Migrants dumped on – again…

Before I start my tirade, I have to say that for the most part, I don’t regret moving to Britain. There are a few things I miss about Canada – Eat-More bars being one… – but I like living in Britain, and being a part of British society.

DID YOU HEAR THAT GORDON BROWN?? I’M A MEMBER OF BRITISH SOCIETY!!! I CONTRIBUTE!!!

I am seething over a news report that came out this morning, saying that Gordon Brown, the de facto Prime Minister Elect, is going to recommend that new immigrants be obliged to do community service before they be granted British citizenship.

Obliged is, in fact, a synonym here for ‘required’.

Can I reiterate the costs already for me to get a British passport? The British Immigration and Nationality Directorate lists the following fees:

  • Naturalisation (with ceremony fee) – £268 (for a citizen, a passport is about £70…)
  • ‘Knowledge of Life in the UK’ Test Fee – £34
  • Book needed to pass test – £9.99, ‘available from TSO bookshops’
  • Total – £311.99p

Can I point out that I don’t actually want a citizenship ceremony as I feel I am already a citizen? However, I’m not allowed to back out. Or I am allowed not to attend, but I still have to pay for it.

Oh, and I have to prove that I can speak English adequately. Which should be OK, as I TEACH ENGLISH TO UK CITIZENS.

What irks me the most about this latest proclamation is that regardless of whether immigrants are good, upstanding citizens who take an active role in society or not, the government is not making any such requirement of people who are currently citizens. Because they can’t. So they are making immigrants, who they do have a hold over, do all the work that every citizen should undertake. Can I point out that I have been active in my community from my day one in this country? My first session helping out with the youth group at church was 3 days after I arrived. I arrived on Thursday; Sunday evening I was helping out.

Oh, and has dear ol’ Gordon thought about what a hue and cry will be raised if one of these immigrants who will be required to work with the elderly or care for children (two suggestions on the news this morning…) molests or scams or otherwise harms his/her charge?? You think the backlash against immigrants is bad enough now…

I agree that I’m not the immigrant that this idea is aimed at. This is aimed at the stereotypical, apathetic immigrant who huddles in the back streets, makes a conscious decision that they’re never going to learn English and sponges off of British society by applying for welfare and other benefits. (PLEASE notice my highly ironic tone here…) I’ll happily back this decision when the government requires those stereotypical, apathetic citizens who huddle in the back streets, make conscious decisions that they’re never going to learn a language other than English and sponge off of British society by applying for welfare and other benefits, to do community service as well.

Can I just point out that the tag line for the Home Office is ‘Building a Safe, Just and Tolerant Society’ Maybe the government should build a tolerant society by leading by example…

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About Beth

Canadian English teacher living in the UK with husband, daughter, imminent baby and cat...
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One Response to Migrants dumped on – again…

  1. Helen Baker says:

    Excellent ranting!
    It is very frustrating to be oppressed because one is perceived as “other”, especially when that oppression flows from someone in leadership.
    Keep speaking up!

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