Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cracking down on migrants

David Cameron unveiled new restrictions on non-EU migration coming to the UK last week. It includes restricting work visas to skill shortages and specialists’ jobs, higher visa fees and increased salary threshold for the visa to be granted.

As a tier 1 visa holder I don’t believe these measures address the real problem. The current system restricts civil liberties; under the visa mandate professional, social and family life of migrants are regulated in a utilitarian manner. The system determines what the skilled migrant should be doing, when and how the business should be managed; the Home Office and the Police monitor professional and personal life respectively.

The system envisions only an economic role for skilled migrants, which is incidentally also viewed as criteria for civic participation and a desirable virtue for natives. but despite meeting the definition of community invested citizenry, skilled migrants are not considered part of the society as such limiting their civic rights including political and economic rights. 

Changing the immigration system for new migrants does not address the current situation. People who are invested in the UK need to be integrated into the society. The current system imposes an identity on migrants defining them in terms other than members of the community. The immigration system is creating and feeding stereotypes; in the long term such policies serve xenophobia and racism.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Franchise for the EU referendum

Britain needs a debate about giving none EU residents the right to vote as legislation about EU referendum is discussed. It follows the simple principle of fairness granting all considering UK their home the right to determine its future. I pay taxes, run businesses and engage in recreational and cultural activities in the UK, which are the criterion for civic participation.

I immigrated from Afghanistan as work came by hard in the face of rampant violence under the Tier One visa; we have few rights for instance we have no recourse to benefits or child welfare; while mandated to pay £25,000 in visa related fees, run a business regulated to suit UK economic priorities and create jobs for British citizens.  We live under constant fear of removal from the UK with no other place to go and without right of appeal.

It’s understandable that the government is trying to stop immigrants from abusing the social welfare by placing limits on civic rights. It’s illogical to include political rights in that bundle; political rights are not prone to such abuse as benefits and won’t serve as pull factor for economic migrants.

We need a gradual system of inclusion and integration that help newcomer feel at home based on a system of human rights. The British society should be fair to all who consider themselves a member of the society; we should not allow the wish to curb benefit fraud to fuel xenophobia.