LSE BREXIT – The net migration target is one of the strangest political fetishes in recent history

The net migration target is ridiculous. I can understand the need to reduce immigration, if that is what the people want, but the government is going about it in the most asinine way possible.

Having recently applied for a partnership visa for my husband, we've had nothing but trouble. The whole system is deliberately set up to stop you from succeeding in your application. Firstly, they required us to fill out a ridiculously long form of about eighty pages (though now it's online, fortunately, which makes it a little bit easier) where they ask you questions like 'Have you ever been involved in war crimes?' If someone was involved in war crimes, why on earth would they admit to this in a form? They also ask for the details of your partner's extended family and friends in their home country. Why? Who knows, but it feels ridiculously invasive. They also ask whether you can live outside of the UK if needed. They deliberately try to drive people, including UK citizens, out of the country in this way, simply for marrying someone foreign.

They require you to earn between you over £18,000 pounds or so each year. If you're poor, you cannot live with your partner in the UK if they are from outside the EU. Keep in mind, too, that you are not allowed to access any public funds, so I'm not exactly sure why this restriction is in place, since your partner will never be using any of the tax he or she is paying (you pay a surcharge of several hundred pounds for the NHS to access this).

They require evidence which is not appropriate for the modern age. Bank statements, letters and so on. Fair enough, they're easy enough for us to get, but when so many companies are going paperless, it's just an extra hassle. Many of the information they require could be accessed through information-sharing between government departments (which, even though you agree to this being possible, they don't bother doing).

Moreover, they regularly lose your documents and require you to send in repeated copies of things they should already have. This is either gross incompetence, or a deliberate tactic to stop you progressing further, because mail will inevitably be mislaid if this goes on long enough. When we did finally get our successful application, they sent us two pieces of documentation belonging to someone else. The department in charge is that ridiculous and/or understaffed.

We had to withdraw our first application because a close family member of my partner died. They refused to return the passport in a reasonable time, and when they eventually did withdraw the application nearly two weeks later, they refused to refund us the money.

All of this service for, now, around £2200. And we have to do it all again, twice, in another two and a half years and five years. I am a British citizen. I should be able to have my husband live with me in this country, migration targets be damned.

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