This isn’t about choice, this isn’t about what feels right: this is the stark naked truth. I cannot remain in this country. I have no right of residence here.
In the eyes of the system, I am not someone who has lived in the UK continuously since 1987 and who has been married to a Brit for the past twenty-one years. I am not working and therefore I am regarded as a ‘self-sufficient person’. However that means that, without ‘comprehensive sickness insurance’, I have no right to remain. I can find a job immediately, or I can leave.
Immediatedly. Do not pass the doctor’s surgery.
This comes as a shock. I didn’t know about it. For the past six years I haven’t worked because we’ve lived in the middle of nowhere and I have failed to make any money from my writing. John pays his taxes, claims his married couple’s allowance, and assumed that I could just live with him.
I could, if he were French or Spanish or from any of the other ‘old’ EU countries woking in Britain because then he would be ‘exercising his treaty rights’ and I would be here legitimately as a family member of an EU national. But you can’t ‘exercise your treaty rights’ in your own country and so I am here as an illegal, unless I exercise my own.
And how am I going to go about that? There is no career waiting for me. I don’t know where to start. I can do casual work but those jobs are patchy and short-lived. There wouldn’t be any point other than sheer desperation.
Or I can jump on the TEFL train. They are desperate for English teachers in Spain, and if I’m in a foreign teaching environment it won’t matter that I’m not a native speaker. I have a degree from Oxford. I could be ‘exercising my treaty rights’ in no time. Or I could chose to continue my itinerant travels around the world, teaching in Thailand and in South America, never settling down. Because the latter is sure as hell not an option.
And why does this matter? More about this later.