Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The laws are failing expats with children

You had better think about them!
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Recently I've been looking into acquiring the French Blue Card. This seems strange as my wife is French and I can legally live and work here as long as we're married. We're quite happy together, so why would I want the EU Blue Card? Part of this, frankly, would be for having first-hand knowledge of a process I sometimes write about, but the other part is simply for insurance: if anything were to happen to my wife, I still want to be able to raise our daughter here.

An immigration specialist I spoke with assured me that as a parent of a minor French child, so long as I have been a primary caregiver for at least two years, I have the right to remain in France. Not quite as good as the Blue Card, but much better than being deported back to the US! I'm lucky that in this case, France has looked into this matter and ensured that the right thing is done. Others are no so lucky.

Your author and hisdaughter
in Meaux, France
A Canadian friend of mine living in Amsterdam sent along this horrifying news article : mom can't leave Canada with children, or stay either. In short, an American woman married a Canadian man, but he would never sign the immigration paperwork or sponsor her to remain in Canada. Now that they've separated, she has a restraining order forbidding her from removing the children from Canada, but she has no legal right to remain in the country.

We're transforming from squabbling nation-states into a global society, even if we maintain separate governments and tighten our borders. Our legal frameworks just aren't up to the task of handling our emerging supranational culture. While it's still small, it's growing, but our state-centric legal systems are producing children who have no nationality and people discovering they owe thousands of dollars in taxes to countries they've never lived or worked in. Currently the laws in this area are very much hit or miss and I would love to see the world's governments come together and try to address this issue. With an estimated 200 million people living in countries other than the ones they were born in, it's getting harder and harder to ignore this problem.
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