There’s this horrible misconception doing the rounds that immigrating to the UK is a total piece of cake. The way populist, political automatons like Theresa May prattle on about it, you’d think British taxpayers are funding deluxe caviar baths and a complimentary passport service for known terrorists down on the beaches of Dover or something.
But the truth isn’t quite so glamorous.
I'm not British but I’ve spent all my adult life here, and this place is my entire world. My wife is British, my children are British, my university degree is British and so is my mortgage. For all its faults, for better or for worse, I love this country. It’s the only home I’ve got now, and I can’t see myself raising my children anywhere else.
Then again, if Theresa May gets her way, I won’t get to watch my kids grow up at all.
You see, the Prime Minister has spent the better part of her political career selfishly fuelling anti-immigrant sentiment to consolidate her own power. As Home Secretary, she repeatedly bent over backwards to placate her party’s nonsensically loyal legions by constantly shifting goalposts and fiddling with rock-hard visa pathways in order to feign productivity and make out like she had the fantastical ability to reverse decades of globalisation.
First, she got rid of post-study work visas to make sure foreign graduates couldn’t stay here to share their skills with UK companies. Next, she helped roll out an NHS health surcharge to ensure taxpaying foreigners were charged twice for the same level of care. Then, her Government hiked application fees by over 25 per cent to make sure poor people couldn’t even afford to fill out the paperwork to try stay with their family members in the first place.
But all that pales in comparison to May’s decision to introduce a minimum earnings threshold that says people like me don’t deserve to tuck our kids in at night unless we’re bringing in more money than 41 per cent of UK-born workers (and 55 per cent of women) do. As a point of reference, that’s an annual salary of £18,600 – and to a politician kicking up her feet in a £1m house and enjoying lucrative stock options, that might not seem like a big ask.
But most of us aren’t so lucky. That’s why the Supreme Court has since attacked May’s minimum income requirement as “particularly harsh”. She’s effectively taken the right to fall in love and start a family, and transformed it into a luxury privilege that only some can afford – and campaigners reckon about 15,000 British children are now growing up as "Skype kids" in broken families because of it.
After brushing up on the Conservative Party’s callous 2017 manifesto, it’s looking like my family could be next.
In between all those juicy, Thatcheresque bits about censoring the internet and choosing who deserves to eat lunch, May also decided to sneak in two pompous campaign pledges designed exclusively to distract Britain’s closet racists by tripling down on her predecessor’s impossibly foolhardy “tens of thousands” net migration pledge.
How? First, she’s going to increase that “particularly harsh” minimum income requirement by some arbitrary and mysterious amount that she’ll presumably just pluck out of thin air whenever it tickles her fancy. Then, she’s going to ensure nobody can reach that salary threshold in the first place by imposing a £2,000 a year fine on any UK company ballsy enough to hire a foreigner from outside Europe.
That tosses thousands of British couples between a rock and a hard place. And because I’m still years away from earning the right to stay in this country indefinitely, I don’t even get to cast a ballot and have a say in my family’s future. I’ve got no clue what’s going to happen. All I can do is hope and pray that everything works out.
Listen: you probably don’t know me or care what happens to my family, and that’s just fine. I’m not asking you to care. But if you give even half a damn about the liberal values and bountiful integrity that make this country truly great, you’ve got to speak out for those of us without a voice on 8 June.
Theresa May wants Britain to be divided clean down the middle. She wants to create a "strong and stable" dystopia where love and happiness are expensive luxuries awarded only to the privileged few. She wants fundamental rights stripped from everyone she thinks is unworthy. Is that the sort of country you want to live in?
If not, you’ve got to stand up to the Prime Minister and her self-serving, inward-looking and spiteful campaign platform now – before it’s too late.
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