Archive for the ‘Legal’ Category

How to be a legal illegal immigrant in the UK

Many years ago when Wendy was first in the UK we applied for and received a European residence permit but after we went to France we didn’t bother to renew it.

To get the European family permit (ie entry clearance visa) whilst we were in France would have entailed a three or four day trip to the embassy in Paris and a wait of anything up to a year. This made it impractical for us so we didn’t bother and instead just went without the visa. Wendy’s Australian so doesn’t need a visa to get into the UK but as it turned out, the immigration people at Rosslare just accepted our statement that we were living in Belfast and let us pass.

So, we’re in the UK sans visa. Interestingly, since there’s no requirement to register with local authorities in the UK, there appears to be nothing stopping you just staying on regardless of what any stamp in your passport may say about when you should leave.

Anyway, to get Wendy legal we, in principle, are supposed to apply for a residence permit for her. Snag is that when we arrived the processing time for this was getting on for two years (despite the legal obligation for the authorities to do it within six months) and we knew that we needed to go back to France that summer. So we didn’t bother. Next time we came back the immigration people accepted our statement about living here (which we had been doing) and off we went again.

Since we’re notionally in the process of selling our place in France we knew that we’d need to go back there at some stage to finish packing etc. but didn’t know when so a two year processing time (during which time they keep your passport) also wasn’t on. Thus we find ourselves living in the UK for getting on for two years now with nothing to show any right to do so and nobody making any attempt to deport Wendy as yet.

The one problem is with social security who have already stated that they don’t believe Wendy is here legally but, despite their obligation to do so, have done nothing about reporting her to the border agency people although they do insist that we need a European family permit.

Funnily enough, we’ve since found that, courtesy of a determination made right here in Belfast, we were correct in our assumption that we didn’t need a European family permit to enter the UK. Just as well really since it’s a visa and you can’t get a UK visa when you’re actually in the UK as you can only get UK visas from British embassies and, of course, there are no British embassies in the UK.

What we are doing, somewhat belatedly, is applying for a European residence permit. At present, the advice is that we may be turned down for this (although we may not). Being refused this permit doesn’t appear to be a problem though as there are no limits to the number of applications and appeals that you can make (all of which are free) and you’re legal in the UK whilst they’re processing the application. Since it currently takes them about six months to process an application, all that you need to do is to reapply if/when you get the refusal and you’ve another six months legality. Weird, huh?

Quite why anyone bothers trying to stay here illegally when they can legalise things seemingly permanently so easily is beyond me.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Incoming search terms:

Just what does the working time directive really say?

Everybody know that this limits the maximum working time to 48 hours a week but it covers rather more than that.

To begin with that 48 hours is an average usually over 17 weeks but that can be extended up to 52 weeks in some circumstances. Thus you could, in principle, be working, say, 60 hours for several weeks at a stretch yet still remain within the limits of the directive which I suspect is probably not what many people would think the directive allows.

In addition to the limits on the working week there’s also mandatory rest breaks. Work 6 hours or more and you must have a 20 minute break. For each 24 hour period you must get at least 11 consecutive hours of rest thus the maximum working day is effectively 13 hours. Finally you must have a minimum of a 24 hour break each week (or 48 hours per fortnight) ie you can only work 6 days a week on average.

For night time workers (ie those working at least three hours between midnight and 5am) there’s a few more rules including the right to a free health assessment and a maximum of an average of 8 hours per 24 hour period.

Finally, you’re entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks annual holiday.

So there’s quite a bit more to it than “a 48 hour week” and quite a lot of areas where it doesn’t work quite as you might expect. For instance, if you’re on-call then that only counts fully towards the 48 hours if you have to be in work: work from home and only the actual working time itself counts.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Isn’t the Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) check just going through hoops?

The Vanessa George affair showed the major weakness of the CRB system ie that you’ll get an “all clear” if you haven’t been caught yet.

However, the various schools are required to have the CRB check done on anyone who comes into contact with children. Thus last year our offer of assistance to go along and help with the supervision on a couple of school outings was turned down.

Ironically, this year we are allowed to go along even though all we’ve done is to put the form in for the CRB check to be done. How come? Well, there’s such a backlog of checks to be done that they have to operate essentially as they’ve always done and assess whether or not a given parent is a risk to the children. That seems to be close to offering the best of both worlds in using the CRB as a backup to the judgement of the teachers.

So all being well, we’ll be off to seen round the airport by the time you read this.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Isn’t is it annoying the way thieves trash your place as well as stealing stuff?

Sadly, we’ve just heard the news that some ******** have broken into our house in France and trashed the place.

What seems pretty much a cert is that the things that they took (seemingly less than a dozen things in total although we need to do a full check) will be appearing in one of the vide greniers (car boot sales) over this weekend. Some of their customers will be less than pleased with their purchases as they include, among other things, a TV that can’t receive French TV programmes and a number of region 1 DVDs that won’t play on French DVD players.

It isn’t so much the things that they’ve taken which is annoying though: it’s that they simply trashed most rooms in the house looking for stuff that just wasn’t there. Thanks to the high prevalence of the black economy in France, most French households are likely to have quite a pile of cash stashed away but us foreigners just don’t work like that so their cash take amounted to a few euros at best.

In other countries there’d be an insurance claim, of course, but in France the insurance only pays out when you have the original receipts and, for the most part, people don’t have them so you end up paying a whole lot for insurance that realistically you will never be able to claim on.

Anyway, it looks like our notional holiday will be taken up with cleaning up the mess that they’ve left behind and wasting time with the insurance company.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

The knee-jerk reaction following the Baby P fiasco has already started

Seemingly without fail, the social services people lurch from one extreme to another in how they treat cases.

Whilst they obviously failed Baby P very badly, they’re now in the process of going out of their way to fail the babies of Mr & Mrs N. Thanks to a joke remark from Mrs N it seems that the social services feel that the best thing to happen is that her children should be put up for adoption.

Oh, it’s not just the off-hand comment she made, of course. There’s the matter of her being angry that social services took her children from her so she clearly has anger issues. Why were they taken into care? That’s because the first time parents were having difficulty in looking after the premature twins. Well, if that’s the reason then I think that the social services people would be best to take ALL babies born to first-timers into care. What first-time parent could honestly say that they didn’t have trouble looking after their children in the early days?

Of course, as with Baby P, it’s the children that are getting the worst of this. In the critical early days after birth the twins only get to see their parents for ten hours a WEEK. That’s not nearly enough to establish a firm attachment and will almost certainly affect their later development.

Sure parents won’t be perfect carers at the off. How could they be? But they’re almost always the best possible carers that a newborn will ever have. It’s not right for social services to exercise this draconian power with such impunity. One hopes that disciplinary action will ensue WHEN they lose the case over this.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.