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to think immigration rules should be applied consistently

(33 Posts)
mamamea Wed 01-Jun-16 12:16:02

This: photogenic (white!) family came to the UK in 2011 under a (Tier 4 I believe) Student visa, for the mother, which entitled them to bring their family with them to the UK for the duration of the course, which in Scotland I believe is 4 years (for a BA).

It appears from her LinkedIn profile that she has had a 1 year extension, so in total five years, so just now graduating

Meanwhile, back in April 2012, the Tier 1 Post-Study Work Visa, which provided a straightforward route for overseas students to remain in the UK, was abolished, which caused a massive (50%) drop in the number of Indian students applying to study in the UK - presumably the intention, in order to reduce net immigration.

So since 2012, graduating students must now prove that they are 'skilled', and working in a shortage occupation, in order to gain a visa.

So they have had four years notice of this fact, but they are complaining, and say, effectively, that they want to remain in the UK illegally, because look at us, we should be exempt from the rules, because, er look, here's our photo in the paper aren't we charming.

All of which is great, but you can hardly make exceptions for scrubbed-up families posing for newspapers but ignore the hundreds of thousands of others who are subject to the same rules. In the eyes of the law, they are NO different to students from India (also a Commonwealth country), who are a target for anti-immigration complaints, but there seems to be an implict racism here where they are somehow more deserving of sympathy because they are white.

Immigration rules are frequently strict: as guests in a country you simply do NOT have the same rights as a citizen. I have dealt with the immigration process both entering the UK and also abroad, and the rules very seldom seem 'fair'. There is always the sense that MY family should be allowed in, because we are awfully naice, but the one thing that the rules must be is impartial. You cannot have ministers intervening on behalf of Gregg and Kathryn when he refuses to do so for Samit or Mohammed.

dizzytomato Wed 01-Jun-16 12:29:32

I am a British citizen and the headache, heartache and stress of trying to live and work in the UK with my non-British husband was soul destroying. We have been married for 15 years and he still has to dance to the rhythm of whatever crazy music HM Customs decides. We gave up and live in DH's country now.

Life in Australia would be much easier for these people, life is too short to worry about your ties to whatever patch of the earth's crust you can legally stand on.

BillSykesDog Wed 01-Jun-16 12:37:37

I absolutely agree with you. They've had 4 years to find a skilled job but haven't. We don't need any more unskilled workers. We have plenty. Australia don't take unskilled Brits.

BillSykesDog Wed 01-Jun-16 12:41:20

And why on earth would you select a Gaelic education for your child knowing that you have no right to stay in Scotland but it will disadvantage him elsewhere? Fools.

Creasedupcrinkle Wed 01-Jun-16 12:44:22

Well it's because they're white, and therefore in Daily Fail land, better.

dizzytomato Wed 01-Jun-16 12:58:56

BillSykesDog it is always an advantage to learn a new language. Most people would take the opportunity if they could. I assume the boy speaks English and would have no trouble moving at this stage so it will hardly disadvantage him . Being bilingual at a young age can only be beneficial.

mamamea Wed 01-Jun-16 13:02:38

According to the boy's school, it is not the case that education is entirely in Gaelic:

"Gaelic Medium Education
Pupils attending our Gaelic Medium classes follow the same basic curriculum as their mainstream
counterparts. All communication within the Gaelic Medium classes is in Gaelic, although once Gaelic
reading and writing is established, the children then go on to learn to read and write in English.
Parents wishing more information about Gaelic Medium education should contact the school. "

And the majority of forms at his school are in English, though his parents have obviously elected for a Gaelic form.

Obviously they were pretty determined to live in Scotland, which begs the question of why, in four years, they haven't taken appropriate steps to ensure that, by complying with the rules.

It's not just the Fail that wants them to stay, btw, the Grauniad feels the same way. (Perhaps in Grauniad land, they are special, right-on, snowflakes because the son studies in Gaelic.)

It's also not true that they were invited under some sort of Highland-resettlement programme. There WAS a wider 'Homecoming Scotland' advertising campaign, but it's a tourism programme NOT an immigration one.

Mistigri Wed 01-Jun-16 13:05:26

The problem is that a one size fits all immigration policy plainly does not work for Scotland, which is already thinly populated compared to the rest of the UK and is suffering further depopulation. There's a reason why Scotland has taken far more than it's share of Syrian refugees, and it's not just that Scottish people are nicer (though they may well be grin).

The income requirements are now basically all but impossible for new graduates to meet, unless they are in London or are working in an area of significant skill shortage. There should at least be a provision to adjust the required income level according to typical incomes in the area where the applicant lives.

dmsz Wed 01-Jun-16 13:07:36

YANBU - I don't understand why this family is getting such a high level of attention/sympathy. Would they get the same level of attention if they were two unskilled Asian workers and a child? Probably not.

mamamea Wed 01-Jun-16 13:08:38

Yes, it's true that Scotland might want more immigrants.

But that also might be true of parts of England, Wales, or Northern Ireland.

As a single country it's difficult to devolve immigration policy.

BillSykesDog Wed 01-Jun-16 13:10:57

BillSykesDog it is always an advantage to learn a new language.

It's not 'learning a second language'. He's had a purely Gaelic education which treats Gaelic as a first, not a second language. All his schooling has been in Gaelic. He had not learnt Gaelic whilst also learning in English. So basically although he may speak English as far as his reading and writing goes he will have learnt all that in Gaelic. This is why his parents are raising it as an issue, if he has to go to a school where English is the first language he will be disadvantaged because in English language terms he will be behind.

You obviously don't know much about Gaelic as a language either. Ask your average Irish person how much they benefited from learning Gaelic. The answer normally varies from somewhere between nothing and learning rude jokes about the English. Quite often it won't even give you the ability to communicate with other Gaelic speakers 70 miles away, let alone give you communication advantages in another language.

araiba Wed 01-Jun-16 13:13:01

australians are ranked number 1 of all nationalities for immigration issues in the uk

MrsPickwick Wed 01-Jun-16 13:16:44

The complicating factor is that they arrived as part of a scheme to repopulate the Highlands, which was encouraged by the government five years ago but has since been dropped.

They didn't know they would be kicked out in five years, as the new minimum earnings rule for immigrants was not remotely a thing back then. They had hoped to settle long term and until very recently that wasn't a far fetched dream. The idea that Gaelic education would disadvantage their son is, in any case, ludicrous.

They have been offered jobs that the government is not allowing them to take up. The Scottish government want them to stay but have no power to allow them to. Given that the Scottish government have taken in more non-white Syrian refugees proportionally than England I don't see any racial hypocrisy particularly.

WreckingBallsInsideMyHead Wed 01-Jun-16 13:17:42

Yanbu I thought the same

The only argument in favour of them over a similar family from another commonwealth country would be the level of English they speak.

Yes there are systemic problems with the immigration system. But it does seem that white people are more able to bend or break the rules

MrsPickwick Wed 01-Jun-16 13:20:41

BillSykesDog the ignorance about Gaelic seems to be all yours. Yes there are dialectical differences, but of course Gaelic speakers are mutually intelligible. We have our own TV channel, it's really not a problem. As for basing your views of Irish on purely on the opinions of those who resented it at school? Ehhh?

My husband is a fluent Irish speaker btw, and we're both Gaelic learners.

KathyBeale Wed 01-Jun-16 13:38:09

My brother had a girlfriend who was Canadian. She overstayed her visa and ended up working illegally as a nanny (ironically for a couple who were both lawyers). Eventually she was deported and she's not allowed back to the UK.

When it was all happening, I was astonished by the number of people who would say to me how unfair it was, how she wasn't doing anything wrong, how it wasn't as though she was taking a job that could be done by a British person, blah blah blah. I was fairly sure people wouldn't have been so sympathetic if she hadn't been white and English-speaking.

I was really fond of her so I was sad when she had to leave but she made some really crappy decisions and she absolutely had done something wrong. Definitely different standards (though the Aussie family seem to be in a bureaucratic nightmare rather than doing something wrong themselves).

dizzytomato Wed 01-Jun-16 13:40:07

BillSykesDog many many children move to countries where they don't speak the language. When my children moved to Brazil they spoke 5 words of Portuguese. Within 2 weeks they were sitting tests and passing. Children are language sponges, once you learn to read and write in one language you can pick up others in a matter of weeks. Even less if you already speak it. My children were older than this boy as well. My friend moved to Italy from Somalia when she was 17, spoke no Italian. But finished high school and started a degree in Italian, where she scored higer than some of her Italian classmates, so it's not just children either.

His education, is IMO, not reason enough to stay.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 01-Jun-16 13:46:45


Changes to immigration legislation should not be applicable retrospectively this is grossly unfair.
It is also grossly unfair that the UK government has said they are not allowed to work, therefore making it impossible for them to meet employment requirements.

Scotland, especially the highland needs all the people it can get - some (all?) aspects of immigration into Scotland should be devolved.

mamamea Wed 01-Jun-16 13:50:14

"The complicating factor is that they arrived as part of a scheme to repopulate the Highlands, which was encouraged by the government five years ago but has since been dropped. "

This is, simply, a lie. There was no such programme.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 01-Jun-16 14:10:55

This is, simply, a lie. There was no such programme.

mamamea Wed 01-Jun-16 14:13:30

"Changes to immigration legislation should not be applicable retrospectively this is grossly unfair."

Not retrospective.

They moved to Scotland in July 2011 under a student visa, which allowed them to stay for the duration of mum's degree (4 years).

The government, meanwhile announced in March 2011:

"we will close the current Post Study Work route from April next year. In future, only those graduates who have an offer of a skilled graduate level job from an employer who is licensed by the UK Border Agency will be allowed to stay."

So BEFORE they stepped foot in the UK, it was made clear, that the post-study work route would be closed, and their ONLY option was to seek work in a skilled graduate job.

Not only, that but they entered in July 2011 - legally - with their dependents, but that was also scrapped, so Dad & son would NOT be allowed in the country now.

The reality is that

(a) they came in on a student visa and that is as far as their entitlement goes. Her studies are over, and now they need to comply under the relevant new rules. There is NEVER any guarantee, that when you enter on a certain visa, such a student visa, that you will be able to convert it to something else
(b) the post-study work visa was ALREADY scheduled to be scrapped before they arrived. It is unthinkable to choose to emigrate to a foreign country and pay NO attention to government immigration announcements.
(c) she chose to study a course which has basically zero employment prospects. Having had the announcement of the change to rules BEFORE they arrived here, she could have changed to something that is in-demand. Or her husband could have trained for the same. They refused to do so, despite having FIVE years now.

The rules are there, they were spelled out before they landed, why whine when you completely fail to comply with them?

mamamea Wed 01-Jun-16 14:17:31

"This is, simply, a lie. There was no such programme.

That is not a programme to repopulate the Highlands! There have been Highlands promoting programmes, but from a tourism angle.

That was a general scheme for Scotland. And it was abolished in 2008, when it was replaced with the UK-wide Post Study Work visa scheme, which very quickly became problematic, and the abolition was announced in March 2011 effective as of April 2012.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 01-Jun-16 14:19:16

Not retrospective

They came to the UK on the Fresh Talent scheme (see my post above)

This encouraged folk to come to Scotland, do a degree and then work for 2 years without the need for a work permit.

To not be applied retrospectively this scheme would have to have been cancelled before they made the move.

mamamea Wed 01-Jun-16 14:24:39

No, not correct.

They may have WANTED to immigrate under the Fresh Talent scheme, but they definitely did not do so, as Fresh Talent was scrapped in 2008.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 01-Jun-16 14:26:03

That is not a programme to repopulate the Highlands! There have been Highlands promoting programmes, but from a tourism angle.

No, it was a programme to help maintain population in Scotland, an issue particularly apparent in the Highlands.

That was a general scheme for Scotland. And it was abolished in 2008, when it was replaced with the UK-wide Post Study Work visa scheme, which very quickly became problematic, and the abolition was announced in March 2011

Precisely.It was abolished after they had arrived in the country with the expectation of using it. To not be retrospective it would have to (and should) apply only to those entering the countryafter the abolition. It is obviously unfair to change visa conditions when a person is already in the country!

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