A possie in Aussie

January 17, 2009

2nd & 3rd class citizenship in Canada and the UK

Filed under: citizenship — Nayano @ 11:42 am
Tags: ,

In Australia we used to have two grades of refugees. Refugees who were selected overseas by UNHCR and Australian immigration officials arrived in Australia with automatic Permanent Protection Visas. Refugees who arrived in Australia first and then asked immigration to determine if they were refugees were given second class refugee status, the Temporary Protection Visa. 

The Rudd government got rid of this refugee underclass designation, bless their little cotton socks. (But we still have second class residents – the so-called temporary workers

But the UK government has dreamt up another way to legislate class – they are proposing three classes of citizens!

I first read about this at the diary of a geek in Oxfordshire. 

I thought it was spoof. Here’s a quote:

“Assimilation into British Culture is also a necessity for new immigrants. They should understand, and be actively involved in, the activities which shape us as a nation and as communities. New arrivals will, therefore, be expected to follow the England football team, with bonus points given in the assessment process for off-pitch violence or racist chants.”

(Eerily reminiscent of Howard’s demand that immigrants know the name of Australian cricketers to pass their ‘citizenship tests’).

But then I read the report on the BBC and found that the actual proposed conditions were almost as funny, as well as disturbing: “At first (immigrants) will be classed as temporary residents – the status they receive as a worker, relative or recognised refugee. After five years they will be given an entirely new status for a minimum of another 12 months – probationary citizen. This probationary status will ultimately lead to someone becoming a British citizen or permanent foreign resident – or being told it’s time to move on.

They will have to prove that they are actively taking steps to fit in … They will have to show that not only have they made some effort to learn English – but they are making progress.

They will have to obey the law and where possible prove they are “active citizens”. Active citizenship is nebulous. Assessors will be looking for proof that someone is more than just a taxpayer – and the more “active” they are in the local community the quicker their journey to citizenship will become.

Acceptable activities could include voluntary work, involvement in local groups or the school parent-teacher association. Migrants will need to find referees to vouch for these good deeds.” 

(This blog also offers games to play with people’s lives.)

Meanwhile, Canada is joining in the citizenship ratings game, proposing a two tier citizenship, with children born to or adopted by Canadians outside the country prevented from passing citizenship on to their children if they also are born abroad.

But if you have no ties to Canada at all, and want your baby to have Canadian citizenship, just make sure that you give birth to it in Canadian airspace

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