Oh no! Disaster!
What’s wrong, love?
I failed. My application failed. They granted me pre-settled status. They’re going to deport me!
Don’t be such a drama queen. Let’s sit down and just have a look at the paper and see what we can do (fading)
Dear Great Britain, (no, this in too generic)
Dear Theresa, (ah no, she’s not there anymore)
Dear Home Office, (who’s this one, Patel? Stai fresco che ti legge)
Dear …erm… Mr Johnson ..no no no no this is not going well. Let’s carry on.
I have recently applied for settled status. Wait, some people might not know what settled status is. They might have missed the government’s don’t-look-at-me advert campaign. The blue poster. The ones they affixed everywhere. The cute ones with teacups and teapots. Have you seen them? Not me either. Anyway. Settle status is a scheme for EU nationals living in Great Britain to stay lawfully after that. The B word. Brexit. It is sort of a visa for people who have never needed any visa until now. It is supposed to be an easy procedure through an app on your smartphone, after all we’re in 2020 and which 80 year old who migrated to the UK in the 60s doesn’t know how to operate a smartphone, you need your passport and National insurance number, you take a selfie, you upload everything hoping that no data breach happens, and if you’ve lived here for at least 5 years, bam, you’re entitled to settled status. In other words, you can stay.
Perfect, I moved to Britain in 2013, happy 6th anniversary my friend, here is your settled status, go and have a pint to the Home Office.
Thing is, I was a student for 4 out of the past 6 years, I didn’t have to pay taxes and I had no national insurance, so here I am, no settled status and no pint, just a second-rate pre-approval. Pre-settled status means I will have to appeal if I think it is wrong, or wait until I clock in my 5 years of contribution. 5 more years of uncertainty! No no no, I want my full-fat settled status, no diet version for me thanks. I will fight back and prove that I have actually been living in Britain for the past five years. Let’s see what documents I need. Great, it’s just a piece of cake, only the bank statements for the past 60 months, council tax, university registration. Fine, it’s just a bit of bureaucracy, I will upload all my bills for the past six years if you want me to, do you want my blood too, ah no, I’m gay I’m not allowed, as long as you don’t deport me tomorrow.
I feel a bit cross, though.
I know you have set clear lines for the process, and if everyone knows the rules from the very beginning, the game is fair for everyone involved. However, no paperwork will ever be able to show this: that I already belong here.
I am part of this country and I contribute to it, and the fact that you don’t care is disappointing. As if all I have done did not count at all. My contribution amounts to much more than 5 years of paid National Insurance you ask for.
I don’t demand to jump the queue. It just feels disappointing that my personal story disappears behind those arid documents. All what I have shared: food, energies, work, friendship, love, and then the giggles and cry and laughter and grief and prayers, in front of the tv, on the streets, in the pubs. I have dated a British man and have decided to settle down with him, to weave my future with him- and his country.
After bothering so much, all I get is a lousy pre-settled status as a reward. Sorry, love, but no. I am already fully settled, whatever you think of it.
You know what? Whatever. Keep your meaningless paperwork, your ruthless rules, your populist measures.
Anyway, I am going to marry my Englishman, and I will become a citizen at some point, like it or not. I am not going to be unsettled by your petty mean rules. I am going to stay.
And my friends assured me they would be ready to be chained to me in order to keep me here. Thank you darlings. It’s really moving and comforting, but I won’t need it. I am going to upload all the evidence now, and the Home Office will grant my precious right to remain.
a European Citizen
PS Oh, that’s the Home Office. Is anyone free to come around? Bring some chains along.