An Escapologist’s Diary. Part 53a: Escape!

September 3rd 2019: I found this unpublished entry sitting in the drafts file. It dates from October 2018, when paranoia or anxiety must have stopped me from posting it. Or maybe I found it too bitter or too boring to be worth posting. I don’t recall. In the end, I touched on these events more succinctly in An Escapologist’s Diary: Part 54, but looking at it now, it better fills a gap in the story. So here it is after all:

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As some of you know, I’ve been working a day job to protect my partner’s visa so that we can continue to live together in the same country.

I suppose this serves us right for choosing a life of rootless cosmopolitanism, but when we began our relationship in 2008 or thereabouts, there was no such thing as The Hostile Environment and moving freely between Britain and Canada was relatively straightforward.

In 2012, they changed the rules and the one that hit us in particular is the Financial Requirement; an insistence that we earn a fairly high (for us) amount of money. They complicate it by saying you can’t mix different sources of income, and there are various other administrative uncertainties and poorly-phrased vagaries to punish the unused or the self-employed. This meant that when we came back to Britain in 2015, I would have to take on some sort of employment.

To this day, I have no idea why this Financial Requirement is necessary (aside from simply bullying people into self deportation, which is actually the point of the Hostile Environment). If we must insist on immigrants proving that they won’t over-rely on public assistance, a fairer and more meaningful system would be to ask for proof of adequate maintenance – simply that the couple can support their lifestyle. Striving to earn the seemingly arbitrarily arrived-at financial requirement completely destroyed our way of life. We don’t need such large incomes and we don’t want to sell so much time for it.

Anyway, the point of this is to introduce my diary-worthy news; that our latest visa application was successful and that we’re safe for another 2.5 years. I have also quit my day job. Escape at last.

I can now dedicate my time to writing my next book and generally living in the happy, creative and frugal fashion I enjoyed before the visa crisis and which I have advocated for so long in New Escapologist. Phew!

The Financial Requirement (unless it is thrown in the bin by an incoming Labour Government or pulled down by activists rightly angry about the Windrush scandal) will become relevant to us again in 2021 but we think we’ve found a way to tackle it this time without conventional employment. I should be able to make enough from my writing over the next 2.5 years to complement my wife’s earnings from a part-time job. (For various reasons I’ll not go into, this option was not available to us before.)

All of this comes as a huge relief and now I can get back to being myself. Man alive, it’s been a tough couple of years, but now the fun and joy is back.

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About

Robert Wringham is a humorist and the editor-in-chief of New Escapologist.

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