What wonderful reaction we got to the plight of the Shchetkova family yesterday. They run a restaurant, a successful one by all accounts, and they're about to be booted out of the country.
Now, this isn't the first time we've heard this story, it's come in many guises, many families from different countries, different plights, but the overall effect is the same.
You appear on the surface to have decent people being given a bum wrap, the last case was the South African family last year with the child with an unusual medical condition. The condition hadn't actually presented itself in terms of needing hospital care, the family offered to foot the bill if it did, but no, they were gone.
In this case, if you’ve missed it, is the purchase of a restaurant. Not the original restaurant as outlined in their initial visa application, and in that I suspect is the seed of the problem.
But nevertheless, a restaurant that they’ve worked hard to make a success. Growth, good income, plenty of staff employed. Now I am painfully aware that there will be, as there always are, mitigating and technical details that don’t always get covered in the broad-based appeal for clemency, or freedom, or a stay, or whatever the intention of the story is.
But, in that, I suspect is part of the problem. Is it not entirely possible common sense has gone out the window in our quest to adhere to rules, and the rules are so damn complicated you end up with too many decent cases falling through the cracks?
Making this particularly poignant, of course, is this is the first high profile case post Sroubek. And as we predicted at the time, when you make such a catastrophic cock up as Iain Lees-Galloway did, you open yourself up to comparison, ridicule, and most importantly precedent. Two cases, one has residency, one doesn't.
The ones who don’t have invested into the country, built a business, met, as far as I can tell, the criteria in terms of income, profit, turnover, and employment. And yet somehow they're not adding value to the country.
While the other who does have residency, is in jail. And one assumes while he's in jail, he isn't growing a business, or employing, or expanding.
The one who doesn’t have residency, as far as we know, hasn't committed crimes, hasn't lied about passports, hasn't got gang connections, isn't on the run. The other, who does have residency, does have those things.
Take migration back to its core, and ask, what is it we want? We want good, decent, hard-working people who want to make a contribution to this country, and want to provide a good, productive life in a new land.
Somehow we've taken that, added two tonnes of red tape, and got ourselves in a mess of subtlety, and nuance with the associated innocent victims to show for it.
Let's keep it simple shall we? One, Sroubek a resident. Two, the Shchetkova family not residents. Do you think we got that one right?