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calendar   Sunday - January 30, 2011

how it feels to be a foreigner in your own country

The sorry state of the nation.  There’s more at the link. I hope you’ll read it all. Hope this isn’t happening in the USA as well.

this is Britain’s brave new world. By surrendering the control of our borders, we have become the policed instead.


I’m British born and bred. So why do I now have to keep proving it?

By Eileen Fairweather


Last week I had a strange experience - I was treated as a foreigner in my own country.

I was ordered to submit my passport to an organisation I believe has no ethical right to police my identity. Yet I learned that it does have the right, thanks to a Labour initiative spinelessly reinforced by the Coalition.

So far it has escaped publicity but it represents a sea change in British identity and rights - or lack of them. Supposedly we must now counter racism by treating every Briton as an alien and potential fraudster until proven otherwise.

Late last year I was invited to a university conference about the media. I submitted an invoice for travel expenses and the agreed modest fee. When no payment arrived, I was told I had failed to submit adequate documentation to prove my right to work in the UK. In short, I had to hand over my passport or whistle for my money.

When I called the university’s human resources department, staff confirmed that monitoring UK work rights was now routine practice. But surely the university lawyers who had invited me could vouch that they’d heard me speak as fluently as a native?

I am clearly not a Latvian people-trafficker or a Colombian drug baron. I have a national profile as a journalist and just wanted back my £78 train fare.

But common sense be damned. The university insisted I must fill in the forms sent to me - including one on ethnic monitoring - and staff would scan my passport. If I had no passport, I was told to submit my birth certificate.

When I dared to query the demands, a jobsworth said: ‘This is what every employer should be doing now.’

I don’t just object because this is a massive waste of my time and a rude way to treat a guest speaker. Nor do I object solely on civil liberty grounds or because I increase the risk of my identity being stolen every time I share these precious documents. I am angry because I am British born and bred.

Having lived abroad myself, I know being an outsider is not easy. But I don’t believe the solution is to treat an entire native population as aliens, or that this stands a chance of improving race relations, as the UK Border Agency apparently believes.

No one at the university would explain what new diktat they were following or why, so I decided to investigate. Surely it couldn’t be because the open borders lobby don’t want any foreigners to feel unwelcome? As bizarre as it sounds, this is exactly the explanation.

‘The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 requires that employers take steps to ensure the people they employ have right to work in UK,’ said Demetrious Panton, an employment discrimination adviser.

‘Home Office guidance on the avoidance of unlawful discrimination advises employers not to restrict checks on illegal working to particular ethnic or racial groups. If they did so they could fall foul of discrimination law and unlimited exposure to compensation claims. In short, you as an Englishwoman have to show you are entitled to work in your own country.’

Millions of self-employed Britons could be particularly badly affected. Some can invoice hundreds of different employers each year. Will they be expected to submit their passports every time?

As for bosses, Mr Panton said that if they fail to conduct the necessary checks and knowingly employ someone who doesn’t have the legal right to work in the UK, they can be fined up to £10,000 and be jailed for up to two years.

a foreigner in my own country


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 01/30/2011 at 07:01 PM   
Filed Under: • Border SecurityIllegal-Aliens and Immigration •  
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