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Ausweiss, Bitte – redux

July 25, 2006

I have written before about the British obsession with paperwork and bureaucracy. It’s time to go through it all again.

In order to be able to continue to live and work in the land of my ancestors, I need to apply for a new visa. This time I am going for a UK Ancestry Visa. Despite the fact that it’s a lot of paperwork, if I get it it will at least give me five years protection from Jack Reid’s Home Office gauleiters booting my door in at dawn and extraordinarily rendering my arse back to Cape Town.

To get my new visa, I have to fly back to my country of citizenship and apply there, which is why I’ll be back in the RSA shortly. But I can’t apply directly – I have to use a courier service. What’s the point? If I have to send it by courier from Cape Town, why can’t I send it by courier from Glasgow and save a £600 flight?

I had initially intended to get a Work Permit instead, as you can apply for one of these from within the UK. But once you have successfully applied for your Work Permit, you still need to fly back to the RSA and apply for Entry Clearance.

Being an immigrant, or whatever it is my status officially is, has made me chronically aware of immigration and asylum issues. Despite the tremendous benefits immigrants contribute to the UK, the country as a whole is racist and xenophobic and the tabloids whip up anti-immigrant hysteria, along the lines of “terrorists come here and claim asylum, live off the tax payer and then set off bombs”.

Apart from the fact that the London bombers were British born, immigrants work and pay taxes, but can’t claim benefits, so essentially they are subsidising the British – not the other way round, as is often claimed. I pay £600 per month in income tax and National Insurance, which is essentially money donated to Blair, since I can’t claim benefits or public funds. (I also pay 17% VAT and £135 per month council tax).

One of the few sensible things I have read about immigration in the mainstream British media is this Guardian article. The writer points out that since goods and capital are allowed to flow freely, you can’t stop people following them, and that it’s hypocritcal for British consumers to think they can enjoy cheap foreign holidays and clothes made in Asian sweatshops and not allow people whose lives have been disrupted by Western neo-colonialsim to try their luck in the West. Unfortunately, the comments under the piece show that even Left-leaning Guardian readers don’t get it.

Roll on Scottish independence – I am sick of Blairland.

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