Vice Visa

For those keeping score at home, Margaret and I filed our applications for visa extension at the end of August, so we’re coming up on the end of our fifth month in Scotland without knowing our immigration status, with no expectation that we will hear for several months more. It’s an inconvenience for us — the Border Agency has our passports, so we can’t leave the country — and awkward for our family, whom we can’t foresee being able to visit.

Sorry, I meant to say ‘the wonderful Border Agency, our favourite government agency in the whole world’.

But we have friends who applied for their residency seven months ago and who haven’t heard; after his having been here as a regular worker for years, his job has come to its end, and he’s looking for a position, but is being turned away because (after all) he can’t prove that he’ll be granted leave to remain when the results come back from the Border Agency. And who would want to hire somebody, only to find out six weeks later that they’ll be deported? But in a grim catch-22, people who are here on a visa don’t have the right to unemployment benefits, so because he’s still waiting for visa approval he both (a) can’t get a job, and (b) can’t get benefits. Margaret and I aren’t in that position, but we can certainly sympathise.

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