For this week’s SoCS post, I thought I’d take another break from fiction and have a quick rant, using Linda G Hill‘s prompt to inspire me;
” “oc.” Find a word that starts with “oc” and use it in your post. Bonus points if you start and end with your post with an “oc” word. “
Yes, I can do that…
Occasional occurrence of occupancy extortion.
Occasionally, you have to accept that the Powers That Be have you over a barrel and you just have to pay the piper when he calls the tune.
Well, we’re almost at that point again; (where does the time go?) when Rhonda and I have to bow to the UK Border Agency’s immigration regulations, go through the hideously complicated process of renewing her and Audrey’s resident visas and try to find the extortionate amount of money they demand in exchange for our continued happiness.
As many of you know, Rhonda and Audrey are American and have only been in the UK since 2014, after we began our unconventional relationship on Facebook, from opposite sides of the Atlantic.
The process of getting them here was bad enough, but it doesn’t end there, oh no. Following the pair of “fiancé visas”, for Rhonda to come here with Audrey in the first place, we had to get resident visas immediately after we got married, which have to be renewed after two and a half years. And it doesn’t come cheap.
Yesterday I went to the library and paid £15.80 to have all 158 pages of the forms printed, that Rhonda will need to fill in for the two of them…
…after I spent the last few days trying to secure an extension on my personal loan, (which was obtained for the aforementioned official extortion last time round) to pay the frankly obscene price of £993 EACH! And that’s just for permission for them to remain here, contribute to society and continue paying the government income tax. While, I might point out, (for anyone who may have accidentally read a Daily Mail article) being totally ineligible for any state benefits whatsoever. Because we also have to jointly meet the income threshold requirements, to make sure we can support ourselves with “no access to public funds”, as it says so bluntly on their visas.
We have to submit this mountain of paperwork without the slightest error or omission, along with the money, for acceptance by some faceless bureaucrat, who has the ultimate say in whether or not our family stays together on the same continent.
No appeal, no refund.
How they justify that ridiculous expense is beyond me, but we’re now aware that their primary concern is to make money, whilst simultaneously making it as difficult as possible for anyone to come here to start with.
Hopefully the next time we have to go through this, two and a half years from now, it will be to grant my family “indefinite leave to remain”, finally giving us peace of mind until we decide/can afford to pay the even more jaw-dropping price to make them full British citizens.
I am constantly amazed at how fortunate I am, to have found these two amazing people by chance, (a nudge from The Universe may have been involved) but it must seem very harsh to them, especially since they have come to love this country, when the system seems intent on breaking the spirit of people whose only wish is to become a permanent occupant.