many events and galleries around the world featured his artworks. He lives and works in Beijing.


Metafilter thread on 'swivel-eyed loons' with some good comments.


I'm an immigrant. Don't worry - I'm not stealing all your jobs - just one!

I hope that's okay. I mean, I'm not on benefits, so that's one myth dispelled, right? I'm paying my all my proper taxes - at least, that's what it says on my payslip every month. And I'm definitely not using any loopholes.

And I don't have any children, so I'm not receiving child benefit, or sending my children to a publicly-funded school, or getting free prescriptions and dental care on the NHS for this child. And it's totally cool that the money's going to your children instead - healthy, happy, and well-educated children are important, right? That's why you're completely reorganising the education system, right?

Plus, I'm not usually that ill, so I'm not using a lot of the NHS. A few prescriptions, but fairly cheap ones. It's better that the money goes towards you, especially if more measles or rubella outbreaks occur. I mean, I'm vaccinated, and that only cost me a few dollars, so I'd hate to take any money away from you if you get sick!

And I bought my house on a good mortgage and didn't get any government funding either. Boy, let me tell you, that was difficult, too! Not having a credit rating in this country makes it really hard to get anything done, but now I'm paying my council tax, because the county council does so much for us!

So I really hope it was okay that I moved over here. I mean, along with the whole rigmarole of moving, I had to pay a lot of money to get that permanent residency sticker in my passport. I don't quite remember how much it was 12 years ago, but now it's £753 for it. And I hope it's okay that I haven't started the process for naturalisation, yet. I mean, I want to, of course, because then I'll be able to vote, but I don't really have £874 for it right now, not to mention the £50 for the Life in the UK test, or the £80 for the naturalisation ceremony.

And I know that you probably really wanted my job, and that it's really awful that you're in a different job, but I hope we can still be friends!


(fond of HAMBURGER)


The enforcement culture that frames Home Office immigration policy has manifested itself in a defensive and largely negative approach to policy. Meanwhile public anxiety about immigration in the UK remains high. Positive, customer-focused services need to be introduced into policy making, says Alice Sachrajda.


https://twitter.com/kenanmalik tweets :
'People pay to be tortured so that they can claim asylum': the extraordinary logic of the UK Border Agency:

https://twitter.com/SOSinai tweets :
Philmon, one of the victims of #humantrafficking in #Sinai, freed and speaking to BBC's Mike Thompson of his ordeal

https://twitter.com/MigrantVoiceUK tweets :
Excellent photo documenting of Glasgow's 'infamous' refugee tower blocks Red Road

https://twitter.com/MigRightsScot tweets :
Can #Scotland & #UK have 2 diff #immigration approaches while border remains open @Sun_Pol_Scot asks:

https://twitter.com/joseiswriting tweets :
VIDEO: social media powers #immigration reform movement--immigration IS documented: http://bit.ly/YbM8zD 

The Arbour is celebrating the diversity of London's East End.


https://twitter.com/DetentionAction tweets :
The Queen's staff are supporting @DetentionAction in their campaign to #endDFT pic.twitter.com/9uST44LEyh

https://twitter.com/AsylumAid tweets :
Several thousand on the march for #legalaid pic.twitter.com/15bBqDV2XI

https://twitter.com/sundersays tweets :
V.poor E.Standard: ignores @migobs research but copies out The Sun claim of London pop of 12m in 2031! No attribution pic.twitter.com/VeH4DgseXM

https://twitter.com/MigrationUK tweets :
Now 72,000 Nepali migrants in the UK but what do we really know about them? Book review by @AnyaRPearson at http://tinyurl.com/cy4bux5  p. 26

Borders of the Mind: The uneasy politics of national frontiers and why it’s not always best to forever be in control....


Two recently published books set out graphic examples of what happens when national states stoke up the stake they have in the borders business.  The continuum that runs from huge inconvenience through to terrible suffering for those who hope to cross these frontiers is just one part of the story.  Another, more mundane, consequence is the unproductive expenditure in wire and concrete fences that meander through deserts without any point other than to impede human passage.