The Ancestry Visa

The ancestry visa is for those with a grandparent born in the UK. They can come an work for up to five years, no hassles.

The harpies that rule us want to abolish it. For no very good reason though. It seems that it\’s messy or something.

Labour is happy to invoke our history when it wants to make a song and dance about its commitment to Britishness; yet it is content to dispense with one of its most potent manifestations. The ancestry visa is, after all, a symbol of that historic legacy.

You would have expected a mighty outburst of indignation from Parliament about this, yet there has hardly been a squeak. Only Austin Mitchell, the Labour MP for Great Grimsby, who once worked in New Zealand as a university lecturer, has tabled a Commons motion expressing "shock" at the proposal.

So far it has been signed by 43 MPs. As Mr Mitchell points out: "The dominions sprang to our aid when we needed them in two world wars and since. Their inhabitants are of British descent. They are keen to maintain Commonwealth ties and associations with this country."

For good or ill, we are members of the EU and it is part of the deal that all its citizens have an unfettered right to travel to this country, as we do to theirs, to work and settle permanently. But we are so keen on emphasising our European credentials that we are in danger of turning our backs on our own people, who twice in the last century helped rescue Europe from the tyrants who wished to run it.

The cemeteries of France and Belgium are the final resting places for many Commonwealth citizens who lost their lives in defence of this country. Does that count for anything in the Government\’s "consultation" or is this just outdated, old-fashioned thinking?

Quite.

I think that part of it is that the powers that be see any connection with the Commonwealth as being in opposition to our membership of the EU. That I want us out of the EU is one thing but why the relics of Empire should make us less European I\’m not sure. After all, the remnants of the French Empire, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Pierre and Miquelon, these are all in fact part of the EU themselves. And in receipt of substantial funds of ours.

5 thoughts on “The Ancestry Visa”

  1. I’ve never quite seen why we should prevent anyone from ANY country from working in the UK if they want to (and there’s a job for them). Having more taxpayers is a good thing as far as governments are concerned, surely?

    And agreed on the Commonwealth thing. Macmillan had the right idea on getting preferential status for the Commonwealth when first trying to join the EEC back in the 60s, but was blocked by De Gaulle – and ever since Britain seems to have given up on the idea. Strikes me as a bad thing for all parties – including the EU.

  2. Of course the Grandparent Visa should go. So much time has elapsed since it was introduced that it’s time that it was replaced by a Greatgrandparent visa.

  3. dearieme:

    I know you jest but I’d point out, in re the “great-grandparent” visa, that it might have to cover at least a few people whose grandparent was born in England but fought against (for the US in the American revolution).

    I don’t know of any specifically but President Tyler (born 1795, served 1840-44) has a living
    GRANDSON (about 60 years old)–still living in the house his great-grandfather built in 1621!

    Tim adds: Read yesterday that there was a US Civil War widow receiving a pension who died in 2004!

  4. “But we are so keen on emphasising our European credentials that we are in danger of turning our backs on our own people”

    What does he mean “in danger”? It appears to be a proactive strategy.

  5. Ah, Gene, it’s just a risk I’d be happy to take. Especially given how few of the Colonists actually did fight for the Traitors/Patriots.

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