THANKS, Alyn Smith for this week’s The National piece (If you’re home from Scotland, you’re one of us, November 20). Since 1997, when my husband and I and our two kids came to work and live here, I have made Scotland my home.
I’ve been stuck in limbo since the 2016 vote. I’ve had dreams, sleepless nights, and anxieties concerning my life. I was profoundly affected by the anti-migrant language–getting a letter from the Scottish Government in the week following the referendum stating I am welcome here left me in tears.
I decided to apply for a negotiated status earlier this year in the expectation that would improve. The software went fine, but then I got back the first email: there was not enough proof from the Home Office that I had been in the nation for five years.
Five years from now? I’ve been here for over 20 years, have three jobs, have two degrees, set up a business and can’t find me in their records? I sent several pieces of evidence. No joy–the standard email that there was insufficient evidence back. I submitted my accounts to the agency. Not enough proof.
By then, in a couple of weeks, I was tearing out my hair. The moment of the light bulb was when I contacted the Council of Perth and Kinross –I’ve been a councillor for several years. They sent me a letter “to whom it may concern” within hours, stating that I had been a community councillor for over five years. Twenty minutes later I was given settled status by the Home Office. What’s good for me, but what about others who might be less well-connected or clever? The hostile environment is alive and well.
People also question me why I don’t choose British citizenship because in these situations the Netherlands already requires dual citizenship.
My standard answer is that it will be a pleasure to have dual Dutch-Scottish citizenship once Scotland becomes free.