Wednesday, 8 October 2008

When RL attacks

I've just received some news which, for me, is incredibly depressing.

Dunno how many of you know this, but I'm an American living in the UK. I've been here as a student for the last five years, and until a few minutes ago, I thought I would be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after the 27th of September (my 5-year anniversary).

What ILR means is, essentially, I'd get all the rights of a citizen to come and go as I willed from the UK, for the rest of my life.

Great thing, right? Unfortunately, I don't qualify for this.

See, I've been living here as a student, in the interests of finally obtaining qualifications of some sort which will allow me to actually get a job. In all the time I've been here, I've never been accepted even for the piddly part-time summer cafe-waitress jobs I've applied for (I have a long list of reasons why nobody will hire a 20-something foreigner with previous work experience, living under a student visa, but I'm not going to go into that here).

But living under a student visa gives me all the rights of, say, that moth you just swatted on your wool coat. Despite the last five years costing a shocking amount in tuition, bills, rent, food, clothing and yes, taxes (because the City Council will leech me for property tax and there's not much I can do about it) - none of which has come from external funding (there is no agency in the world that will pay for this sort of thing) - I get to be viewed as a virtual parasite on society, attempting to take a job away from some hard-working National.

What I get to look forward to now is paying for an extension on my student visa so I can finish this degree, then whoring myself out to the first company which will acquire a work visa for me, with the potential worst outcome of being a virtual slave for a further five years, unable to leave a horrible workplace without losing my right to live in the UK.

Well, no. The absolute worst outcome would be never getting a job at all and being kicked out of the UK, losing everything I have built for myself here. My life, my friends, my home. I've been at the mercy of a capricious and quixotic bureaucracy most of my adult life, and every time I seem to have gained a little victory over the system, it turns and swats me down again.

I dunno what else to say.


Carole Pivarnik said...

Oh, Shae. This is distressing and I'm really sorry you have to deal with it. I hope there is a light at the end of a tunnel that goes your way.

Ivanneth Maethor said...

I'm actually feeling rather shitty about it all at the moment... it feels like the last 5 years have been such an utter, pointless waste of time... I know they weren't, but they count for so little when it comes to legal issues.

I'll be spending the evening out of the flat in company and not drinking, I think... may pop online in a bit once I've stopped feeling kicked in the gut.

CrazyKinux said...

All I can say is "Don't give up!"

I've always said that in such situations you can either play the victim, or take charge and do something about it.

And I speak of experience here. In early April of this year I lost my job due to a restructuring at the company I worked for.

At the time, my wife had just returned from a one year maternity leave and the new schedule was putting a stress on the whole family.

We discussed it and decided that, though I would keep looking for work, my emphasis would be on being Mr Dad for a few months. In late August/early September I started putting a lot more effort in finding some work. I still haven't found anything, but I'm not letting this bring me down.

I know you feel like crap right now, but in the next few days, try to focus on WHAT you can do about it.

Take charge!!


Ivanneth Maethor said...

Well, to be honest, it's not like I have a choice - if I do nothing, roll over and whine, I'll just end up in deeper shit. So I'll get my student visa renewed to cover the last year, get a degree, then see about finding gainful employment (which I'vev missed FAR too much over the last few years!)

In the end, failure isn't an option, because there are no options.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your plight, Shae. You had to pay council tax?! Where the hell?!

Ivanneth Maethor said...

Wens - It's the risk I live with - being ejected from the country. Bah.

Oh, yeah, the Council are bastards. When it's just been a students-only flat, it was no problem, but I wasn't enrolled anywhere for a summer while I was living in a Band F place and the Council socked me for all it could for three months - despite the fact that I was in application procedures for another college - and tried to demand what I might have paid in from the time I moved in there (hahahaNO). I was already paying half the discounted tax because my flatmate at the time was a jobless layabout :p

My current place, because I'm one student living with two non-students, we get no breaks, but it's Band C out here. Not so bad.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about that Shae, it sucks.

The UK does indeed have some good things going for it, but they are rapidly becoming eroded by all the shitty things that are ever-present, including councils who try to rob you at every turn.

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