Harsh new UK rules for incomers may spell problems for Brit expats overseas

Published:  10 Mar at 6 PM
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Brits desperate to depart their home country for friendlier, cheaper climes overseas might well spare a thought for their foreign counterparts attempting to enter the UK under its new rules.

Britons who’re now rearranging their lives in order to emigrate before the Brexit debacle hits home are being urged to stand up for their European counterparts living and working in the UK. Even before Brexit, would-be expats flocked to the UK to take advantage of better jobs, better university education and the experience of making their way in an unfamiliar but welcoming country. Many were from the EU, arriving via freedom of movement, and more came from countries all across the globe.

Even before Brexit, immigrants’ lives were regularly torn apart by Britain’s hotch-potch of unfair rules, an increasingly hostile environment and chaos at the Home Office. Their voices were rarely heard, shut out of the debate by those wishing to control it. The truth is that, throughout humanity’s history, people move. They always did, and will continue doing so as long as there’s an earth to explore. Immigration debates won’t stop this – it’s part of the human genetic make-up.

Britain’s many myths about immigrants include that they threaten British jobs, they cause a fall in wage levels and they threaten the employment of UK citizens as they’re cheaper to hire. The new British government’s take on this is predictable but wrongly based, as it treats immigrants as if they are simply economic commodities and shouldn’t be welcomed unless they’re highly qualified or very wealthy.

This government needs reminding that 20 per cent of all care workers in the UK weren’t born in Britain and earn less than £18,000 per annum, whilst the new salary threshold is now £25,600, leaving the NHS in chaos unless changes are made. Many migrants even manage to pay for services from the NHS, with the Immigration Health Surcharge costing £1,000 per year, and tax on their wages also contributes to the service. The myth of expats arriving to take advantage of the benefits system is just that – a myth, as the rules deny even asylum seekers in fear of their lives any rights at all.

British would-be expats who can’t wait to get out of the UK before the end of this year should consider what their rights in their chosen European countries of residence might well be should the recent UK immigration bill have the effect it’s promising. Standing up against harsh new rules applied to those who’re willing to arrive and work for subsistence pay in order to show appreciation for Britain’s hospitality is one way to ensure expats’ countries of choice won’t crack down on them in a similar fashion.
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