Saturday, 5 May 2018

Anatomy of a Hostile Environment.

The following facts are taken from a recent article in the Guardian by Sonia Sodha.
  • The fee for obtaining citizenship for a child born  in  the UK to parents "not settled" here is over        £1 000  (The Home office makes a profit of £640 on each case).
  • If they don't obtain this such children, when they grow up, may not be entitled to work, use the NHS or:go to university (unless they pay "international  student" fees, which are astronomically higher, with no student loans).
  • For children in care, the fee of £1 000+ must  be paid by the Local Authority, which may save money by not applying, waiting until the child is 18 and must fend for her/himself.
  • Such children may need evidence, such as their parents' birth certificates - difficult if they are estranged or have otherwise lost contact, which is often the case or they wouldn't be in care.
  • Youngsters not born in the UK, but who have spent most of their childhood here, must, once they reach 18, apply for "leave to remain," which lasts for two and a half years and costs £2 000 a time. 
  • They can't apply for ""indefinite leave" until after ten years.  If they have missed out on any of the applications (there are no reminders) they go back to square one.
  • Legal Aid for help with disputes in these complicated processes has been abolished, so loan-shark style "lawyers" have evolved to fill the gap.
  • Once upon a time recollection of a childhood memory of an event in the UK, or a sworn statement from a doctor or neighbour, would have been accepted as evidence of long-term residence.  Today four pieces of documentary evidence  FOR EACH YEAR (my emphasis) are now required. 
  • According to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, the Home Office often claims that documents he been lost, or never received.
  • A simple mistake on a complex and lengthy document can result in the rejection  of an application. (I'm fully aware of the ease with which such errors can be made as I sometimes input my bank's sort code, 30/90/57, instead of my date of birth,  which has similar figures, but in a different order (cf Morecambe and Wise  and the notes of the music.)
  • Evidence of "good character" may be required.  A caution by the police (not unusual for children who have been in care or had difficult childhoods) or a previous rejection  for minor errors, can result in rejection.
  • The Right of Appeal has been scrapped in most cases (though when there are or have been appeals, around a half are successful.)
In spite of the hasty turn-round in the case of the Windrush children, the above scheme remains in place for everyone-else. It remains to be seen how much of it will be dismantled by the new broom, Sajid javid.

And it should not be forgotten that our Prime Minister, Mrs May, who flaunts her church-going every weekend, it seems, was in charge of it for six years.

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