I know I'm supposed to try and keep this blog about my writing, but this year has been too up and down so instead I'm using it to rant!
This is supposed to be a fair and progressive country, but once again the government have thrown an almighty spanner in the works of my life. Never before have I considered suing the government for anything, but now I'm considering trying it for overt racism...
I'd probably better explain.
My wife is from Turkey. She came over here in 2009 as a student, working to support herself as allowed by her visa. She then got a work visa, and continued to work within the NHS. We met in 2011, got married in 2012, and so we switched to a spouse visa. In all that time, she has continued to work, paying her tax and NI contributions. Because a new rule has been introduced by the government, we now have to pay a £500 health surcharge on top of the visa extension fees due in September, despite the fact that she should be covered by what she's paying already, as you and I are. I just called immigration to confirm, and the lady said "I don't agree with this, but if doesn't matter if they're paying NI already, everyone applying for a visa to remain in the country has to pay the health surcharge". Apparently this surcharge is to stop "health tourism", which is probably made up by the government anyway, but surely health tourism is only done by people who aren't contributing to the system already? On top of that, we're expecting our first baby imminently (the NHS fees having already been paid by mine and her contributions, before you say anything), and now we're supposed to magic up another £500 from somewhere? I've also been told in no uncertain terms that if she doesn't pay the surcharge, her application to remain will be refused and they'll send her back to Turkey, tearing our family apart.
I'm understandably angry, but I can't help but think this:
My wife already pays for a service. The government want her to pay for the service twice because she's a foreigner. Isn't that racism?