This morning, all the newspaper alerts I have set up for work and personal interest had only one story: The Home Office Post-Brexit Immigration Leak. The documents are hosted by The Guardian, who received the leak of the Home Office’s plans for post-Brexit immigration/foreigner working status.
I spent the morning in anger. Theresa May’s agenda is to boot out people, come hell or high water. I refuse to yield. The justification is that this is what the Brexit vote was about. A pliable claim, as Brexit apparently was also about funding the NHS and the nebulous “taking back control” and the ridiculous aim of getting “our” fish back, depending on whom you asked.
Apparently not even Amber Rudd agrees. The current Home Secretary, that is.
Previously the UK tried to assure an immigrant like myself (I abhor the term expat), that everything would be fine. Settled status would apply to anyone who has lived in the UK for five years, or arrived before Brexit happened and waited out the remainder of the time needed for settled status.
My problem with this is that I don’t know what will happen down the line. I don’t want any problems for being a foreigner, despite the fact that I chose this country as home – applying and paying for visas, getting rejected for jobs because the rigmarole of sponsoring my visa is too time-consuming and expensive, having difficulties with family planning down the line.
I have mulled over the idea of British citizenship for a while. If I manage to pull the gambit off (which involves applying for Permanent Residence before applying for naturalisation and citizenship) before the UK withdraws from the EU in March 2019, then I can both retain my German citizenship and accept my British citizenship. If I miss the deadline, I still haven’t decided what will happen.
I will not give up German citizenship to join a country that voted against who I am and what I stand for. What does that mean? Will I have to seek my fortune elsewhere? (I’ve recently become a home-owner here.) Will any potential future children have to choose between two passports? (This is still a valid question regardless of my passport.) Are my employment prospects better elsewhere? (Could I work in Politics in Ireland with no prior experience? No other country operates politically in English. Brussels may opt out of English post-Brexit – not immediately, but eventually. And other countries that do operate in English will have similar or tougher immigration and work policies.)
I haven’t figured it all out. Very little in fact has been figured out (I was trying to wait out the 5 year and 1 year times spent in the UK to be more favourable). But today’s scoop definitely kicked into motion the very theoretical approach of applying for Permanent Residence (after an uninformed and expensive excursion via the application or Qualified Person certification, which doesn’t matter any longer, but is annoyingly still available and easily confused on the Government website).
I realise it sounds very self-serving, applying for British citizenship (eventually) just in case. But bloody hell, this is home, and I won’t be made to feel a stranger.
(Image credit goes to Max Pixel)