1st October 2015
Cymraeg! (Welsh) 

I'm not the biggest Rugby Union fan, but it's hard not to get into the sport with a World Cup in your backyard.  Since BritCits, my ears perk up at the mention of immigration so what has been especially fascinating is to see the impact of immigration on this sport, with all but one nation represented by players whose citizenship, place of birth or roots lie in other places. 
  • Samoa: 13 players born in New Zealand, qualifying through having Samoan parents
  • Tonga: 12 players born in Australia, Fiji or NZ
  • Wales: 11 players born in England, Australia or Tonga
  • Japan: 11 players born in NZ, Tonga, Australia or South Africa
  • Scotland: Also 11 born in other nations, including South Africa, England, NZ, Zimbabwe, Spain, USA or Netherlands
  • France: 10 born in South Africa, Belgium, NZ, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Algeria or Fiji
  • Australia: 9 born in Saudi Arabia, NZ, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea or Fiji
......the list goes on here.  The only team to have the full squad native-born is Argentina, all other teams can thank immigration for its muscle. Yeahie for movement of people and who knows which country some of your own kids will represent when they're all grown up, in whatever field they choose to participate, given the increasingly global aspect to families.  The world is our oyster.
In a rare show of compassion, Home Office has granted Wadih Chouery a three year visa extension to remain in the UK with his family (where he has lived since 1997) despite courts backing the initial HO refusal.

Wadih having Down's Syndrome likely played a part, no doubt helped by the pressure to grant the visa as a result of MP intervention and a petition with 80,000 signatures. 

I definitely suggest if your family member is not allowed to enter or remain in the UK, especially if your circumstances are far from the usual, you absolutely get your MP involved - send them an email request a surgery appointment, make them work for you.
An absolutely bizarre story where a magistrate was suspended for paying an asylum seeker's fine.  The magistrate did not dip into petty cash for this - he used his own money, feeling sorry for the destitute asylum seeker accruing fines he had no chance of paying, given that asylum seekers are not allowed to work.

That a good and noble deed is rewarded in such a fashion suggests the world has gone mad, or we should at least fear the British values we're apparently going to have shoved in our faces.
Reminder that the meetup Fran has organised outside the Scottish Parliament is 11am tomorrow (Friday 2nd October).

Please attend to show solidarity if you are in the area.  More details here.
Ben Cowles, a freelance journalist and MA student has completed a radio documentary on UK's family immigration rules.

Some of you may recall meeting Ben this year at parliament and the demo outside the Home Office. 
Nick & Courtney - British citizen Nick married Courtney from USA. Despite having a son together, the couple found the path to moving to the UK littered with obstacles, namely the elusive job paying over £18,600 - even following which they'd be forced to live apart for likely 12 months. 

This was not an option for the family who instead chose to exercise their EU treaty rights for the purposes of reunification.  They are now in the UK and have recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl into their family.
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