What issues affect emigrants?

22 Oct

Emigrants are affected by government policies: the most obvious example is the case of the reluctant emigrant who wants to come home, and will only be able to do so if the economy improves. Why should that person have no voice to determine his or her own future?

Also look at the Habitual Residence Condition – many emigrants have been adversely affected by this when they move home, even though the government had specifically stated that emigrants would not be affected by this when it was introduced back in 2005. This was a broken promise and those most affected by it – people who would like to come home but might need the carer’s allowance, for example – have no say.

Broadcasting policy is another example – the government promised that it would start transmitting television to Irish emigrants in the UK by St Patrick’s Day 2009, after years of requests from the Irish community there. This has not happened, and those affected have no voice. RTE also shut down its medium wave radio service in 2008, which adversely affected many elderly Irish in the UK – again, there was no effective means of protest.

Even on taxation, there are Irish people living abroad who are paying the non-primary residence tax on their homes in Ireland – some of these people would be on small incomes and have inherited the family home, so it’s not insignificant. Paying this tax doesn’t buy them any right to representation.

Those are just a few examples, but non-resident citizens are also affected by issues such as diaspora funding, pensions, foreign policy.

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